Invasive Species Highlight: Torpedograss
November 27th, 2018
Many southern states experienced Torpedograss infestations this year. Torpedograss (Panicum littorale), also known as quack grass and bullet grass, is an invasive species that was first introduced to the United States in 1876 near Mobile, Alabama. It has since spread throughout the South.
Torpedograss is a perennial grass, and the first step to proper control is correctly identifying it. It can grow up to three feet tall and, unlike some grasses, is commonly identified by its creeping rhizomatous root structure and rigid sharp pointed (torpedo-like) tips. Upper leaf sheaths can also have hairs on their upper edges. A unique characteristic used to identify torpedograss are the long hairs near the base of the leaf (ligule).
Physical control techniques such as cutting and digging up the rhizomes may be employed, but complete eradication through physical control alone is often difficult due to the plant’s ability to reestablish from seeds.
Successful control of torpedograss can be achieved through precise herbicide applications by a licensed professional, performed alone or in conjunction with physical control.
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