Fight the Phrag

Invasive species

Managing Invasive Species

It might look like a harmless grass blowing in the wind by the roadside, but invasive phragmites is a real threat that has been damaging ecosystems in Ontario for decades.

Invasive phragmites, also known as the common reed, is a perennial grass that spreads aggressively by both seed and underground roots, known as rhizomes. Tall with woody stems and clusters of flowers, phragmites secretes toxins into the soil that can harm other plants, and forms colonies that can take over garden beds and destroy surrounding habitats.

Today, invasive phragmites can be found across much of the rural watershed in marshes, wetlands and ditches along roadways.

Here are a few things you can do to help control its spread:

  • Learn to identify it. The ability to spot this common grass is the first step in addressing the problem.  Check out this helpful fact sheet for more information.
  • Don’t plant or use it. Avoid planting phragmites or using it in fall decorations. In Ontario, it’s illegal to import, deposit, release, grow, buy, sell, lease or trade invasive phragmites.
  • Avoid carrying it with you. When leaving an area where phragmites is growing, clean your clothes, shoes, pets, equipment and/or tools to avoid transferring seeds to new areas.
  • Don’t compost it. Both seeds and rhizomes can survive and grow in compost.
  • Contact an expert. CVC’s Landowner Action Fund has dedicated funding for invasive species control. Contact us for a free property assessment to determine if phragmites is present on your property. You can also check out our contractor list for licensed herbicide applicators in your area.

Fighting phragmites might seem like a daunting task, but together, we can help control its spread and give native plants a chance to thrive.

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