Plastic weed matting is better than jute or woodchips for controlling the invasive wetland grass species Phalaris arundinacea, but not Phragmites australis

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Woven polypropylene (plastic) weed matting, jute and eucalypt woodchips were trialled for controlling reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) and common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud.). At two sites, one dominated by reed canary grass and the other by common reed, 50 m x 20 m was mowed and sprayed and ten (10 m x 10 m) plots established, eight of which were fenced. Plots were covered with either plastic weed matting, jute or eucalypt woodchips, or were controls. All plots were planted with native trees and shrubs and understorey plants. Plastic weed matting was the most effective at reducing regrowth of reed canary grass (<5% cover after one year) and promoting the growth of native plantings (>60% cover). Both plastic weed and jute matting were similarly effective at reducing its regrowth (to ~10%), but both matting types were compromised by common reed regrowth. While trees and shrubs grew well across all fenced treatments (~100% survival), understorey plants only established and grew where weed regrowth was controlled. Unfenced unguarded trees and shrubs were virtually eliminated by browsing. Plastic weed matting (combined with other control measures, and protection from browsers where necessary) may provide the best opportunity to control reed canary grass and facilitate wetland restoration.

Cite as:

Greet, J., King, E. and Stewart-Howie, M. (2016). Plastic weed matting is better than jute or woodchips for controlling the invasive wetland grass species Phalaris arundinacea, but not Phragmites australis. Plant Protection Quarterly 31(1), 19-22.


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First published online: July 8, 2016