Japanese stiltgrass is a nonnative invasive grass occupying a range of habitats in the eastern United States. Conventional management recommendations include hand-removal, mowing, or a nonselective herbicide application in autumn prior to flowering. However, no study has directly compared the ecological impacts of long-term management strategies on Japanese stiltgrass populations or recruitment and establishment of native flora. An experiment was initiated in 2002 and continued for three growing seasons in mixed pine-hardwood forests in central North Carolina. Conventional treatments included hand-removal, mowing, or an application of glyphosate (1.1 kg ai/ha) once in autumn, and selective removal by hand or fenoxaprop-P (0.19 kg ai/ha) season-long as needed. All treatments were compared to nontreated plots. Percent vegetation cover by species was recorded twice annually. Data were aggregated into five classes; Japanese stiltgrass, other exotic plants, native forbs, native monocots, and native woody plants. The soil seed bank of all species was estimated annually by extracting soil cores and documenting seedling emergence. All Japanese stiltgrass management treatments significantly reduced Japanese stiltgrass cover and seed bank over time compared to no management. However, recruitment and reestablishment of native plants and overall species richness were greater with selective Japanese stiltgrass management treatments including both hand-removal and fenoxaprop-P. Relative cover of other exotic plants decreased 2% to 49% after 3 yr with all Japanese stiltgrass management treatments except season-long hand-removal, which increased relative cover of other exotic plants 51%.
Nomenclature: Japanese stiltgrass, Microstegium vimineum (Trin.) A. Camus MCGVM.