Broomsedge bluestem trial

Broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) is a pioneer grass species that is common in waste ground.  While it is native to the northeastern US, in some situations it is considered to be invasive.  So why are we planting it?  Well, we are interested to see if this plant can compete with some of the non-native invasive species found along the trail.  We are trying it in areas where mugwort has been a problem.  Like mugwort, broomsedge bluestem makes allelopathic chemicals that slow down the growth of other plants.  However, unlike mugwort, this bluestem has significant value to wildlife.  It's also attractive all year; the seedheads are beautiful in winter.  And, if it should become widely established, then we can start bringing back other native species that will be able to outcompete the bluestem. 

Image courtesy of John Ruter, University of Georgia,