Phragmites (Phragmites australis) 

In our area there are two species of Phragmites; northeast native and invasive both of which exhibit nuisance properties. They are a sizable perpetual grass that embody dense sands and congregate most native plants. Phragmites forms incredibly dense stand and can grow to a height of 15 feet. This unbelievable height can cause a nuisance around lakes and ponds. The leaves of Phragmites are blue-green in color and can be up to 20 inches in length. It often grows along wet shores of disturbed sites and can live in water 6 feet deep. Once temperatures warm up, the plant will shoot up. It also reproduces through seeds on the spikelet, but most commonly through its rhizomes. The rhizomes of this plant allow it to grow at such a high density and are a core reason why it can reach nuisance levels.

invasive and native phragmites
invasive phragmites

The Pond and Lake Connection is an experienced Aquatic Management Company that handles much more than just pond or lakes we also manage invasive plants and species. The Pond and Lake Connection practices a unified approach when working in these fragile habitats, handling both herbicide and algaecide applications as well as mechanical methods that are used. We address the problem first hand, through our permitting process, check performance levels and monitoring the job.

Controlling Invasive Species & Management

Evaluation of the Infestation

Before control methods are put into effect, it is crucial to assess the site accurately to conclude the density of phragmites within the overall stand of plants, the moisture or wetness of the site and the capacity of the area overrun with the invasive weed. Assessing the extent of the development, with a proposal & treatment method can be constructed to best meet the needs of the native environment. Consult The Pond and Lake Connection about preparing all the necessary permit applications to where treatments are required on your aquatic or wetland site.

Herbicides Applications

A chemical formulation made to target particular plants is crucial for site settings and regulatory atmospheres. Some herbicides are selective and some are not; our state certified pesticide operators’ supervisors make the selection on which herbicides to use based on objectives, target plants, and any supplementary details of the pond or lake. Typically, treatments are scheduled during the fall season and are the most effective method for control. However, these treatments can be performed between the months of June through mid-October.

  • State Licensed Pesticide Supervisors
  • Federal, State, & Local Permitting
  • EPA Registered products
  • Safe for people, fish & wildlife
  • Long term control

Manual Control

Techniques used by our professional aquatic specialists to treat phragmites are cutting, spot spraying, and the marsh masters to show immediate effects and manage aggressive invasive weeds. When cutting or pulling phragmites, they need to be done annually, however that method works for majority of smaller urban areas with not as much land.

phragmites control expert

Marsh Masters mow and destroy invasive grasses phragmites and cattails. They are capable of cutting vegetation such as: grass, thick brush, and small trees up to 2” in diameter with satisfaction.

Mechanical Method Tips

Bushcutter Utility Pipeline Work

This method might not wipe out the population of phragmites if rhizomes don’t execute.

  • Take caution and make sure you cut at or just above ground level using scissors, shears, weeding sickle.
  • If you utilize brush cutters, or a weed whackers make sure you are inches above the ground to diminish the damage of small mammals or native vegetation.
  • Decrease your chances by using the cutting method in late fall or after the ground has frozen.
  • Be very thorough in clean equipment and clothing after application was used, because you could unintentionally spread rhizomes and seeds to newer areas.

Roller Chopping and Destruction

Roller Destruction
  • Marsh Masters
  • Standard for phragmites control
  • Rolls and flattens grasses while tracking.
  • Creates an 8’ open swath with each path.
  • Connects easily to marsh masters, and can be raised or lowered.
  • Drum can be filled with water for excess weight.
  • Effective in standing water up to 3’deep.
  • Flatten and chops tall grasses efficiently.
  • Licensed applicators apply approved herbicide(s) directly to green phragmites foliage
  • The main ingredient moves through the plant tissues where it executes and deceases the plants.
  • Once treated it will be yellow, turn to brown and eventually die.
Marsh Master

Prevention and Preservation

phragmites prevention

Be aware to have regular inspections to help ensure your site is maintained properly. Monitoring your pond or lakes frequently to help protect and prevent any control problems is necessary. Taking action sooner rather than later will help identify and reduce the expense associated with your treatment plan because it was identified and treated on time. 

The long-term objective when face to face with phragmites is to adequately manage the aggressive invasive weeds to allow enticing native plants to recolonize the site. Application techniques used on a routinely basis, include; spot spraying, marsh master methods; airboat applications and equipped with spray platforms. When using the cutting treatment be sure to cut plants on the waist height and add on a drop of herbicide to hollow stems with a syringe.