What kind of herbicide
do you use on phragmite and how do you administer it?
by Bruce Jones
is an alien, invasive species from Europe and Asia that is literally
taking over our wetlands. To our knowledge, it arrived in the 1800's
and has now hybridized with a native phragmites. You find it along most
roads now in the drainage ditches and in most of our wetlands. It is
a major headache!! It grows so densely that no other native plants can
survive in it. It also sends up so many stiff shoots that the density
stops all wildlife but a few insects from using it. It also changes
the soil chemistry to one not appreciated by native plants. It spreads
by underground roots, seeds (which are not very fertile) and surface
runners. The Grosse Ile Nature & Land Conservancy (GINLC) has pictures
of a 40 foot surface runner with a root - stem node every 9 inches.
While it originally was a wetland plant and still prefers wetlands,
it has also adjusted now to grow in drier areas.
Large areas almost
require professional control. Our most effective control for smaller
patches is to shock the plant by repeated cutting of the stems beginning
when they are about a foot high beginning in the spring. After repeated
cutting all summer, we spray the area with a concentrated glyphosate
( we use Round-Up) usually in September when the plants are going into
their winter condition. Although still diluted, we use the Roundup in
a stronger concentration than the routine dilution. In larger plots,
we spray with a tank sprayer. In smaller plots, we us a hand held bottle
sprayer like a used Windex bottle. In the following spring, we respray
when the remaining plants are about a foot high. Roundup kills everything
so it must be used with caution.
On small areas,
we cut the stem and then soak the cut stem with Round Up using a hand
held bottle sprayer. We also have developed a dauber composed of 1 inch
diameter PVC pipe with a valve near the end and a sponge at the end.
Even though phragmites
may not return the following year, the area needs constant monitoring.
The GINLC eliminated the phragmites along the Nature Area shore in 2002
and 2003 before replanting it with native species. Isolated shoots of
phragmites have popped up this year and we are using the cut and daub
approach because of the native plants surrounding it.
The State of Michigan
DEQ has published the following guide:
Landowner's Guide to Phragmites Control
Click here for additional useful information on Phragmites control.