Mississippi Invasive Plant Control Program

What is the Mississippi Invasive Plant Control Program?
The Mississippi Invasive Plant Control Program (MIPCP) is a publicly funded project made possible through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) stimulus grant. This ARRA grant is administered, with oversight, by the USDA Forest Service. The grant program is implemented by the Mississippi Forestry Commission.  The mandate of the grant is to suppress invasive plant species through strategies in targeted areas of Mississippi, while allowing for the creation and retention of employment opportunities. The foremost target of the MIPCP is cogongrass, a pest in 73 countries and considered one of the “Top 10 Worst Weeds in the World.”

What is cogongrass?
Cogongrass [Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beuv.] is a warm season, perennial grass that originates from Asia. It was first introduced into the United States through Mobile in the early 1900’s as packing material for oranges. The leaves can reach six feet in length but are typically shorter. They are easily recognized by their sharp edges and middle, whitish midrib that is slightly off center. Their belowground root system is extensive, growing as a solid, dense mat of underground stems call rhizomes. Cogongrass typically grows in a circular pattern from small patches to many acres. Cogongrass can grow in open areas and under the shade of a forest.  Through there are some other grasses that have these characteristics, taken as a whole these characteristics can be used to recognize it. Cogongrass affects pine productivity and survival, wildlife habitat, recreation, native plants, fire behavior, site management costs and more. Cogongrass has several common names, including japgrass, Japanese bloodgrass, Red Baron and speargrass.

Why is it a problem?
Cogongrass is one of the 10 worst weeds in the world. It is steadily marching across Mississippi. This highly invasive pest permanently alters plant and animal communities; increases fire frequency and intensity, and requires extensive investment to control. In other areas of the world, cogongrass has destroyed entire landscapes, creating a ‘sea’ of cogongrass with no other plants. Domestic food and fiber supplies are negatively impacted by cogongrass through reduction in wildlife food sources and killing or injuring valuable cash crops such as corn, cotton, and trees. Cogongrass exists on rights-of-way, forests, and agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Because it is found in so many areas, there is a need for a large-scale, concerted effort to effectively control it.

How is it treated?
Currently the most effective approach to controlling cogongrass infestations is with repeated chemical application, sometimes over several years. There are numerous herbicides on the market currently labeled for cogongrass. Mechanical treatments, such as disking, are also used but not applicable over many areas.

How do I figure out if I have it on my property?
There are several ways to know if cogongrass is either on your property or a potential threat. First, know how to identify it by going to http://www.cogongrass.org/cogongrassid.pdf and downloading the field guide. You can then contact your MIPCP to arrange for us to make the determination:

Michael Mathis
Invasive Plant Control Program Coordinator
P.O. Box 749
515 County Farm Lane NE
Brookhaven, Mississippi 39602-0749
(601) 833-6621 office
(601) 344-8599 cell

Am I eligible for the program?
Landowners in Covington and Jones Counties can apply for help in controlling Cogongrass on they property.  Please complete the Cogongrass Landowner Request Form and submit form to Michael Mathis.

More information
There are many sources of information about cogongrass on the internet. Public agencies are a good clearinghouse. The sites listed below will get you started.

Contact Mississippi Invasive Plant Control Program

Contact Mississippi Invasive Plant Control Program

Jim Hancock
Grant Coordination Forester
660 North Street
Suite 300
Jackson, Mississippi  39202
Phone: (601) 359-2812
Cell Phone: (601) 720-0238


Service Area

Services provided in:
  • Covington County, Mississippi
  • Jones County, Mississippi