Common Reed: The defence.


Over here in the UK we have a different outlook towards Common Reed (Native in UK) than you guys do in the North America. One or two of my greenkeeping friends and I have been trying to introduce common reed onto their golf courses as it can provide valuable habitat for the reed warbler, water rail and indeed most wading birds. I agree that it can become a problem if left to nature but isn’t that what we ecologically minded greenkeepers are here for? Guardians and managers of the land we have borrowed?

Plate one shows a reed bed adjacent to a dyke (open waterway).

Reed (Phragmites australis) filtration systems have been involved in heavy industry’s for decades but golf courses are just beginning to realize their potential to cleanse wash down area, dyke and clubhouse waste water. I believe the filtered water produced through phytoremediation (process of plants uptake of pesticides, fungicides etc…) can then be used again via irrigation onto tees or fairways. Here on the North West coast of England it never seems to stop raining so there is rarely a shortage of water. However, the South East seems to be having a permanent drought period so wouldn’t it make sense to conserve water any way possible?

Plate two shows a close-up photograph of a reed bed at work. Note the left hand side of the dyke is managed and the right is not. If it were left to nature then the reed would become problematic i.e. encroaching onto the manicured parts of the golf course.

I know there is a lot more than just planting a few reeds into a dyke involved and the initial costs can run into thousands of pounds, but I am just arguing that these plants can, if managed correctly, produce a valuable habitat, environmentally sound and an aesthetic addition to any golf course.

Visit this link for more information on Reed Bed Conservation in London.

For more information about Phyto/Bio-remediation techniques used on golf courses check out the links below:

James Hutchinson.