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stiltgrass blitz at Meng Preserve.

September 15, 2021

On September 13, volunteers removed a proverbial boat-load of Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) at our Meng Preserve in Schwenksville, Montgomery County.

Volunteers remove invasive stiltgrass from around shrubs and trees in a meadow at the edge of a woodland.

Photo: Debbie Beer

Native to Japan, China, central Asia, and India, stiltgrass was originally documented in Tennessee in 1919 and is believed to have been accidentally introduced to the United States through its use as a packing material for imported porcelain.

It thrives in moist, shady areas, especially those with regular disturbance, quickly forming a dense mat that  suppresses growth of native plants. As with many invasive species, native wildlife like deer won’t touch the stuff so there are few natural checks on its growth.

A smiling male volunteer removes invasive stiltgrass from around shrubs and trees in a meadow at the edge of a woodland.

Photo: Debbie Beer

Each plant can produce up to 1,000 seeds, which are viable for five years! Fortunately, this plant is an annual species, so if we pull it and properly dispose of it before it goes to seed (late fall), it won’t come back. Another plus is that it comes out very easily with shallow roots.

George Meng (far left in group pic) was among the hard-working crew. He’s the nephew of Eva R. Meng who originally bequeathed the property to Valley Forge Audubon Society, which then gave it to Natural Lands in 2019.

Said George, “The event was well planned and the instructions were very clear. We had a group of friendly, dedicated volunteers. We achieved our goal and had fun doing it.”

Photo: Debbie Beer

Feeling inspired? Join us for an upcoming volunteer day to make a different for nature. Click here to see all our upcoming events and learn how you can take care of nature.

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