Creeping panic, rather than being a reference to the unease blanketing us over the past eight months, is a common name for Panicum repens. Generally known by the moniker “torpedo grass”, this member of the Poaceae (grass family) is an invasive weed rather than turf type. Introduced into the United States from Africa and/or Asia in the mid 1800’s, torpedo grass was thought to be an ideal forage crop for livestock as it was durable enough to survive the weather and the weight of the animals. The name is derived from its sharply pointed or torpedo-like tips.
Generally growing in or around shallow water, this weed has the potential to rapidly displace native vegetation, and has been found to now occur naturally in 75% of Florida’s 67 counties invading citrus groves, golf courses, and commercial landscape properties. Unyielding in its pervasiveness, torpedo grass is difficult to eradicate once it has taken root. A simple Google search will identify methods suggested for removing torpedo grass including baking soda, vinegar, fire, and a whole host of other unconventional remedies.
As with all pests and diseases, the removal of torpedo grass should be left in the hands of those individuals whom understand its composition and effective methods for its removal. Although chemical applications have been shown to have some effect on its durability, there is the chance of losing wanted grasses such as Bermuda and St. Augustine as a result of the chemicals used. Mechanical efforts to eradicate torpedo grass typically include disking and manually pulling up the weed often fail as the efforts break off pieces leaving the rhizome behind.
If you suspect torpedo grass is creeping into your commercial property or have other pest and disease concerns please contact LMP at (877) LMP-PR01. With nearly three decades of experience in Integrated Pest Management, the LMP IPM teams will be able to assist you in keeping your commercial property weed and pest free.