Archive for the 'Arundo Donax' Category

Managing Giant Reed in the Texas Hill Country

Friday, May 20th, 2016
Arundo, photo courtesy https://www.inaturalist.org, kathelma

Arundo, photo courtesy https://www.inaturalist.org, kathelma

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo Donax—or giant reed—may not be public enemy number one, but this non-native grass, which covers an estimated half million acres in Texas, shows up on Parks and Wildlife’s most (un)wanted list.

This is an invasive plant—especially when it gets into areas along rivers and creeks.

Monica McGarrity studies aquatic invasives for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and says thanks to recent increased legislative funding, the agency can expand management efforts of arundo to the Hill Country.

One of the reasons why we’re focusing on the hill country is because these are some of the headwaters areas, they’re really important, for some of our native fishes that are imperiled; including our state fish—the Guadalupe bass. And when it gets into these narrow streams and creeks and headwaters, it can just have some devastating impacts.

Such as bank failure, decreased water quality, and habitat disruption. McGarrity says the plan includes using EPA approved herbicides and revegetating banks with native species.

This project seeks to manage the arundo to minimize impacts on these imperiled fishes, and improve habitat quality and diversity and support these conservation initiatives.

Learn more about Arundo donax at texasinvasives.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Landowners Key to Controlling Giant Reed

Thursday, May 19th, 2016
arundo donax

Arundo donax, Photo by Peggy Greb, USDA website

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo donax, or giant reed, isn’t all bad. In some parts of the world it’s used as a biofuel, and even to make reeds for woodwinds. In Texas, where it covers a half million acres of land, it’s a pest. This non-native cane doesn’t provide food or nesting habitats for wildlife – but outcompetes native plants that do. Plus it disturbs aquatic ecosystems along riparian areas where it grows. TPW works with landowners in affected areas to manage the species.

These are private waters and landowners are able to come in and tell us what problems they’re seeing with the arundo, how it’s affecting them. They’re out there to monitor over time—let us know when they see native plants coming back, or if they see any re-sprouting popping up.

Monica McGarrity, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, says strategies used to manage the pest include: Pull. Kill. Plant. Pull up young plants, use EPA approved herbicides to kill mature plants, and repopulate with native vegetation. It’s worked in the Nueces River Basin.

So we’ve been working in the Nueces River Basin with the NRA for a number of years to manage arundo. And it’s been rather effective. There’s a huge partnership that includes landowners and a variety of techniques to manage the arundo and to replant some native plants. And now we’re able to expand this into the Pedernales Basin and into the Blanco River as well.

Monica McGarrity returns to talk about that tomorrow.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Best Management of Giant Reed

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
arundo donax

Spraying EPA approved herbicide on Arundo donax. Image courtesy of www.mystatesman.com

This is Passport to Texas

Arundo Donax, or giant reed, is an invasive plant found along rivers and creeks. While it spreads through underground rhizomes, it can also multiply when cane fragments travel downstream.

You cut it, you mow it, you get fragments into the creek—each fragment can create a new plant.

This is why mowing or otherwise breaking up the cane is ill-advised. Monica McGarrity who studies aquatic invasive for TPW, says of the methods used to manage giant reed, herbicides are most effective.

We do use herbicides that are labeled for aquatic use. We take extreme care to minimize overspray, and any damage to non-target plant; we just be really selective when we hit the Arundo. And then, that allows the canes to die and remain in place. So, we’re not destabilizing the entire riparian area.

When the canes die, they provide protection for emerging native plants.

So, when you have young, native plants that start to come up, then deer and things are going to come out and munch on them. So these canes kind of create a nursery area to allow them to come back. And so that’s really important. Planting the natives alone [without first using herbicides], they haven’t evolved to compete with this huge, vigorous invader.

Landowners are vital to managing this invasive plant. Find out why on tomorrow’s show.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

How NOT to Manage Giant Reed

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Giant Reed

If corn and bamboo had a baby, it would be Arundo donax, a.k.a. Giant Reed.

This is Passport to Texas

How would you deal with grass that’s gotten out of hand? Mow it? That works for turf grass, but not the invasive non-native grass called Arundo Donax, or giant reed.

It’s very tall—grows up to about 30 feet.

Not only is mowing nearly impossible, but using a machete or anything that breaks this gargantuan grass into pieces is ill-advised, says Monica McGarrity, who studies aquatic invasive for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

The way that this plant reproduces is by the canes—especially when they’re cut—by folks mowing or by nutria eating them. They spread downstream and they re-root and create new plants. It does spread by its rhizomes, but it can travel long distances if you cut it, mow it, and fragments get into the creek. Each fragment can create a new plant.

Its invasive nature is evident along rivers and streams; it outcompetes native plants and disrupts habitat. In addition, it’s a thirsty plant – not good for drought-prone Texas.

It uses a lot of water. It’s been shown to reduce flows, and it can cause a lot of erosion, and that can reduce the water quality in the stream. So, lots of ways that it can have a big impact on the system.

So what is the best way to manage giant reed? Monica McGarrity has the answer on tomorrow’s show.

Learn more about giant reed at texasinvasives.org.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Giant Reed is a Giant Problem in Texas

Monday, May 16th, 2016
Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

Arundo donax, also called Giant Reed.

This is Passport to Texas

Texas has its share of invasive plants and animals, including Arundo Donax, or giant reed; you’ve probably seen it along roadways and river banks.

13— If you see it on roadsides, it’s very tall—grows up to about 30 feet. Has segments, really broad, pointed leaves—huge showy plumes. It can actually be quite pretty. And it looks somewhat like corn.

Giant reed is a non-native grass. Monica McGarrity who studies aquatic invasive for Texas Parks and Wildlife, says its greatest impact occurs when it gets into areas along rivers and creeks.

18—They have these impacts because they’re able to outcompete the native plants and push them aside, displace them. And when we’re talking especially about riverside, riparian areas, along our creeks – diversity of native plants is really important to the wildlife, and for maintaining the overall health of the community.

When giant reed displaces native plant communities, the result is reduced habitat quality.

17— It reduces quality for birds and other wildlife. And then it can start to— over time – have impacts on the stream itself, and reduce the habitat that’s available to the aquatic community, and make it more homogenous, more the same throughout. Rather than having diverse pools and riffles and habitats that they need.

Monica McGarrity returns tomorrow to tell us how not to try and remove this plant from our property.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.