The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has declared sericea lespedeza as a noxious weed effective April 1.
“This weed poses a threat to our native ranges and pastureland, as well as other natural areas,” said Greg Ibach, director of the state's agriculture department.
“It can reduce or even eliminate native grasses and it affects the quality and quantity of pasture available to our livestock herd,” he said.
Sericea lespedeza is a perrennial that grows in pastures and along roadsides. It is mainly found in southeastern Nebraska and can be spread by wildlife and livestock.
Infested areas that are utilized for hay production accelerate the spread of the weed in new areas.
With the addition of sericea lespedeza, Nebraska has 12 noxious weeds. The list includes Canadian thistle, leafy spurge, musk thistle, plumeless thistle, purple loosestrife, spotted knapweed, diffuse knapweed, saltcedar, phragmites, Japanese knotweed and giant knotweed.
Otoe County officials are also dealing with an invasive vine that appears to be thriving in a small area along Steamboat Trace.
John Bebout of the Otoe County Roads Department reported in 2012 moderate to severe infestation of musk thistle on 305 acres and phragmites on 30 acres.
Phragmites, a reed grass that can grow as high as 20 feet, has been identified near the Omaha Public Power District coal plant.
It is a wetland plant declared a noxious weed by Nebraska because it disrupts the flow of water in streams, increases the risk of wildfire and competes with native vegetation.