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Invasive, Exotic Plants of the Southeast

Chinese Silvergrass

Chinese Silvergrass

Common Name: Chinese Silvergrass

Scientific Name: Miscanthus sinensis

Identification: Chinese Silvergrass is a bunched perennial grass reaching 5 to 10 feet in height.  Leaves are alternate, 40 inches long, and pointed.  The stem is stout and arching.  The silver or pink flowers are branched and drooping, 4 to 15 inches long, and appear from August to November.  The yellowish-brown seeds mature from September to January.

Ecology: Chinese Silvergrass invades roadsides, field edges, and disturbed sites.  This invasive grass colonizes by wind dispersed seeds.  It is highly flammable and may become a fire hazard.  Few wildlife species use Chinese Silvergrass.

Plant Control: In the home landscape, Miscanthus clumps can be dug up and bagged in large heavy duty garbage bags so the clumps cannot root elsewhere and the seeds do not spread. If digging is not an option, spray actively growing clumps with a 2% solution of glyphosate and surfactant. Cut off and bag up any seed heads to control spread. Re-treat as needed until clump is dead. Monitor for seedlings and dig up when found. 
 
Alternative Native Species: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), Splitbeard Bluestem (Andropogon ternarius), Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)

When using herbicides remember to follow label-recommendations.  Any mention of trade, products, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by North Carolina State University.

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