Cogongrass Increasing in Alabama

Dan Alabama

Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica)
Image courtesy of Alabama Cooperative Extension System

Cogongrass continues to creep its way throughout the Southeast, and according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), there is an increasing prevalence in Alabama.

Alabama Extension specialist Nancy Loewenstein notes that once the highly invasive and federal noxious weed begins to establish, it wreaks havoc on the environment.

“It has little wildlife value and outcompetes native plants, reducing biodiversity and forest productivity,” Loewenstein said.

Cogongrass is a quickly spreading threat that requires intense monitoring in Alabama. It spreads across the state through variously dispersed seeds and rhizomes. They are spread by wind, contaminated hay, fill dirt, nursery products, as well as machinery and other vehicles.


The public’s ability to identify and potentially remove cogongrass will aid specialists as they monitor the spread of this weed.

“Being able to confidently identify cogongrass will help with early detection of new infestations,” she said. “It will also allow timely control efforts to begin, decreasing both the potential for spread and for negative impacts on site.”

The cogongrass leaves are the key identifiers. They are about 0.5 to 1 inch wide, and about 2 to 3 feet tall, although they can reach up to 5 to 6 feet.

Some leaves are very erect while others may droop or lie flat. They are often light yellowish-green in color with a prominent, white midrib.

Loewenstein recommends accessing the Alabama Extension publication, Cogongrass Management FAQ, for more information about control and management.

For more information, visit the Alabama Extension website.