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January 10, 2023

Helping a Local Community Control and Invasive Species

Phragmites australis dying from bioherbicide application
Characteristic impact of bioherbicide on Phragmites leaf tissue. Browning/yellowing of leaf tissues and dark spots formation indicate cellular death and microbial community bloom (i.e., mold), respectively. Photo credit: USGS

Biologist Spenser Widin (GLSC, Ann Arbor, Michigan) presented preliminary results of a summer Phragmites bioherbicide control experiment conducted at North Hydro Park in Ypsilanti, Michigan, to the Ypsilanti Township Park Commission on December 5, 2022. Results from this experiment demonstrate the initial effectiveness of the bioherbicide in reducing aboveground growth of Phragmites. GLSC researchers are actively working with partners at Rutgers University to improve the bioherbicide formulation with additional testing planned for summer 2023. This work is part of the larger research program led by Research Ecologist Dr. Kurt Kowalski (GLSC, Ann Arbor, Michigan) and supports the priorities identified by the Phragmites Symbiosis Collaborative, a team of scientists developing innovative approaches to Phragmites management by manipulating the natural interactions between Phragmites and its microbial symbionts.

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