Phragmites removal.

A patch of Phragmites Common Reed Grass under some willow trees has been mowed down because it is considered an invasive species by NYDEC

Wikipedia states –

Phragmites out-competes native vegetation and lowers the local plant biodiversity. Phragmites forms dense thickets of vegetation that is unsuitable habitat for native fauna. Phragmites displaces native plants species such as wild rice, cattails, and native wetland orchids.[6] Phragmites has a high above ground biomass that blocks light to other plants allowing areas to turn into Phragmites monoculture very quickly. Decomposing Phragmites increases the rate of marsh accretion more rapidly than would occur with native marsh vegetation.[7]  Phragmites out-competes native vegetation and lowers the local plant biodiversity. Phragmites forms dense thickets of vegetation that is unsuitable habitat for native fauna.

New York City Parks say this about Phragmites –  The plants are capable of living anywhere that stagnant or slow moving fresh water is found, including vacant lots, ditches, and along roadways, as well as in marshes and wetlands. Phragmites will take over any area where the soil has been disturbed. This aggressive reed out-competes any pre-existing vegetation, leading to thick, choking stands that can grow to 15 feet in height.


Fortunately, the Oxbow Trail only has one patch of the plant, but growing among a stand of willow saplings. In this photo cutting them down with a weed trimmer has begun.

To enable the area to be mowed in the future, some smaller saplings have been thinned out to accommodate the mower.

Here’s the Willow stand before Ragweed and Phragmites removal
The ‘after’ photo. All reed grass gone.

Author: Mike Caswell

I live in Fairport, and my home is at The Oxbow section of The Erie Canal. I fish, have a pontoon boat and like messing in boats. (see I'm retired and enjoy every day living here with my wife Carol and our two dogs.

2 thoughts on “Phragmites removal.”

  1. Mike,

    Did someone complain about the Willow tree clearing to prompt you to write this? Just wondering why this was brought up when similar clearing was done a few years back. When did Adopt a Trail activities become a matter of public opinion?

    Too bad community service has now become a focal point for still MORE criticism by people in a Village who can’t seem to live up to that’s village name.

    Welcome to Fairport, sadly anything but “Fair”.

    You are a good man Mike, don’t let the naysayers get you down.



    1. Thanks! I wrote it simply because I had not covered this weed before, and over the years, I’ve researched many controlled and invasive species that are actually harmful to the area. We’re winning the war on these plants, however a few people don’t recognise weeds from indigenous plants. The ECNA’s goal is to promote native plants in the area, so if the NYDEC says any plants are controlled, prohibited or invasive, our goal is to remove them.

      I love Locust trees and they are native. Their perfume is intoxicating, but they send out suckers and they need to be ‘managed’. To let them spread uncontrolled is most unwise.


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