Invasive Tall Grass: How to Kill or Stop Spreading

Asked June 29, 2020, 12:04 PM EDT

We have an extremely invasive plant or grass coming into our lawn. It is very thick and draws mosquitoes. Now it is invading our lawn and we want to get rid of it. It grows to around 30 inches and the stems and roots are extremely tough and difficult to pull up. It seems to propagate through the roots. I don't think it goes to seed. The plant is coming in from the woods behind our house. We are not close to any streams or bodies of water. Could you identify it and tell us how to kill it?

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Hi - This looks like a type of bamboo. If you pull up one of the plants, do you notice if it has a creeping root (rhizome)? Have you noticed if the plants are evergreen? On grasses like bamboos, the flowers are inconspicuous so it is not unusual for them to go unnoticed. Arrow bamboo (Pseudosasa japonica) is one of the invasive bamboos reported in Maryland. https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/view/4111
There are other types of running bamboos as well (Sasa sp. and Pleioblastus sp.).

Selective lawn weed killers will not control bamboo since they are designed to kill only broadleaf plants, not grass. Therefore, a non-selective herbicide would have to be used if you decide to use a chemical control to manage these where you want a lawn. Please refer to our publication about bamboo and options for managing it. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/extension.umd.edu/files/_docs/programs/hgic/HGIC_Pubs/Weeds/HG28%20Bamboo_2018.pdf

Christa