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The Division of Fish and Wildlife offers a phragmites control cost-share program to help landowners control larger stands of phragmites. There are steps landowners can take themselves to control smaller areas of phragmites.
Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum systemic herbicide that can be used to control Phragmites. It is available from a number of online suppliers. It may also be found at some local agricultural supply stores.
Since the herbicide needs to work into the underground rhizome and root system to be most effective, the key to using the products involves allowing the Phragmites stem to flower out. In Delaware this is generally mid- to late July, and once flowered out the plant can be treated at least up until the first frost.
If glyphosate is sprayed prior to flowering, it will generally brown up the exposed stem, but since not much product translocates underground, the plant will re-sprout later in the growing season.
If Phragmites is growing in a dry or upland area, the popular herbicide Roundup can be used on it. This needs to be the agricultural formulation of the product that contains 41% glyphosate. Any generic formulations that have the same active ingredient makeup can also be used (RazorPro, RangerPro, FarmWorks 41%, for example).
These companies perform ground applications in Delaware:
Envirotech, Lewes, DE
Weed Pro, Parsonburg, MD
410-742-2973 (Jim Samis)
Restoration Ecological Services, Easton, MD
410-820-7465 (Dave Hardin)
Weeds, Inc., Aston, PA
610-358-9430 (Brian O’Neill)
Solitude Lake Management, Georgetown, DE
For a ground application mix 2 ounces of herbicide per gallon of spray solution (put 2 ounces of herbicide in the sprayer then add water to the one-gallon mark or multiply out based on size of tank). Then apply to the plant on a spray-to-wet basis, meaning get a nice coating over as much of the green stem as possible, but not so heavy as to run off the plant.
Keep in mind that glyphosate is broad-spectrum and has the potential to injure any green plants it comes in contact with. Care must be taken to avoid spray drift. Always read and follow all herbicide label recommendations.
If Phragmites is growing in a wetland area, the aquatic formulations that contain 53.8% glyphosate must be used. Products available the last several years have the names Rodeo, Aqua Star, Aqua Neat, AquaPro, Glypro, Aquamaster, Roundup Custom and Terrestrial, Alligare Glyphosate 5.4, and Eagre.
Mix 2 ounces of herbicide per gallon of spray.
With these products, a nonionic surfactant approved for used with herbicides must also be added at the rate of ¾ ounces per gallon of spray. The surfactants are usually available at local agricultural supply stores.
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