Common Reed

Phragmites australis

Management Options

Mechanical/Physical Control Options

Common reed can be cut and the rhizomes can be dug up but physical control is difficult because it can reestablish from seed or remaining rhizomes. Frequent mowing is sometimes effective on control of common reed.

Biological Control Options

There is no known biological control for common reed, although goats are known to forage on many types of emergent vegetation.

Chemical Control Options

The active ingredient that has been most successful in treating common reed include glyphosate (G), imazamox (G), and imazapyr (E). E = excellent, G = good

Rodeo, Aquamaster, Eraser AQ, Touchdown Pro, and AquaNeat are liquid glyphosate formulations and have been effective on common reed. These are broad spectrum, systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides. An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the glyphosate solution for good results.

Clearcast is a liquid imazamox formulation. It is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide. Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action. Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides. An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) is needed for application.

Habitat contains the active ingredient, imazapyr, which inhibits the plant enzyme AHAS (acetohydroxyaced synthase). Habitat is a systemic herbicide that is effective on post-emergent floating and emergent aquatic vegetation. Imazapyr is effective at low-volume rates and does not contain heavy metals, organochlorides or phosphates, making it safe to humans and livestock. Habitat requires the use of a spray adjuvant when applying on post-emergent vegetation.

One danger with any chemical control method is the chance of an oxygen depletion after the treatment caused by the decomposition of the dead plant material. Oxygen depletions can kill fish in the pond. If the pond is heavily infested with weeds it may be possible (depending on the herbicide chosen) to treat the pond in sections and let each section decompose for about two weeks before treating another section. Aeration, particularly at night, for several days after treatment may help control the oxygen depletion.

One common problem in using aquatic herbicides is determining area and/or volume of the pond or area to be treated. To assist you with these determinations see SRAC #103 Calculating Area and Volume of Ponds and Tanks.

Many aquatically registered herbicides have water use restrictions (See General Water Use Restrictions).

To see the labels for these products click on the name. Always read and follow all label directions. Check label for specific water use restrictions.

Cultivation Options

Common reed can be propagated by transplanting the rhizomes during late winter. Common reed will do best in moist soils above permanent water but can be an aggressive invader of