Common reed, or Phragmites australis, is a perennial grass that grows dense and tall—often to heights of 15 feet or more. Soft, plume-like flowers top its thick stalks with long flat leaves in summer and fall. This weed is found in fresh and brackish water, in marshes and wetlands and along ditches, ponds, and lakes.
There are three genetic strains in North America: one native to the northeast, mid-west, and west; a Gulf Coast lineage found from Florida’s Atlantic coast westward and southward to South and Central America; and a non-native Eurasian strain.
The Eurasian strain spreads easily, especially in disturbed wetlands. While it may be tempting to transplant non-native Phragmites to your property as an ornamental grass, don’t!
The Eurasian variety has become widespread in the northeast, mid-west, and along the Atlantic coast as far south as Georgia. It now threatens Florida. It is an aggressive invader that simply out-muscles other plants and disrupts the natural ecosystems and hydrology that provide food and shelter for native plants and animals.
Once established, removal of Eurasian Phragmites is difficult because it forms tough mats both below ground and horizontally above ground. Distinguishing it from its less menacing cousins and catching it early is important, as are measures to prevent it from taking hold in the first place.
Any management plan must be site-specific and will likely involve a multipronged attack that may include:
There are many factors to consider, including when to apply treatments, how to prevent the rhizomes from spreading, monitoring regrowth, and restoring the area once the plant is gone.
This isn’t a weed you want to take on yourself. Estate Management Services can determine if the common reed on your property is a problem and advise you on what to do about it.
We offer no-cost, no-obligation site surveys. You can schedule one online or by calling 1-888-307-6637.