- GBF will be holding a training workshop in April 2017 to review Mapping, Identification, Cutting and Lessons Learned. Fact sheet to be distributed.
- Current online resources include: 5 min video and 5 tips for identifying invasive Phragmites
Create a Community Group
- Finding Others: Either contact the Georgian Bay Association, who have a Phragmites Committee Members List or check this page of Community Groups that have listed with GBF. Also, please contact Communications to promote your group so that others can find you.
- Talking to your neighbours, asking to speak at community functions or determining if GBF is available to do so, leaving literature with neighbours are among some key ways to help get a group together. GBF will provide community leaders with 25 Phragmites Management handouts to distribute as quantities last. Please contact Communications with your request.
- Online resources include: Learn about EDDMaps Ontario (mapping tool best used on your smartphone, although you can access with laptop).
- When stands are identified, figure out the landowner and contact them. If the landowner is not familiar with Phragmites, give them published information from GBF and GBA and explain the issue. Ask them if they would be:
- i) Willing to remove it themselves – if so, ensure they have proper tools and are aware of the correct cutting and disposal methods OR ii) Open to having volunteers organize a removal day on their property
- If the landowner is willing, take photos of the stand, collect details for EDDMaps Ontario requirements and submit the report to EDDMaps. (above)
EddMapS Ontario Smartphone App for Mapping Invasives
Planning and Disposal
- Plan the date for your volunteers - Timing for the cut should be Mid-July to Mid-August (before seeds are ready to disperse) . Timing of the cuts is important to reduce your labour. If the plants are cut at the right time, it will reduce the amount of times you will need to cut in the same location. You want to cut the Phragmites just before it flowers. At that time, more of the plant’s energy is devoted to flowering and less to the root system. So we are cutting at a time where the roots are weaker and therefore have less of a chance to survive when the stalks are removed.
- Waivers and insurance - Volunteers should sign a waiver to prevent misunderstandings in the unlikely event of injury during the removal or mapping process. Also, if boats are being utilized, check that there is appropriate insurance. Here are some safety tips to understand and check off. Read safety tips.
- Estimate People Resources - To cut a stand that is about 4 x 4 metre stand (or 12 x 12 feet stand) you probably need about 4 adults or equivalent multiples in children and teenagers – surprisingly great at helping when freed from devices. Once you’ve recruited your friends, neighbours, and family - it could take about 2 hours to do the cut. It really depends on the equipment you have (assumes hand cutters) and the stand density (assume pretty dense).
- GBF will sign for volunteer hours for Ontario students. Contact us to work out the details at email@example.com
- Prioritize Phragmites stands removals. Small stands should be prioritized over larger stands. It is more important to cut small stands before they get established and grow larger. Also, these steps assume invasive Phragmites in water. If there are stands on beaches, you will require a sharp spade. If it is on dry land with harder substrates and big stands, you may have to consider different methods and should contact GBF to point you to other methods of management.
- Disposal. This is tricky, because municipalities in Georgian Bay do not have official disposal sites (locations dedicated for invasive plant quarantine). However, talk to your municipality about Phragmites disposal to organize a location where Phragmites can be taken and disposed of properly. Composting is not recommended due to the high probability that this will spread plant, and the plants do not degenerate quickly. GBF and GBA will be in contact with local municipalities to strive for better solutions.
If the municipality can’t help you, you will need to work with your group to come up with a plan. Steps:
- 1. Drying - critical
a. Identify a place to spread the Phragmites out to dry on tarps. An open field or paved area is best. That way if any roots, rhizomes, stolons, or seeds happen to have escaped into the debris by remote chance – they are easily identified next year if they are able to root. It is best to place lengthwise in the same direction - as it is easier to pack back up in brown bags for transport if needed. A drying space close to the cutting location is ideal for the cut stalks. We also advocate wrapping the bundles of stalks in twine to dry out if there is concern around wind, and blowing away.
b. Or apply thick plastic over piled materials to kill still alive plants
c. A third option that takes months, is to leave them in bags with the top open in a dry storage space until they are dry.
- 2. Dried material disposal. Options:
a. Either burn (at your own risk), in small batches over time if permitted by by-laws. Consider applying for a burn permit for a large amount.
b. Bury. This should be low risk as stalks are dried and without seedheads or rhizomes and roots.
c. Leave as debris piles in a designated spot (not in the water or near it )
Tools and Identifying Roles
1. Dress: Be dressed properly for wading into the water and stepping on rough grounds in and out of water. For instance the stubs from cut Phrag can be quite sharp and not easy to see underwater. Good, strong footwear is essential and gloves, like garden gloves. Hip Waders are optimal. Remember sunscreen, protective eyewear if using power tools, or in the sun, hats, and bug spray. Bring a camera to record the community event and for before and after photos. It will inspire others. Ensure that people have signed the waivers. Here are some safety tips to understand and check off. Read more.
2(a) Cutting Sparse/smaller stands - Each cutter will need hand- held cutters or shears, and gloves.*
2b) Medium to dense stands - Multiple hand-held cutters or GBF has also found this hand held tool to be useful for medium stands where the stalks or thatch is quite dense "Camillus Carnivore Maxx Machete" It is about about $40 - understanding that you undertake all necessary caution (Picture 2) Other suggestions from Phragbuster Sharon Cormier for medium to dense stands are the tools in pictures 4 and 5.*
2(c) Large Dense stands - If the stand is large – consider a STIHL Kombi System KM 130R (now 131R), equipped with a reciprocating power scythe FH-KM 135° attachment. Costs are about $600 to $800. It is a four-stroke gas engine. Soybean oil can be used to lubricate the cutters. Exercise with appropriate safety. Picture 3. Another smaller less expensive option is KM 56 RC-E Lightweight KombiEngine with HL - KM Hedge Trimmer 135° attachment.
- GBF has a STIHL.* Depending on availability, this may be an option to use. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* All tools are used at your own risk. Proper use of tools is not the responsibility of Georgian Bay Forever, or those on our website who have recommended it as a tool to for Phragmites removal. Each person is responsible for their own safety, and responsible for any minors when conducting Phragmites cuts or mapping.
The Cut/How to Cut
- 1. Take a before photo
2. Begin at the edge of the stand and work your way in. Remember that you are 'selectively' cutting. To the best of your ability, leave native plants where they are.
3. Seed heads - You want to take the stalk and see if it has a seed head. If it does – begin by carefully removing the seed head. They can hold up to 2000 seeds. Put them in a yard bag right away for burning if permitted or consider a black plastic garbage bag. Put the black plastic garbage bag in the sun until the seeds are so soupy and degraded from the heat, that they can thrown out in regular waste.
4. If there is no seed head, reach down under the water and cut the stalk just above the sediment or ground. You’ll be leaving a nasty sharp stub underwater – and that’s okay –that’s why you have proper underwater shoes. Note: The effectiveness of the cut is much improved, by cutting as close as you can to the underwater sediment level and not just at the water level.
5. Let the cutting begin! Remember to designate some of your crew to collect the Phrag from the water and transport it to your storage area.
6. Remember to properly dispose of the stalks, which is covered in Planning.
7. Clean your equipment and brush your clothing/and or change before you leave the site.
8. Take an after photo
What about beaches and soft substrates? (not in water)
Next Year, Repeat Process – Commitment
- Make sure you check the site the following year – as it may require another cut.
- Don’t get discouraged as eradication can take two to three cuts! Occasionally more.
- Continue to be vigilant and map any new sightings and plan accordingly. It is much easier to deal with Phragmites at the early stages.
- Share your success with GBF at email@example.com, your community, and others! You are helping to restore wetlands.
Before the community cut
Almost finished the community cut