Plant scientists track down harmful weed

By Peter Kent

cogongrass close upCogongrass looks pretty but it is a mighty pest that is considered one of the 10 most harmful weeds in the world. It infests lawns, pastures, golf courses, roadways, forests and recreational and natural areas, and overwhelms other plants.

In South Carolina, Clemson’s Department of Plant Industry, the Cogongrass Task Force and more than 175 volunteers have detected the weed in nine counties. The task force includes the state Exotic Plant Pest Council, the Native Plant Society, Forestry Commission, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, and the USDA Forest Service and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Clemson plant industry experts and task force members conduct workshops to advise the public about the weed and how to identify it. Plant industry experts treat known sites with recommended herbicides and check garden centers for Red Baron and Japanese blood grass, which are prohibited plants in South Carolina because they are the same genus and species as cogongrass.

Volunteers can sign up for future surveys, get updates on activities or report sightings of cogongrass at

For information: Steve Compton, 864-646-2130,