A message and request from Sarah @ Nolde Forest EE Center.
Greetings Nolde Friends and Volunteers!
I hope you are all in good health and have survived the rain from Ida. I am writing because I would like to request the help of a handful of individuals to help pull stilt grass from the plantings around the Mansion and McConnell Hall.
If you are not familiar, Stilt Grass is an invasive plant that was brought here as packing material in the 20s and 30s. It is extremely easy to pull (no digging or tools needed!) but it grows easily and produces 1,000s of seeds each year. The easiest control measure is to pull it when it begins to flower but before it goes to seed. This happens quickly and I believe this week (from now until about Sept 12) is the optimal time to remove it from the areas.
Here is a photo of the plant in question. You’ll notice that each blade of grass has the very distinct silver stripe down the middle of the leaf. This is THE defining characteristic that makes it very easy to ID when mixed in among other plants.
Here are some websites for more ID and information:
FS1237: Japanese Stiltgrass Control in the Home Lawn and Landscape (Rutgers NJAES)
If you are willing and able to assist in pulling this plant over the week or so, please respond to spresogna[at]pa[dot]gov and let me know. We are not assigning a formal time to meet and pull as a group, as there are no tools or other equipment to hand out. Instead, we are asking for those who are willing to simply stop by when it suits them best, and to work in their designated area for as long as they can. Based on the response, I will assign you an area to work on, but most areas will be close to the mansion. I am happy to sign volunteer hour forms for any school or work requirements as well. Honor system!
Once you begin to recognize Stilt Grass you will see that it has taken over large swatches of our lovely park. While it might seems overwhelming, by working in small sections each year, I hope that we can begin to move out and tackle larger areas in subsequent years. And of course, you are always welcome to rip out stilt grass when you see it on your hikes in the forest. As long as the grass has not set seed, it is safe to simply pull and leave the plant where it lays. It will not reroot and quickly composts.
If you have any further questions, please ask! I hope that some of you are able to assist us this week and take advantage of the cooler weather.
Sarah Presogna | Environmental Education Specialist Supervisor
Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Bureau of State Parks | Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center
3025 New Holland Rd | Reading, PA 19607