By Kevin Scheiwiller
Goals of Project:
- Find a technique that can be used to sustainably rebuild streamside marsh, sedge meadow, and seeps in areas formerly dominated by wetland invasives through small trial areas (<1 acre)
- If trial plots appear effective, then use this technique on a larger scale (≥ 3 acres) to reclaim wetlands lost to Reed Canary Grass, Cattails, and Phragmites
Measures of success:
Success is defined as the elimination or heavy reduction (>95%) of wetland invasives, with establishment of a diverse matrix of native sedge meadow species.
Areas with heavy infestations are herbicided using a 3% glyphosate mixture in the Fall (September through November) of the year prior to planting. Project area is burned in the dormant season after initial herbicide application to remove thatch and flush seed bank. Area is then sprayed a second time with the same mixture in April.
After site prep, areas are planted during volunteer workdays using the 10 warrior sedges (List Below) based on the perceived moisture gradient of the site. Each plug is planted on 2-3 foot centers, tighter if budget allows.
In the Fall (November) areas are then seeded with custom “Sedge Meadow” and “Marsh” seed mixes. All mixes purposely keep native grass species out. This allows for the follow up of the site with a grass specific herbicide.
Two to Five years after original planting, project areas are spot treated for remerging wetland invasives. Reed Canary Grass is sprayed with a 1% Clethodim Solution during Mid-April through May. As no native grasses are present, this allows for quick application with fairly effective results (see GRN post about Clethodim vs. Glyphosate). Cattail and Phragmites are hand wicked in July and August using a 20% Glyphosate solution.
Plantings over the last 5 years are found on the following map and table. 2017-2020 are considered smaller trial plots. 2021 is considered a larger planting as outline in the Goals section.
|Planting||Size of Area (ac)||Approx. plugs installed*||Overseeded in:||Approx. total amount of seed since planting (lbs)**|
|2017||0.35||–||2018, 2019, 2020||28.75|
|2018||0.18||2,166||2018, 2019, 2020||28.75|
|2019||0.38||1,900||2019, 2020, 2021||19.15|
and volunteer propagated added to areas as well
**seed weights include some amount of chaff, not PLS
Topics to be covered during Grassland Restoration Network Workshop
- Visiting each “stage” of a planting from newly planted to 5+ years establishment
- Successes and challenges presented by each planting area
- Evaluation of the technique and discussion on the practicality of using it on a large scale
- Future uses, Erosion Control, and use on incised creeks
- Carex lacustris
- Carex aquatilis
- Carex utriculate
- Carex stricta
- Carex sartwellii
- Carex trichocarpa
- Carex atherodes
- Carex emoryi
- Driest of the wet
- Carex buxbaumii
Seed Mixes Used in 2021, most other years feature a similar mix
|Anemone canadensis||Meadow Anemone|
|Angelica atropurpurea||Great Angelica|
|Arnoglossum plantagineum||Prairie Indian Plantain|
|Asclepias incarnata||Swamp Milkweed|
|Calamagrostis canadensis||Blue Joint Grass|
|Carex “Wetland”||Misc. Wetland Sedges|
|Carex hystericina||Porcupine Sedge|
|Carex vulpinoidea||Brown Fox Sedge|
|Chelone glabara||White Turtlehead|
|Eupatorium perfoliatum||Common Boneset|
|Euthamia graminifolia||Smooth Grass-Leaved Goldenrod|
|Eutrochium maculatum||Spotted Joe Pye Weed|
|Hasteola suaveolens||Sweet Indian Plantain|
|Helianthus occidentalis||Western Sunflower|
|Hypericum ascyron||Great St. John’s Wort|
|Liatris spicata||Marsh Blazing Star|
|Lobelia cardinalis||Cardinal Flower|
|Lobelia siphilitica||Great Blue Lobelia|
|Lycopus americanus||Common Water Horehound|
|Lysimachia quadriflora||Narrow-Leaved Loosestrife|
|Lythrum alatum||Winged Loosestrife|
|Oligoneuron riddellii||Riddell’s Goldenrod|
|Pedicularis lanceolata||Fen Betony|
|Pycnanthemum pilosum||Hairy Mountain Mint|
|Pycnanthemum virginianum||Common Mountain Mint|
|Rumex orbiculatus||Great Water Dock|
|Rumex verticillatus||Riverbank Dock|
|Schoenoplectus pungens||Chairmakers Rush|
|Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani||Great Bulrush|
|Scirpus atrovirens||Dark Green Bulrush|
|Scirpus cyperinus||Wool Grass|
|Scutellaria lateriflora||Mad-Dog Skullcap|
|Spartina pectinata||Prairie Cord Grass|
|Symphyotrichum puniceum||Bristly Aster|
|Thalictrum dasycarpum||Purple Meadow Rue|
|Verbena hastata||Blue Vervain|
|Vernonia fasciculata||Common Ironweed|
|Acorus americanus||Sweet Flag|
|Alisma subcordatum||Common Water Plantain|
|Bidens cernua||Nodding Bur Marigold|
|Bidens trichosperma||Tall Swamp Marigold|
|Boehmeria cylindrica||Swamp False Nettle|
|Juncus effusus||Soft Rush|
|Mentha canadensis||Wild Mint|
|Persicaria hydropiperoides||Mild Water Pepper|
|Sagittaria latifolia||Common Arrowhead|
|Scirpus microcarpus||Reddish Bulrush|
|Scutellaria galericulata||Marsh Skullcap|
|Sium suave||Water Parsnip|
|Solidago patula||Swamp Goldenrod|
Thanks for this, its so interesting and useful. Before and after is amazing! Nice work!
NICE. Thank You Bill.
Dana Sievertson Commissioner – Prospect Heights Natural Resources Commission 847.910.5257
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Great work Kevin! Thanks for sharing the tables. I’d love to know why the sites were overseeded for 3 consecutive years as opposed to seeding more heavily for one or two years. Maybe you’ll answer that at the GRN Workshop.
Handwicking twenty percent active ingredient glyphosate onto cattails and phragmites is too high. This is approaching the concentration I apply to cut stumps or frills on buckthorn. Even if the 20 percent was a volume-to-volume dilution for ~50 percent glyphosate the resulting concentration would be more than is necessary for treating cattails.
I have done trials to determine the minimum concentration to control crown vetch. At progressively higher concentrations of glyphosate, progressively less vegetation grew in the plots the next year. This included not only less crown vetch invading from the edges of the plot. There was also less Oenothera biennis establishing from seed and a smaller mass of all perennial vegetation which was not the target of the herbicide application. Only now, after a few years is the vegetation in the higher concentration plots beginning to recover to the point that these plots are less noticeable from surrounding areas.
I don’t know the concentration that is the minimum concentration required for treating cattails or phragmites at any given location. Only conducting trials and monitoring results of past applications will determine the minimum concentration that is effective. However, twenty percent active ingredient is probably double what is necessary for controlling phragmites if the Illinois Vegetation Management Guidelines are accurate and about five times the concentration needed to control cattails according to Nathan Herbert’s post on this blog.
I agree, concentrations are higher than necessary. Also the Clethodim label says that 1/2% is to be used for spot spraying not 1%. It’s what I’ve been using for about 10 years with success up to and including early flowering RCG.
Thanks for comments on herbicide mix concentrates to use. We want to use less herbicide when we can to get the job done consistendly.
Typically, when someone says they are using 1% solution of a herbicide they mean they are using 1% by volume of the herbicide they have. This is rather than measuring the percent active ingredient. So 1% Roundup is mixed with about 99% water, with perhaps an extra bit of surfactant, and a bit of colorant.
I have heard of Clethodim grass herbicide being applied at half to 1.5 percent depending on the size of the reed canary grass. Hand wicking, herbicide mix applied with a cotton glove over a rubber glove, yields various amounts of solution adhering on the foliage and so people typically have a pretty high percent herbicide in their mix. Hope this helps.
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