Giant reed is an invasive plant of riparian habitats throughout California and the United States. Glyphosate is approved for controlling giant reed in California. Sources indicate that 1.5% to 5% glyphosate solutions are effective at controlling giant reed. There is little published data on the relative efficacy of different concentrations of glyphosate which can be used to select an appropriate application regime for California habitats. We conducted two field experiments to test the hypothesis that glyphosate concentrations of 1.5%, 3%, and 5% applied as foliar sprays were equally effective at killing giant reed plants. Leaf chlorophyll content and the proportion of living stems declined significantly following treatment with 1.5% or greater solutions of glyphosate. New stems were observed the spring following treatment for plants treated with 1.5% glyphosate. No new stems were observed for plants treated with either 3% or 5% glyphosate. A treatment that included “bending and breaking” stems prior to treatment with 5% glyphosate provided control similar to 5% glyphosate alone. There was no there evidence that plants sprayed with only a mixture of the surfactant (Agridex), water, and a marking dye were affected beyond the short-term. These results indicate that 3% or 5% foliar applications with glyphosate were the most effective and consistent treatments for killing giant reed with a single late-season application. This result is especially important if the goal of the treatment program is to minimize the number of treatments, thus reducing labor costs and minimizing impacts on sensitive habitats by reducing the number of site visits.
Nomenclature: Giant reed, Arundo donax L. ABKDO.