An Integrated Approach to Sericea Lespedeza Management

This technical video will assist land managers in controlling sericea lespedeza, one of the most invasive, problematic exotic weeds in the northern bobwhite range.

A native of Asia, sericea lespedeza was introduced for erosion control, mine reclamation and wildlife habitat in the late 1800s. There are beneficial native lespedezas and other exotic lespedeza species. The low-growing, herbaceous lespedezas are popular for forage and wildlife, but the tall, upright shrub-type are problematic, and none as invasive as sericea. With the ability for uncontrolled populations to increase up to 24% annually, sericea lespedeza poses a serious threat to wildlife habitat and native ecosystems.

“For all practical purposes, sericea is impossible to eliminate,” said NBCI Grasslands Coordinator Jef Hodges. “It thrives under common wildland management practices. It’s a perennial and is allelopathic, which means it creates a chemical barrier to other plants. Its hard seeds will last decades in the soil, but they provide little nourishment to wildlife. In 2003, it infested an estimated 8.3 million acres, so it’s a threat to cattle producers as well as wildlife managers. It can’t be totally eliminated but it can be controlled with an integrated approach of burning/grazing/mowing and herbicide application for the most severe infestations.”

Fire Up Your Beef Production

America’s grasslands evolved with fire and grazing. Unfortunately, fire has been largely missing from rangelands for decades and in its absence range health has declined and woody encroachment is robbing producers of productive pastures. Prescribed fire is a proven tool to control woody encroachment and restore range health, increasing livestock production. Fire Up Your Beef Production is aimed at ranchers who are curious about prescribed fire, seeking cost effective range management. The video features ranchers who use prescribed fire on their ranches as they share their experiences related to woody encroachment control, animal performance, forage production, utilization, and economics.

Click here to view a longer version of the video included with this post.

Fire Starter: Why We Burn

Conservation often means more than legal protection of land. At a recent controlled burn, fire manager Bob Bale explains why The Nature Conservancy uses fire to restore North American forests.