Restoring productivity to cogograss-infested land through reforestation
Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) is an invasive grass that is rapidly colonizing the Gulf coastal plain, with potential to spread well into the interior of the Southeastern U.S. Cogongrass is particularly harmful to forested land. In such situations, cogongrass hinders plantation establishment, may contribute to crowning fires in young stands, decreases wood and fiber production, and displaces native plants and animals. Of particular interest are options that landowners/managers may have when faced with cogongrass-infested land. A study was implemented by Auburn University researchers in cooperation with researchers from the U.S. Forest Service, Southern Research Station, to investigate establishment options for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). A site was selected near Theodore. AL (Mobile Co.), within 10 miles of the original introduction point of cogongass. The study site, previously in row crop agriculture but fallowed since the late 1980s, was heavily infested with cogongrass and an overstory of chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), tallowtree (Triadica scbifera), and yaupon (Ilex vomitoria). Brushy overstory was cut and removed in spring 2001, leaving a continuous stand of cogongrass. The study site was a sandy loam soil (pH 5.6) with high site index (90) for loblolly pine.