Field staff clip the stems of non-native Phragmites and inject them with glyphosate. Photos courtesy of APIPP

The goal for each management site within the Core Area is to eliminate invasive plant cover, while minimizing off target impacts to desirable native species, so that the site will be re-colonized with a plant assemblage similar to the surrounding habitat. To achieve this, APIPP primarily uses herbicide application by stem injection or foliar spray depending on the size and density of the infestation, quantity of intermixed native vegetation, and proximity to desirable plant communities or sensitive habitats.


Large stands require spray-lanes for easier access and better herbicide coverage. Photo courtesy of APIPP

Where there is concern for off target impacts, stem injection is used. The stem injection, or clip and drip, method is performed using a JK Injection tool and a 50% solution of glyphosate.  Large, monotypic stands of non-native Phragmites are more likely to receive foliar spray applications or a combination of techniques. Foliar spray applications are made with backpack sprayers containing a 0.75-1.5% solution of glyphosate mixed with a non-ionic surfactant. Both techniques also include the use of a marker dye to indicate which plants have been treated in order to prevent over application.  For large stands, spray lanes are cut the length of the patch, spaced every six to eight feet. The spray lanes provide easier access and facilitate complete coverage when applying the foliar spray. Each stem in the spray lane is cut a few inches from the ground and treated with a 50% solution of glyphosate via stem injection. Additionally, a three foot radius around native shrubs is treated with stem injection to minimize impacts during subsequent foliar spraying.


Dead standing plant material is cut with brush cutters the spring after a fall herbicide treatment. Photo courtesy of APIPP

Treatments are conducted beginning in July, when the plants are nearing full height and/or inflorescence, and are completed  in early September, at least three weeks before the first hard killing frost, allowing sufficient time for the herbicide to translocate to the roots. The following spring, the dead standing plant material is cut down using brush cutters, opening the canopy and promoting native plant recovery at the site. Since APIPP’s management sites are usually less than an acre in size, native plant recovery occurs naturally, and active restoration, such as planting or reseeding, is usually not required.


Pre-treatment acreage of 164 managed Phragmites infestations that have achieved “No Phragmites Observed” or “eliminated” status as of 2015. Image courtesy of APIPP

Repeated applications over consecutive growing seasons has led to the absence of non-native Phragmites at 164 of APIPP’s historic treatment sites within the Core Area.  Management efforts have been most successful for infestations that are .1 acres or smaller. All treatments are performed by certified pesticide applicators or technicians including APIPP staff and contracted response teams.

Management efforts have historically focused within the Core Area, but APIPP hopes to address many of the infestations that fall outside this area over the coming years. Because the PRISM includes areas outside of the Core Area, some stakeholders perceive this prioritization as neglecting those areas. As non-native Phragmites infestations within the Core Area are reduced and eliminated, APIPP will  shift resources to also manage outlying infestations.

Core Area Management Yearly Program Totals
Year # Site Treated Acres Treated # Sites Eliminated
2011 110 2.40 0
2012 120 1.94 0
2013 141 3.57 3
2014 106 1.68 24
2015 142 5.77 56