(Phragmites australis)

Total Control Pest

Phragmites is a tall, clump-forming, perennial grass that grows from 1–4 metres high and forms dense stands. Stems are semi-woody and 6–10 millimetres in diameter. Seed heads are large and conspicuous, occurring from summer through to winter. Dispersal and establishment occurs by seed and rhizomes. The plant is usually found adjacent to, or in, water and encroaches into pasture. Cattle will graze the plant.

Reasons for the Strategy

Phragmites has the potential to spread and block waterways, causing drainage problems. It poses a severe risk to waterways in the Tasman-The tall long leaves of grass or phragmites. Nelson region and is very difficult to control.

Phragmites is assessed at “1” on the infestation curve. There is only one known site 500 metres south of Murchison; it is proving exceedingly difficult to eradicate. The low incidence of Phragmites in the Tasman-Nelson region, extensive areas of suitable habitat, and the potential for it to cause significant adverse effects, mean the benefits of total control far outweigh the costs.


To contribute to the eradication of Phragmites by ensuring that the known site in the Tasman-Nelson region is inspected annually and all live plants are destroyed during the term of the Strategy.

Alternative Measures

The alternative option of “do nothing” or relying on voluntary control will not achieve the objective of eradication, and will result in significant additional costs to the community with respect to lost production and natural values and the increased cost of control in the future.

Strategy Rule for Phragmites

The Management Agency shall destroy all adult and juvenile forms of Phragmites on land that they occupy. A breach of Strategy Rule 4.10.5 is an offence under Section 154(r) of the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Biosecurity Act Requirement

No person shall knowingly sell, propagate, breed, release, or commercially display Phragmites, under Sections 52 and 53 of the Act.