Invasive Phragmites, along with other invasive plants and species, are a growing environmental and economic threat to Ontario. The ecological effects of invasive plants are often irreversible and, once established, they are extremely difficult to control, and rarely become eradicated. According to Pimental et al. (1999), invasive species in the United States cause economic and environmental damages totalling over 138 billion per year, with agricultural weed control and crop losses totalling approximately 34 billion per year. Exact figures for the total economic and environmental damages are not available for Canada.
Invasive species can spread to new areas when contaminated mud, gravel, water, soil and plant material are unknowingly moved by natural pathways, such as wind and water, and man-made pathways such as the horticultural trade, hiking, boating, fishing and through the use of different kinds of equipment.
It is much more costly to control invasive species, such as Phragmites, after their establishment and spread than it is to prevent their spread. The spread of Phragmites can be minimized significantly through things like gardening with non-invasive and native plants, following the idea of “Look Before You Leave”, and cleaning equipment before moving to a new site.
Learn more on how to prevent the spread of invasive species, including Phragmites, by following the links above.