Japanese stiltgrass has recently been discovered in the Longview neighborhood of West Tisbury, and the Nature Conservancy needs Islanders’ help in keeping this invasive species under control.

The harmful grass, which was introduced to the U.S. from Asia as a natural packaging material at the beginning of the 19th century, can crowd out native wildflowers, grasses and tree seedlings.

Stiltgrass seeds are easily spread along roads and into shady lawns by vehicles and garden equipment, and the Nature Conservancy is trying to educate local homeowners, gardeners and professional landscapers about the risks it poses.

Please report any Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) sightings to the conservancy’s office in Vineyard Haven, and consider coming out to help us remove Japanese stiltgrass from near our Hoft Farm Field Station Preserve. Luckily, stiltgrass has shallow roots and can be easily removed, though gardeners should take care in disposal to avoid unintentionally spreading the seeds.

A group eradication day is planned for Saturday, August 27, and volunteers are asked to join from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the conservancy’s Hoft Farm field station, 74 Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury. On-site parking is available. Dress for gardening, and bring gloves and drinking water.