January 17, 2019 at 1:24 p.m.

'Tis the season to access lakeshore invasives

'Tis the season to access lakeshore invasives
'Tis the season to access lakeshore invasives

A comprehensive, multi-year plan of attack to eradicate an invasive weed species in the Chisago Lakes area,  is being put together this winter;  but the Center Lakes Association took some necessary action last weekend  to begin the phragmites offensive.  A couple dozen volunteers showed up on the shoreline near the county Government Center on North Center Lake Saturday morning,  to weed-whack and snip their way through a massive grove of phragmites.

Now is the time when ice allows easy access to the infestations.  

Volunteers were also able to walk to a small island a few hundred feet off-shore and remove the non-native grass from it, before the lake opens up.  Workers were careful to leave native plants for cover for nesting birds.

Phragmites is an invasive non-native grass or reed, that is currently illegal to cultivate. At one time, however, much like buckthorn and purple loosestrife,  it was used in  garden plantings and was even considered useful in the non-mechanical treatment of household wastewater.  

There are ornamental grasses appropriate to use in your landscape, that remain compact and don’t spread uncontrollably  crowding out native species.  Please refer to www.maisrc.umn.edu and search phragmites for horticultural details.

The invasive nature of the Phragmites has created an issue resulting in loss of habitat for aquatic creatures and poor conditions for other beneficial plants. It chokes out access to water and spreads through both runners (rhizomes) and seed.  Private lakeshore owners are encouraged to not allow seed heads to form.  If there are visible seeds, carefully cut off and bag the feathery clusters, or burn them in a small campfire.

Volunteers were making sure the brownish-colored clusters were cleaned up as stalks were cut down in last weekend’s lake association eradication project.  
In spring the new green growth will be easy to spot with tall stalks gone-- and herbicide can be strategically applied.

The phragmites information forum held at the Chisago Lake Township Hall (story Press Nov. 1, 2018) stressed that the combination of physical and chemical controls work best to eliminate the non-native species.  The audience was advised eradication does require more than one growing season.

The Center Lakes Association plans to keep meeting with nearby lake associations to announce a plan by warm-up. The Chisago Lakes Lake Improvement District is involved as well in formulating the plan. LID Director Jerry Spetzman was helping last weekend and thanked the volunteers who brought equipment and pitched in.


 





 







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