I have this weed growing in my postage stamp front yard in Balto city. It's...

Asked August 1, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT

I have this weed growing in my postage stamp front yard in Balto city. It's overtaken my yard! I had it all cut back earlier this summer and now it's exploded and is appearing in my adjoining neighbor's yard (she's none too happy). I did not plant this and don't know what it is or where it came from or how to eradicate it. Need help!

Baltimore Maryland invasive japanese stiltgrass stiltgrass

6 Responses

This is Japanese stiltgrass, a terribly aggressive non-native invasive grass. It is an annual, so your number one goal is to never let it go to seed. If so, you'll have it next year, and so on.

It does not have much root at all and is very easy to pull up. Hand pull it. You can compost it as long as it has not gone to seed. This is the easiest and cheapest approach in a small yard.

People with big lawns usually apply crabgrass pre-emergent herbicide and it helps with stiltgrass as well as crabgrass, however it only works for part of the growiing season and then needs to be applied again. Also, it's expensive and not worth the effort when hand-pulling is so easy.

For more information, go to our website homepage and click on the Summer Weeds photo. You'll then see a photo of Japanese stiltgrass. Go there for tips and links to two very good fact sheets on invasive stiltgrass.

Thank you for your prompt reply. However, I'm not so sure this is Japanese stiltgrass. I was in Catoctin Mountain Park this weekend and saw a lot of Japanese stiltgrass - which was as you described, very easy to pull. What I have in my yard is not. I cannot pull it out at all. Also, the stiltgrass in Catoctin was much lower and softer than what I have. This stuff is big - it's coming up through my tall azalea bushes and it has palm like leaves that are very hard and will cut you if you pull on them without gloves. I will include more pictures for review. Thank you again!

From the new photos it looks like the plant may be a type of bamboo. There are running and clumping bamboo types and many species. We cannot identify the plant to this detail. See our bamboo publication for information and control. It is up to you if you want to remove or cultivate the plant. http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG28%20Bamboo.pdf

Also, in the background of your photo there is a tree with compound leaves. This looks like it may be Ailanthus altissima, tree of heaven, an invasive tree and should be removed. See the attached link on tree of heaven http://www.nps.gov/plants/alien/fact/aial1.htm

I was afraid of that. :-( Thank you for the confirmation and quick reply!

I'm sorry - I'm back again. I'm still not sure what this plant is. Now I see flowering spikes at the tops of some of the plants. I didn't think Bamboo flowered? I've attached a picture of the flower spikes.

Flowering is a genetic part of a bamboo's life cycle which can vary depending on species. Flowers are very inconspicuous and in some instances (though not as a matter of course) may die after flowering.