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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.”