Phragmites (Phragmites australis) continues to invade the Eastern Shore and other parts of Maryland at an alarming rate. Not only does it grow so tall that it blocks the shoreline view, more importantly, it grows so thick it can destroy a wetland’s fragile ecosystem by choking out the beneficial and native wetland plants, becoming a monoculture with practically no wildlife habitat value.
Also known as “common reed,” Phragmites is an invasive plant that thrives in either fresh or brackish wetland areas. It spreads rapidly through its rhizome system and can easily take over an entire wetland in a matter of a few years. Because it is so dense, phragmites will choke out the beneficial wetland plants and therefore provides little habitat value for wildlife.
CWH initiated its Phragmites Control program to slow the rapid spread of this invasive wetland plant and restore diverse wetland ecosystems. A 5-year research study by CWH documented that once a pure stand of phragmites was eliminated, 61 different species of plants emerged from the existing wetland seedbed.
CWH’s licensed technicians use a glyphosate (Rodeo or Aqua Neat) solution that, when applied at a critical time period in the fall, kills the phragmites but not the other beneficial native wetland plants.
In the fall of 2011, CWH sprayed 142 properties in Talbot, Queen Anne’s, Kent, Dorchester and Anne Arundel counties to improve the biodiversity of more than 59 acres of wetlands.
Phragmites will never disappear from Maryland’s shoreline, but by controlling its spread, wetlands can be saved from further destruction.
The 2012 deadline for submitting an application to CWH for Phragmites spraying is July 20, 2012. Please call (410) 822-5100, or e-mail us at email@example.com for an application packet.