How should you dispose of Phragmites?
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.
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!
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
- Equipment Cleaning
- Management Planning
- Coastal Wetland Info
- The Phragmites Collaborative
- Other Resources
By the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Produced by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
Clean Equipment Protocol for Industry
By the Ontario Invasive Plant Council
Best practices for decontamination for campers, trail users, homeowners, and field workers
This summarized protocol was shared with us from the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. For this project, the Band removed invasive Phragmites from wastewater treatment plants with native phrag. They set stringent rules for the contractors to follow when removing the Phrag, transporting it to landfill, cleaning the concrete-lined beds of Phrag material, laying down substrate and plastic sheeting on the bottom of the beds, and planting the native Phragmites. There is a 400 page document describing this protocol in detail, but this is the summary. Thank you to the Red Cliff Band for sharing this excellent work!
By the Federal Highway Administration (2007)
Phragmites Field Guide: Distinguishing between native and exotic forms of Common Reed (Phragmites australis) in the United States
By Jil Swearingen and Kristen Saltonstall (2010)
By Michigan Natural Features Inventory
By Dr. Kristin Saltonstall of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (2015)
VIDEO: Dr. Dan Carter Explains How to Identify Native Phragmites
By the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (2016)
- The biology of Canadian weeds. Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. Ex Steud, by Drs Mal and Narine is a comprehensive review of litterature on Phragmites biology and population dynamics, historic progression in North-America, andcontrol and management strategies.
- Read more about the Michigan Sea Grant restoration projects in Lake St. Clair coastal wetlands (St. John’s Marsh, Lake St. Clair Metropark, and Harrison Township) here.
- Glyphosate Fact Sheets (General & Technical): Two levels of detail on glyphosate, one of the most common herbicides used for Phragmites management, from the National Pesticide Information Center. The technical fact sheet contains information about surfactants as well.
- Invasive Phragmites: a fact sheet developed by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources presents the negative impacts associated with Phragmites progression and provides tips to distinguish native and non-native Phragmites.
- Invasive Phragmites Fact Sheet by Huron Pines with biological information as well as information about control options.
- Non-native Phragmites Fact Sheet by the Great Lakes Commission, presents an overview of the current extent of Phragmites invasion across the Great Lakes Basin, lists associated impacts and provides links to management plans and useful resources for each of the Great Lakes states and provinces.
- Phragmites resources by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative include fact sheets, external links and resolutions passed the the organization.
- Plant Profile for Phragmites australis, by the Natural Resources Conservation Service provides information on taxonomy and distribution.
- Why Should I Care About Invasive Species? A good overview of the impacts of invasive species in the Midwest by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN)