University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences researchers have found that newly identified fungal pathogens may suppress an aggressive, invasive grass that is spreading throughout the eastern United States.
Assistant professor of Ecology S. Luke Flory and his team conducted a multi-year field experiment of fungal pathogens at 80 sites in 18 states. Results showed that the pathogens have the potential to cause declines in populations of the invasive grass, also known as microstegium vimineum.
According to Flory, the pathogens are reducing the growth and reproduction of the invasive grass. What hasn’t been determined yet, is if the new pathogens will harm other species such as native plants, crops or turfgrass. Flory said that “the next step is to determine how these pathogens will affect invasive and native species over the long term.”