Local Team Will Help Property Owners Kill Invasive Phragmites

Property owners: Have you seen 10- to 20-foot-tall grasses with feathery seed heads on or near your land? If so, the Door County Invasive Species Team (DCIST) seeks access to eliminate these alien weeds.

As in previous years, DCIST will work to eliminate tall phragmites grasses from public lands and highway rights-of-way. But this year, DCIST director Samantha Koyen said she’s excited that the organization has received $59,000 in grant money specifically to cover the costs of phragmites elimination on private properties, with permission.

The Sustain Our Great Lakes funding comes from the Forest Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grant for $49,700. 

DCIST is also receiving $75,800 in funding for phragmites control from the county through its American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Koyen said nonnative phragmites have a few attributes that make them unlike other nonnative and invasive grasses.

“An easy identification tool is to look where the leaves meet the stem,” Koyen said in a DCIST newsletter. “Nonnative phragmites will have prominent white hairs at this juncture. The hairs become more prominent when the leaf is pulled away from the stem.” 

In addition to phragmites, the DCIST team continues its battle against three other invasives: teasel, Japanese knotweed and wild parsnip. She said the team has made headway in its war on the four invaders and would like to eliminate several patches and stands of phragmites it has seen on private properties.

The team is also taking aim at a few acres of phragmites-infested land near Tru-Way Road in Southern Door.

Plus, team members will watch for phragmites popping up along the shore as Lake Michigan waters continue to recede from historically high levels. The grasses spread by rhizome (a network of roots) and by seed. Koyen said that wave action has probably fractured some of the older roots, and seeds that were at the water line could germinate.

She said she has renewed hope that DCIST can win the war on phragmites, teasel, wild parsnip and Japanese knotweed.

“We have the funds, and we have the energy to deal with it,” Koyen said.

She encourages property owners who want their land checked for invasive species or who will allow a team to kill phragmites on their property to contact her 920.746.2363 or [email protected].

Garlic-Mustard Pull in Egg Harbor

In addition to being encouraged by the grant funding, Koyen said she’s glad that DCIST and other groups can resume some of the public outreach and activities that had ceased during the pandemic.

The Village of Egg Harbor is inviting members of the public to a garlic-mustard pull starting with a presentation by Koyen on May 17 (May 18 is the rain date), 9 am, along Highway G near the golf course. Garlic mustard is not one of the top-four weeds that DCIST is targeting right now, but Koyen said that because it has a strong foothold countywide, it’s great for the public to learn how to identify and control it.

Learn more about the garlic-mustard pull at

No Mow May

The Village of Egg Harbor and Lawrence University encourage residents to participate in No Mow May: to leave their lawn mowers idle in May in order to give bees and other pollinators access to flowers in the lawn, including dandelions.

Egg Harbor invites residents to register their lawn on the village website, to “commit to leaving at least 75% of their lawn uncut until the fourth week of May, and proudly post a No Mow May sign in their front yard,” according to the village website. The village also encourages people to email photos to [email protected] and download the free iNaturalist app.

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