Skip to main content Accessibility help

Impacts of Prescribed Fire, Glyphosate, and Seeding on Cogongrass, Species Richness, and Species Diversity in Longleaf Pine

  • Stephen F. Enloe (a1), Nancy J. Loewenstein (a2), David W. Held (a3), Lori Eckhardt (a2) and Dwight K. Lauer (a4)...


Cogongrass [Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.] is a warm-season, rhizomatous grass native to southeast Asia that has invaded thousands of hectares in the southeastern United States. Its negative impacts on pine forests have been well documented, and aggressive control is widely recommended. Although repeated herbicide treatments are effective for suppression, integrated strategies of prescribed burning coupled with herbicide treatment and revegetation are lacking in pine systems. In particular, longleaf pine forests, which are typically open, fire-dependent, communities, are highly susceptible to cogongrass, which is a pyrogenic species. To address management goals for cogongrass control and herbaceous restoration in longleaf pine forests better, field studies were conducted in southwestern Alabama from 2010 to 2012. Two longleaf pine forests with near-monotypic stands of cogongrass in the understory were selected for study. Treatments included combinations of winter prescribed fire, spring and fall glyphosate herbicide treatments, and seeding a mix of native, herbaceous species. Data were collected for three growing seasons following study initiation, and included seasonal herbaceous species cover and final cogongrass shoot and rhizome biomass. Species richness and diversity were calculated and analyzed to ascertain treatment effects over the duration of the study. Burning slightly improved cogongrass control with glyphosate, but had no effect on total cover, species richness, or species diversity. Three glyphosate treatments reduced total vegetative cover and nearly eliminated cogongrass cover, shoot, and rhizome biomass. Glyphosate and glyphosate + seeding also increased herbaceous species richness and diversity. However, aboveground productivity in treated plots was significantly lower than productivity in the untreated control, which was almost exclusively cogongrass. These studies indicate that glyphosate and integrated strategies utilizing glyphosate and seeding are very useful for cogongrass management and increasing herbaceous species richness and diversity in longleaf pine.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Brewer, J. S. 2008. Declines in plant species richness and endemic plant species in longleaf pine savannas invaded by Imperata cylindica . Biol. Invasions 10:12571264.
Bryson, C. T. and Carter, R. 1993. Cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica, in the Unites States. Weed Technol. 7:10051009.
Chapman, H. H. 1932. Is the longleaf type a climax? Ecology 13:328334.
Chikoye, D., Ekeleme, F., and Udensi, U. E. 2001. Cogongrass suppression by intercropping cover crops in corn/cassava systems. Weed Sci. 49:658667.
Christensen, N. L. 1981. Fire regimes in southeastern ecosystems. Pages 112136 in Mooney, H. A., Bonnicksen, T. M., Christensen, N. L., Lotan, J. E., and Reinsers, W. A., eds. Fire Regimes and Ecosystem Properties. Washington, DC U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service General Technical Report WO-26.
Collins, A. R., Jose, S., Daneshgar, P., and Ramsey, C. L. 2007. Elton's hypothesis revisited: an experimental test using cogongrass. Biol. Invasions 9:433443.
Daneshgar, P. and Jose, S. 2009. Role of species identity in plant invasions: experimental test using Imperata cylindrica . Biol. Invasions 11:14311440.
Daneshgar, P., Jose, S., Ramsey, C., and Collins, A. R. 2008. Impacts of an invasive grass on the productivity of an establishing pine forest. For. Sci. 54:579587.
D'Antonio, C. M. and Vitousek, P. M. 1992. Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 23:6387.
Dickens, R. 1974. Cogongrass in Alabama after sixty years. Weed Sci. 22:177179.
DiTomaso, J. M., Brooks, M. L., Allen, E. B., Minnich, R., Rice, P. M., and Kyser, G. B. 2006. Control of invasive weeds with prescribed burning. Weed Technol. 20:535548.
Dozier, H., Gaffney, J. H., McDonald, S. K., Johnson, E. R. R. L., and Shilling, D. G. 1998. Cogongrass in the United States: history, ecology, impacts, and management. Weed Technol. 12:737743.
Faircloth, W. H. 2004. Integrated Vegetation Management of Cogongrass in Alabama. Ph.D Dissertation. Auburn, AL Auburn University. 156 p.
Frost, C. C. 1993. Four centuries of changing landscape patterns in the longleaf pine ecosystem. Proc. Tall Timbers Fire Ecol. Conf. 18:1744.
Gaffney, J. F. 1996. Ecophysiological and Technological Factors Influencing the Management of Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica). Ph.D. dissertation. Gainesville, FL University of Florida. 111 p.
Glitzenstein, J. S., Streng, D. R., Wade, D. D., and Brubaker, J. 2001. Starting new populations of longleaf pine ground-layer plants in the outer Coastal Plain of South Carolina, USA. Nat. Areas J. 21:89110.
Hedman, C. W., Grace, S. L., and King, S. E. 2000. Vegetation composition and structure of southern coastal plain forests: an ecological comparison. For. Ecol. Manag. 134:344–247.
Huynh, H. and Feldt, L. S. 1970. Conditions under which mean square ratios in repeated measurements designs have exact F-distributions. J. Am. Statist. Assoc. 65:15821589.
Jose, S., Cox, J., Miller, D. L., Shilling, D. G., and Merritt, S. 2002. Alien plant invasions. The story of cogongrass in southeastern forests. J. For. 100:4144.
Kirkman, L. K., Mitchell, R. J., Helton, R. C., and Drew, M. B. 2001. Productivity and species richness across an environmental gradient in a fire-dependent ecosystem. Am. J. Bot. 88:21102128.
Kush, J. S., Meldahl, R. S., and Boyer, W. D. 2000. Understory plant community response to season of burn in natural longleaf pine forests. Pages 3239 in Moser, W. K., ed. Fire and Forest Ecology: Innovative Silvicultural and Vegetation Management. Proc. Tall Timbers Fire Ecol. conf. No. 21.
Kush, J. S., Meldahl, R. S., and Boyer, W. D. 1999. Understory plant community response after 23 years of hardwood control treatments in natural longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests. Can. J. For. Res. 29:10471054.
Lippincott, C. L. 1997. Ecological Consequences of Imperata cylindrica (cogongrass) Invasion in Florida. Ph.D Dissertation. Gainesville, FL University of Florida. 165 p.
Lippincott, C. L. 2000. Effects of Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv. (Cogongrass) invasion on fire regime in Florida Sandhill (USA). Nat. Areas J. 20(2):140149.
MacDonald, G. E. 2004. Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica): biology, ecology and management. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 23(5):367380.
Matlack, G. R. 2002. Exotic plant species in Mississippi, USA: critical issues in management and research. Nat. Areas J. 22:241247.
Minogue, P. J., Miller, J. H., and Lauer, D. K. 2012. Use of glyphosate and imazapyr for cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) management in southern pine forests. South. J. Appl. For. 36:1925.
Peet, R. K. and Allard, D. J. 1993. Longleaf pine vegetation of the southern Atlantic and eastern Gulf Coast regions: a preliminary classification. Proc. Tall Timbers Fire Ecol. Conf. 18:4581.
Ramsey, C. L., Jose, S., Brecke, B., and Merritt, S. 2003a. Growth response of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seedlings to fertilization and herbaceous weed control in an old field in southern USA. For. Ecol. Manage. 172:281289.
Ramsey, C. L., Jose, S., Miller, D. L., Cox, J., Portier, K. M., Shilling, D. G., and Merritt, S. 2003b. Cogongrass [Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.] response to herbicide and disking on a cutover site in a mid-rotation pine plantation in southern USA. For. Ecol. Manage. 179:195209.
Schelhas, J. 2011. A socioeconomic assessment of Forest Service Recovery Act projects: the Alabama Cogongrass Control Center. General Technical Report—Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service 2011 No. PNW-GTR-831, Pp. 522.
Seamon, G. 1998. A longleaf pine sandhill restoration in northwest Florida. Restor. Manage. Notes 16:4650.
Seymour, R., Seymour, J., and Blackford, C. 2008. Six Basic Elements for a Successful Native Grass and Forb Establishment. 4th ed. Upton, KY Roundstone Native Seed, LLC. Accessed December 12, 2012.
Shannon, C. E. 1949. The mathematical theory of communication. Pages 29125 in Shannon, C. E., and Weaver, W., eds. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, IL University of Illinois Press.
Walker, J. and Peet, R. K. 1988. Composition and species diversity of pine–wiregrass savannas of the Green Swamp, North Carolina. Vegetatio 55:163179.
Washburn, B. E., Barnes, T. G., Rhoades, C. C., and Remington, R. 2002. Using imazapic and prescribed fire to enhance native warm season grasslands in Kentucky. Nat. Areas J. 22:2027.
Washburn, B. E., Barnes, T. G., and Sole, J. D. 1999. No-till establishment of native warm-season grasses in tall fescue fields: first year results indicate value of new herbicide. Ecol. Restor. 17:144149.
Willard, T. R., Gaffney, J. F., and Shilling, D. G. 1997. Influence of herbicide combinations and application technology on cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) control. Weed Technol. 11:7680.
Yager, L. Y., Miller, D. L., and Jones, J. 2010. Susceptibility of longleaf pine forest associations in south Mississippi to invasion by cogongrass [Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.]. Nat. Areas J. 30:226232.


Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Impacts of Prescribed Fire, Glyphosate, and Seeding on Cogongrass, Species Richness, and Species Diversity in Longleaf Pine

  • Stephen F. Enloe (a1), Nancy J. Loewenstein (a2), David W. Held (a3), Lori Eckhardt (a2) and Dwight K. Lauer (a4)...


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.