The Enemy - Matgrass (Nardus stricta) is a perennial plant native to Europe that has been found only in two central counties in Idaho and one county in Oregon. This slow growing bunchgrass spreads mostly through mud clinging to animals hooves while grazing. It grows in tufts of 3 foot in diameter or more and to a height of 18 inches. It is course textured thus animals rarely graze on it. It is generally found in moist to fully saturated mountain meadows. The grass is very course textured. The leaf blade spreads at nearly a right angle to the stem and the stems are tipped with slender spikes that emerge in midsummer and bear all spikelets on one side of the stem. Tufts are tightly rooted and difficult to remove. This plant is unique as it can tiller in any direction.
The Attack - Once Matgrass becomes established it slowly pushes desirable species out of the habitat. Like many invaders animals will select not to forage on it and can overgraze desirable species, thus promoting the growth of the invading plants.
The Defense - Removing the plant with a shovel when a few plants are found is key to preventing this noxious weed from becoming a deep threat. In many cases mechanical control is not economical, when this occurs the use of Roundup or similar products can be effective. Timing of application should be in the early spring when the plants are actively growing. Make sure you have a revegetation plan in place when using Roundup because if not you are just inviting new invaders from coming in where the competition has be eliminated. Call your local weed authority for proper identification as this plant can be mistaken for fine-leaved bunchgrasses and tufted sedges.
PLEASE NOTE -The proper use and application of herbicides can be an effective way to control and eradicate noxious and invasive plants. Before using herbicides, always carefully follow the label and safety instructions on the label. While we recommend the use of herbicides as one of the effective tools for integrated pest management, the Idaho Weed Awareness Campaign assumes no liability for herbicide applications.
For more information, click on the link below to download the Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines publication produced by the University of Idaho Extension.
U of I Idaho's Noxious Weeds Control Guidelines (183 KB PDF download)