Common reed, also known by its scientific name Phragmites, is a native plant that aggressively invades productive marshlands. Other grasses, such as smooth cordgrass and salt hay, cannot survive among its tall stalks and dense roots.
Phragmites replaces healthy salt marsh plants when man-made channels, roads, bridges, and construction restrict the tides and lower the water table. The quality of wildlife habitat is also reduced by limited diversity, food sources, and open water space. Eradicating Phragmites requires several applications of herbicides and burning, or water level management.
While the over-abundance of the Phragmites is often a reflection of human disturbance, it is also a reminder of the delicate balance in nature.