Torpedograss (Panicum repens) is a warm season grass that originated in Asia and Africa. It has sharp-pointed tips (torpedo-shaped) and can grow to be about 3 feet tall.
Torpedograss was introduced to the United States by the late 1800s. This fast-spreading grass can quickly overtake both land and shallow water and crowds-out native vegetation. It forms dense mats in open water that blocks drains and canals and impedes flood control measures.
Once torpedograss has overtaken a pond or lake, there are mechanical and chemical controls that have varying degrees of success. Mowing floating mats or draining the waterbody and burning the weed is moderately effective, and works best in conjunction with the use of chemicals.
The most effective herbicide to control torpedograss is glyphosate, which has been found to be very effective. It often takes multiple applications of this systemic herbicide to bring torpedograss under control.
Once this invasive grass becomes established, it can be difficult to eradicate. Preventing it from becoming established or catching it early on is the best approach.
A comprehensive, long-term management plan is often the most effective method to controlling torpedograss. The extent of the invasion and other unique circumstances will affect the cost of treatment. The damage it does to native ecosystems and waterways often out ways the costs of treatment.
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