What are the best methods for disposing of Phragmites after treatment? There are several options available that can help prevent Phragmites from returning after treatment.
Need to learn more about Phragmites management? View a summary of techniques below. Note that there is no single method that is a ‘quick fix’ to manage Phragmites: a multi-method approach is critical for success and long-term results. All management strategies should be used as part of an integrated management plan combining several of the techniques described below. View a list of best practices guidelines for more information, and enroll in the Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework to receive specific management guidance for your site!
The first step in Phragmites disposal involves removing it from the growing location.
Stem Removal From Water
- Collect cut stems into a barge or boat
- Move the stems to land
Stem Removal From Land
- Tractors and backhoes can collect the Phragmites into piles
Effective burial requires about 70 cm (or 27 in) of soil over the Phragmites
Make sure the sediment is dry to prevent Phragmites re-sprouting
Nearby municipal dumps can also bury mounds under 70 cm without additional cost
Piling Phragmites After Cutting
- Simply move piles to shore. When left high and dry, Phragmites won’t re-sprout. Bare rock or nearby shoreline are best.
- If mounds are large, use a barge to collect cut Phragmites and a backhoe to move them to a pile
- Any regrowth can be managed by hand pulling or backpack spraying
- Piles also speed up decomposition; crushing stems with equipment will also help speed up decomposition
- If you can’t move the cut material out of a wetland, moving Phragmites into a pile can create areas of open water
- If a field is nearby, you can also leave these mounds and burn them during the prescribed fire’s season
- Burning dead Phragmites is an effective method to clear out a large amount of biomass
- Cutting down stems isn’t necessary for this method
Results: 2019 disposal questionnaire
How are managers in the Great Lakes region currently disposing of Phragmites after treatment? In spring 2019 we sent a question to the Phragmitesnet listserv asking for this information. Of the 57 responses received, 63% reported that they leave Phragmites in place, while 28% removed it from the site, and 9% removed seed heads only. Read below about disposal methods that are currently being used. Is there a method you use that isn’t listed here? Please let us know and we will add it to the site!