Effects of Phragmites

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Loss of Biodiversity and Species Richness:

Phragmites australis significantly reduces biodiversity of native plants and animals once it develops into monoculture cells. Only the edges of these areas are used by native species while the interior is effectively a dead zone.

Loss of Habitat:

Monoculture stands replace natural habitat and food supplies for various wildlife species, including Species at Risk.

Phragmites stalks are rigid and tough, and do not allow for wildlife or humans to easily navigate.

Changes in Hydrology:

Phragmites lowers water levels through high evapotranspiration rates resulting in the dewatering of shallow isolated pools.

The dead plant stalks are resistant to decay and overtime a thick layer of dead plant material can build up and fill in open ponds.

Changes in Nutrient Cycling:

Phragmites does not break down as easily as native plant species and therefore significantly alters nutrient cycling, levels and availability in a system. This species effectively outcompetes native plants for available nutrients and is capable of sending roots downward several metres to obtain required nutrients and water.

Increased Fire Hazards:

The high percentage of dead stalks within a stand are highly combustible especially during the dormant season when conditions are dry.

Economic and Social Impacts:

Phragmites has many negative social and economic impacts. It can impede drainage leading to reduced crop production. It can block sight lines at intersections creating driving hazards. Along infested shorelines it has resulted in reduced property values, reduced recreational opportunities and reduced aesthetic enjoyment.

Invasive Phragmites australis has no natural controls to keep it in check and therefore human intervention is required. Suitable control options are site specific. Small, pioneer populations can be controlled using one or more mechanical methods. Larger, well established infestations require herbicide treatment undertaken by licensed professionals. The herbicide approved for this application is glyphosate based (see reference list for more information). Control efficacy is increased when combined with cutting, rolling and burning. A quick response to dealing with Phragmites substantially lowers control expenditures and effort.

Ongoing Phragmites Control Projects in the Long Point Area:

  • Long Point Crown Marsh
  • Turkey Point Marsh
  • The Bayou Club
  • Big Creek National Wildlife Area
  • Long Point Tip
  • Lee Brown Marsh
  • Norfolk County Roadside Ditches
  • Turkey Point Provincial Park/Ordnance Beach
  • Long Point Company
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