Proliferation of invasive cattails (for example, Typha x glauca, T. angustifolia) is a concern of wetland managers across the country, and numerous methods have been used to control the spatial extent and density of the plant. To date, however, no single method has proven widely or consistently effective at reducing the long-term growth and spread of these species. We performed a multi-refuge study to evaluate the relative effects of growing-season and dormant-season prescribed burns on cattail production and to gain insight on variables such as soil moisture, groundwater, and biomass that affect the efficacy of burning as a control method. Results indicate total cattail cover recovers to pre-burn levels within 1 year regardless of whether the controlled burn was implemented during the growing season or dormant season. Growing-season burns, however, did result in lower aboveground and belowground cattail biomass 1-year post-burn, whereas no significant change in biomass was detected for dormant-season burns. Study results support the premise that burns implemented during the growing season should have a greater effect on nutrient reserves and cattail re-growth. Results from this and other studies suggest long-term research that incorporates multiple management strategies will be required to evaluate the potential of prescribed burning as a method to control cattail.
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USGS Numbered Series
A multi-refuge study to evaluate the effectiveness of growing-season and dormant-season burns to control cattail