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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - September 02, 2006

From: Dalworthington Gardens, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants
Title: Management practices to eradicate Johnson grass
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please suggest some eradication methods for Johnson grass. It is established in a field that I want to encourage native wildflowers/plants such as goldenrod, prairie coneflower, blue eyed grass, milkweed and bushy bluestem.

ANSWER:

Complete eradication of Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense) is a difficult task, but controlling and reducing its abundance is possible. The most effective way of eliminating it is to dig it up. If you have a small population, this is a possibility. To make it easier to remove, you should thoroughly soak the ground with water around the base of the plants. You must get all of the roots out of the ground or you will have new plants sprouting from them. You will have to be watchful and persistent about removing new shoots along with their roots when they appear.

If you have a large population of Johnson grass, however, rogueing it out may not be practical. You will probably have to employ several methods to eliminate it. The Nature Conservancy has an excellent article Element Stewardship Abstract for Sorghum halepense, Johnson Grass that discusses the grass and various management strategies. Illinois Nature Preserves also has an assessment of current management practices.

 

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