Georgia Department of Agriculture


Image by Charles T. Bryson, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.orgImage by Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is federal noxious weed that has been found in locations in Georgia. It has become widespread throughout Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi since its introduction in 1911. cogongrass suppresses and eliminates natural vegetation thereby significantly reducing tree & plant regeneration, wildlife habitat, forage, and ecological diversity. 

Although most cogongrass infestations are found in south Georgia, it is capable of growing throughout the state. It grows in numerous soil types (with the exception swampy areas) and will grow in full sunlight to shaded areas. Cogongrass invades forests, pastures, old fields, roadsides, utility rights-of-ways, and ditches. The grass spreads through both rhizomes and seed production.

The most recognizable feature of cogongrass is the fluffy white seed heads that are produced in the spring (March-June) immediately following grass “green-up”. Although not a sole identification feature, the grass also has an off-centered midrib on long leaf blades (1-5 feet).

The Georgia Forestry Commission (GFC) is taking a proactive approach at eradicating cogongrass in Georgia, and formed the Cogongrass Task Force in 2004. A diverse group of government and private agencies and groups have joined forces within this Task Force into a collective effort to detect and eradicate this plant form our State.  Anyone suspecting they have seen cogongrass should contact their local Georgia Forestry Commission office. A GFC representative will inspect the site. If confirmed to be cogongrass, a chemical eradication program will be initiated at no expense to the landowner. In the meantime, avoid mowing or disking through or near a known or suspected cogongrass spot since this could move seed or root fragments to other areas.

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