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Pound Ridge Group Warns Grass Threatens Local Ecosystem

A Pound Ridge group is attempting to eliminate the spread of an invasive grass known as Japanese stiltgrass.
A Pound Ridge group is attempting to eliminate the spread of an invasive grass known as Japanese stiltgrass. Photo Credit: Courtesy National Park Services

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. -- A Pound Ridge group says Japanese stiltgrass is spreading throughout Pound Ridge and surrounding towns including South Salem, Lewisboro, Bedford and Mount Kisco and could threaten the local ecosystem.

The Invasives Project-Pound Ridge, which seeks to educate residents about stiltgrass and other invasive plants on their property, warned that the grass is "everywhere and still spreading," according to a news release from the group.

"More than a nuisance, this invasive grass can crowd out and shade out the understory of the woods," said TIP-PR Co-Chair Carolynn Sears in the release. "Stiltgrass can prevent the growth of seedling trees, spelling disaster for our woods and the bodies of water they protect.  It can grow in full sun to deep shade. Preventing this annual from going to seed is the principle management strategy."

Sears offers several tips for residents looking to eradicate the grass from their properties.

"First, confirm that the grass is Japanese stiltgrass and not the native look-alike, Virginia cutgrass (Leersia virginica)," she said in the release. "Stiltgrass resembles a small, delicate bamboo and the leaves have a distinctive shiny midrib on the lance-shaped, asymmetrical leaf."

Sears also recommended residents help prevent development as the flowers bloom during the late summer.

"Now is the time of year to pull, mow, scythe, or weed whack stiltgrass to prevent seed development," she said in the release. "Pulling stiltgrass is not hard, but might bring seeds to the surface where they can germinate. After seeds have developed, in September to October, most management efforts serve to spread the grass rather than control it."

Residents looking for a free consultation on their properties are asked to email invasivesPR@bedfordaudubon.org.

Walk-in consultations are also offered at the Pound Ridge Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. On Sunday, an ad hoc team will hike into East Woods Preserve, owned by the town, to measure a patch of Japanese stiltgrass.

Since parking is limited at the Preserve, the assembly point is at 1:45 p.m. at Pound Ridge Town Park.

Participants are asked to dress for a hike and bring water and work gloves. Interested volunteers can also RSVP through email at invasivesPR@bedfordaudubon.org.

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