What is this weed taking over our lawn?

Asked August 24, 2016, 2:43 PM EDT

Most of the grass in our yard was taken over by this plant that grows quite tall if left unmowed.

Durham County North Carolina

1 Response

This question was answered by a Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer.


This is Microstegium vimineum. The common name is Japanese stilt grass that made it to the US as packing material.

Japanese stilt grass is a good news - bad news weed. The bad news is that its seed stays viable in the soil for 8 years. Which means that even if you get rid of all of it before it goes to seed this year, you'll have to do so for the next 8 years to completely get rid of it.

The good news is that it's easily eradicated. It has shallow roots, so hand pulling is effective in areas where you don't want to spray. You can also be vigilant about keeping it cut down so that it never goes to seed. You'll have to do this for the next 8 years. Of course, if it's going to seed anywhere around you, you may get another flush of it.

I recommend pulling up as much as you can and keeping it mowed.

For more information please contact our office

Durham County Extension master Gardeners

721 Foster Street

Durham, NC 27701