Hartland Township officials were presented with some expert advice on potential plans for mitigating an invasive plant species.

A non-native species of phragmities has been migrating through parts of Michigan, Livingston County, and Hartland Township. Phragmities is a reed that can grow roughly 8-feet or higher, taking over shallow wetlands and choking out natural plant and wildlife. Multiple acres of Spranger Field and, recently, portions of Settler’s Park in Hartland Township have been identified as having the weed.

The Board of Trustees, with the help of Public Works Director Bob West, have been investigating methods for reducing their presence since spring. At a meeting in September, they were presented with options with cutting the weed, leaving them be, or using chemicals. Trustees were interested in a 4th option, burning them. At Tuesday’s meeting, David Mindell of Plantwise was there to share his experience in fighting the plant in Michigan. Mindell, who has seen success fighting phragmities in areas like West Bloomfield, said what he recommends is a chemical application in the fall, followed by burning the leftover thatch in winter. He informed the Board that this will take care of 90-95% of the weeds, which can never be fully eliminated.

Mindell said that with this technique, there is a strong possibility of native plants recovering on their own, without needing to plant for them. Trustee Glenn Harper said he was 100% against using chemicals because of safety concerns for the people applying it, the schools, and the water. Mindell said that the chemical had a short lifespan of 60 days and became inactive in water. He estimated to treat Spranger Park would cost roughly $1,100 for the chemical, and $2,300 for the burn.
Township Manager James Wickman said they would put together some costs and come back at a future meeting to see what the board wanted to spend. (Image- Google) (MK)