Common reed grass, or phragmites, is a tall, herbaceous perennial ranging in height from 3-15 feet. Leaves and stems are stiff and sharp. Large, feathery plumes of flowers change from purple-brown in July, to tan-grey by late in the season.
Confirmed observations of Common reed grass submitted to the NYS Invasive Species Database. For more information, visit iMapInvasives
Phragmites thrives in wetlands and disturbed and degraded soils, often along roadsides, ditches, or dredged areas. It can tolerate salt water and a pH range of 3.7-9. Both native and nonnative strains of phragmites occur. Generally invasive populations are nonnative, but it may be difficult to tell the two apart.
Threats & Impacts:
Plants can sprout from a rhizome fragment and form populations that overtake hundreds of acres and displace critical wetland species.
Mechanical - Common reed grass has an extensive root system. Manual control is only feasible for very small infestations or isolated stems. Dig or pull up the entire plant including all roots and runners using a digging tool. Extreme care must be taken to remove the entire root system, as new plants can sprout from residual fragments. Bag and remove all plant parts from the site. Solarize by placing bagged plant material in the sun for at least two weeks and then dispose of in an approved landfill. Do not compost invasive plant material.
Chemical - Selective application of glyphosate-based herbicide is an effective control technique for Phragmites. Herbicide applications are most effective when performed near peak growth/tassel - typically in late-August or September. Use one of the following techniques:
Foliar spray - apply a diluted solution of herbicide to the foliage. Consult the herbicide product label for approved dilution rates.
Clip and drip - cut the stem near the base and fill its hollow cavity with 2-5ml of glyphosate-based herbicide. Most herbicide product labels recommend a 50% v/v solution
Consult with a professional herbicide applicator if your infestation is located within close proximity to water or wetlands.