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How to kill bulrush

Updated March 23, 2017

With its microphone-shaped head, bulrush is a familiar sight along the banks of streams and lakes where it thrives in the moist and boggy conditions. It is a highly invasive species that if left unchecked will dominate a landscape with the help of its creeping rhizomes. Many gardeners seek to permanently remove bulrush presence before they are able to choke small ponds and watery areas. Cutting the bulrush above the water line is ineffective as it will grow back thicker and stronger the following year.

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  1. Identify the bulrush. The plants have masses of long leaves attached low on the stems, and feature a tall cylindrical seed-head that can measure up to 12 inches long and contains up to 200,000 seeds.

  2. Check the bulrushes for signs of wildlife. Reed warblers, marsh wrens, blackbirds and mallards are among the fowl that build nests among the plants. If a nest is found, leave the bulrushes around it intact.

  3. Gently grasp the stem of the bulrush and follow it down beneath the level of the water. Cut through the plant's stem with a sharp knife. If possible, also remove the plant's root system.

  4. Wipe the plant's leaves with a herbicide such as glyphosate, if access to the base of the plants is restricted.

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Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Glyphosate

About the Author

Justin Schamotta began writing in 2003. His articles have appeared in "New Internationalist," "Bizarre," "Windsurf Magazine," "Cadogan Travel Guides" and "Juno." He was a deputy editor at Corporate Watch and co-editor of "BULB" magazine. Schamotta has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Plymouth University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism from Cardiff University.

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