Here is information on the value of U. S. Representative John P. Murtha
funding in current legislation for USDA research to find a host specific
control for Japanese Stilt grass.
The message below from Barbara Bergman is but one in many concerning the
extreme difficulty we are having with Japanese Stiltgrass from Georgia and
the Carolinas to New Jersey and north and west. We are able to control the
other invasives with herbicides and mechanical control in some 15 states
in this region but not stilt grass. This is the species we most need help
with bio-control. Fortunately, "Invasive Plants Established in the United
States that are Found in Asia and their Associated natural Enemies, volume
1" by the USDA Forest Service, Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team in
Morgantown WV indicates that three species of rust are host specific to
microstegium in Asia. The next step is to verify that they are, in fact,
host specific in America and will not harm native American species.
The publication is available from firstname.lastname@example.org...
John Lydon and Bill Bruckart are good contacts at USDA for language in
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory Bldg. 001, Rm. 227
William L. Bruckart, III
1301 Ditto Ave.
Ft. Detrick, Maryland 21702 USA
Marc Imlay, PhD
Conservation biologist, Anacostia Watershed Society (301-699-6204,
301-283-0808), Board member of the Mid-Atlantic Exotic Pest Plant Council,
Hui o Laka at Kokee State Park, Hawaii, Vice president of the Maryland
Native Plant Society Chair of the Biodiversity and Habitat Stewardship
Committee for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.
>>> William Bruckart 03/07/06 09:16AM >>>
John Lydon has contacted me about your interest in Japanese stiltgrass
pathogens. Right now, we don't have very good connections in China or other
locations in Asia, but to have the plant on the list is the first step. My
focus has been on other targets (mostly Asteraceae), so I'm on the steep
part of the learning curve for this plant. Does anyone know anything about
variability of the plant, how U.S. material compares with Asian, and where,
specifically, it came from? Also, is there collecting in progress at this
time (e.g., for insects?). If so, we have permits for receipt of pathogens
if they are found. And we'd be happy to take them for preliminary
evaluations. I'd like to discuss this with you, OK?
William L. Bruckart, III
1301 Ditto Ave.
Ft. Detrick, Maryland 21702 USA
From: John Lydon [mailto:email@example.com...]
Sent: Monday, March 06, 2006 8:41 PM
To: William Bruckart
Cc: marc imlay
Marc Imlay has been battling Japanese stiltgrass in Maryland for several
years now. He is very interested in working with the Puccinia species that
have been reported to control this weed. I thought that this would be a
perfect collaboration for you given your knowledge of Puccinia, your
interest in invasive species, and the amount of time and energy that Marc is
willing to put into the project.
Check the following messages for more info. Let me know if there is some
way I can contribute if you think that the project is worth pursuing.
In Invasive Plants of Asian Origin Established in the US and Their Natural
Enemies, Vol. 1,
O = recorded on more than one species in the genus Microstegium including
Puccinia benguetensis, P. polliniae-imberbis, and P. polliniicola (in one of
I met you at Fort Detrick in Frederick for the invasive plant work shop
there last October. You encouraged me to tackle small areas to prevent them
from spreading. Here is what we have observed about the Japanese stilt grass
at Yankauer Nature Preserve in Berkley County West Virginia these two years.
The three patches, ranging from 100 feet to 20 feet along the trail,
that we worked on last year were still present this year but about 15 %
reduced in density. This year a total of 16 patches have been identified and
marked with a gps unit for monitoring. One patch is more than 125 feet along
the path and extends wider on the sides. Several are just a handful of
plants. Our method has been to hand pull all plants in the three designated
patches in the fall before seeds are ripe and dispose of the plants in a way
that no uprooted plants could produce seeds from their reserves. Last year
volunteers on the Day of Caring spent 12 person hours on the three patches.
This year they spent 10 hours on the same three patches. This is a 15%
decrease. I conclude that seeds residing from two years previous and a few
missed plants from last year produced the plants. Two unweeded patches that
measured 4 feet and 6 feet last year measured 15 and 45 feet this year. I
can see that our wo!
rk helped. The three patches we worked on, though still present this year,
did not increase in path length and were reduced in density by 15% as seen
by the less number of hours needed to uproot them. In contrast 2 undisturbed
plots increased 400% and 700% in path length.
This year we also tried weed wacking the largest plot along the trail. I
also had wonderful success removing plants with a spring toothed rake along
the path. I worked about 1/2 hour and removed about 40 pounds or 4-16 gallon
trash bags of grass. The area was very lush and the rake pulled up about 90%
of the stilt grass. The rake also uncovered other plant species and left
many still rooted because they had thicker stems in contrast to the stilt
grass whose stems at this time of year were reduced to a fine thread. I will
have to observe if it reduces stilt grass density next year. I left some
areas unraked to compare. I wonder if the raking could be done next year and
then hand pulling a week later, when surviving plants have straightened up.
Perhaps we could uproot allot faster using the raking/handpulling-a
I have been told there is a huge infested area of several acres off the
trail. We are tackling the smaller plots now until we get a good idea about
what to do about the acre area.
Please let me know if you have any ideas and works of encouragement.
BARBARA BERGMAN (member of Potomac Valley Audubon Society and Eastern
Panhandle Native Plant Society)
From: ForestRuss@aol.... Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2009 09:04:14 EDT
To: APWG@list... Subject: [APWG] Microstegium health questions update
Since sending out my initial e-mail about some sort of unknown disease or
pathogen killing Microstegium in West Virginia I have received an
encouraging number of responses and I would like to pass on some answers
questions that several people have asked. I would also like to pass on
Does it appear that the disease or whatever it is shows similar or related
symptoms in native plants? From what I have observed, the answer would be
yes. I have seen similar lesions in a couple of local woodland grasses
but it seemed more to damage or kill individual leaves of grass plants
than the entire plant.
There is still no word on the name or identity of the pathogen but a fresh
sample of sick and dying stiltgrass was mailed to Indiana University to see
whether our pathogen matched something discovered in Microstegium patches
The weather in central West Virginia has been pretty normal this summer.
It has not been anywhere as wet as parts of the northeast. We had a very
dry period during late June and early July but generally it has not been a
year of extremes.
I have been in contact with people at the WV Department of Agriculture and
the disease and they have identified a similar health issue with stiltgrass
in Lincoln County, West Virginia.
Several people have suggested a rust and some people suggested that it was
a wind born virus. Because I have found infected individual plants over
100 feet from any other plants I would have to vote for wind dispersal. I
have found very small individual plants, the kind that are usually at the
leading edge of an invasion with spots on their leaves...those plants are
small that all evidence of their existence is gone as soon as they die.
As the stiltgrass plants die it appears that they die from the bottom
up....kind of like diseased tomatoes. Some of the plants develop black
on their stems and it seems that when the black spots show up the
likelihood of seed production drops.
At Crummies Creek there are several sites where the mortality has been
occurring that will be easy to relocate next year to see what happens.
I am taking additional photos each day as things deconstruct and will post
a follow up as soon as I hear anything on the identity of the disease
One final observation. It appears that whatever it is very contagious.
Woods roads that have been traveled since being infected sport nothing but
dead stiltgrass wherever wheel tracks have passed over.
I hope the photos and comments below add some worthwhile information to
Russ Richardson, Certified Forester
Crummies Creek Tree Farm
PO Box 207
Arnoldsburg, WV 25234
Japanese stiltgrass at Crummies Creek. The plants in this photo were
climbing the road bank and averaged close to six feet tall as they went up
slope. Nearly all plants on the more gently sloping terrain above are
stunted and average less than a foot tall and will produce no seed in 2009
and seed production in general should be off by more than 95%. This is
open woodland that receives several hours of sunshine each morning.
This is a close up of the remaining stiltgrass in the photo above.
This is very sick Japanese stiltgrass growing in optimum conditions for
MV...very fertile woodland sites, northeastern exposure with at least
hours of full sun a day. For forest management purposes the area has a
index of over 80 and the understory vegetation of the site includes:
American ginseng, Goldenseal, black Cohosh and several other related
This is my dog Roy for a comparison of what "healthy" stiltgrass looks
like. Roy is a very large dog and sits close to three feet tall...the
stiltgrass on the road behind him is over four feet tall. In healthy
the only part of him you can see walking through the woods is the tip of
There will be no problem finding the dogs in this sick patch of