A population of Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) was recently discovered in DuPage County in Northeast Illinois. This plant is considered one of the most aggressive invaders in the forests of southern Illinois, and is known to occur across the southern edge of the Midwest . Fortunately, steps are being taken to control this population. This population, along with the discovery of populations in Will County in 2011 and in McHenry County in 2012, indicates that stiltgrass has the potential to establish anywhere in Illinois.
This species spreads quickly and is likely to show up in high-use areas such as campgrounds, picnic areas, trailheads, etc. Finding and controlling any new populations before they become well established is crucial to management. Please keep a look out for this species in the region or natural area where you work. If you find a suspect population, please report it. There are many people and programs available to help you with verification of ID and control strategies. If you are in NE Illinois, you can report populations to the New Invaders Watch Program at www.newinvaders.org.
For areas outside of NE Illinois, you can report infestations to Chris Evans, Illinois Wildlife Action Plan Invasive Species Campaign Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about current management strategies, life history traits, and current research on stiltgrass, please go to the 2010 Stiltgrass Summit website at www.rtrcwma.org/stiltgrass and also have a look at the stiltgrass identification guide http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1457/ANR-1457.pdf