Ammophila arenaria (L.) Link Marram Grass
Hort.Berol. 1:105 (1827)

Conservation Code: Not threatened
Naturalised Status: Alien to Western Australia
Name Status: Current

Brief Description
Grazyna Paczkowska, Thursday 14 October 1993

Rhizomatous, perennial, grass-like or herb, 0.4-0.7(-1) m high. Fl. green, Oct to Dec or Jan. Sand. Sand dunes.

Distribution

Beard’s Provinces: South-West Province.

IBRA Regions: Esperance Plains.

IBRA Subregions: Fitzgerald.

Local Government Areas (LGAs): Jerramungup.

Management Notes (for the Swan NRM Region)
Kate Brown and Karen Bettink, Thursday 21 December 2017

Alternative Names. European beachgrass.

General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, rhizomatous. Reproduction. Primarily by vertical and horizontal rhizomes, occasionally by seed. Dispersal. Water, wind, mammals. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Time to first flowering. 2 years. Seedbank persistence. Short (rarely sets seed). Fire response. Resprouts, stimulates vigorous regrowth.

Notes. Rapidly invades coastal foredunes. Highly adapted to sand accretion, with burial promoting leaf elongation and development of vertical rhizomes from axillary buds. Able to trap sand and build dunes at rates that exceed the threshold tolerance of local native species. Out-competes native vegetation and interferes with the natural dynamics of dune systems, including changing topography, adversely affecting long term development of coastal barriers, inhibits transgressive dune development, increases steepness of slopes and restricts movement of sand from beach to interior dunes. Also disrupts structure and reduces diversity of dunal arthropod communities. Harbours symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria within stems and rhizomes that may contribute to its proliferation on nutrient-poor sand. Seed set, viablility and survival is low, however viablity of buds remains high following submergence in seawater, giving the potential for long-distance vegetative dispersal to other beaches.

Additional information. Origin. British Isles, Europe. History of use/introduction. Dune stabilisation, erosion control.

Suggested method of management and control. Dig out small infestations. Alternatively spray with 1% glyphosate + penetrant. Grass selective herbicides are less effective. Requires ongoing manual removal and/or treatment of regrowth. Fire may provide an effective window for control, as it removes thatch and stimulates regrowth, creating ideal conditions for effective herbicide uptake. Consider staggering removal to manage erosion and allow native species to re-establish. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.

Management Calendar

Calendar Type Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Comments
Active Growth                 Y Y Y    
Flowering                 Y Y Y Y  
Fruiting                   U U    
Optimum Treatment     O O O       Y Y Y    

Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.

 

References

  • Aptekar, R. & Rejmanek, M. (2000) The effect of sea-water submergence on rhizome bud viablity of the introduced Ammophila arenaria and the native Leymus mollis in California. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 6: 107-111.
  • Blood, K. (2001) Environmental weeds: a field guide for SE Australia. C.H. Jerram and Associates, Melbourne.
  • Brown, K. & Brooks, K. (2002) Bushland Weeds: A Practical Guide to their Management. Environmental Weeds Action Network, Greenwood.
  • Dalton, D.A., Kramer, S., Azios, N., Fusaro, S., Cahill, E. & Kennedy, C. (2004) Endophytic nitrogen fixation in dune grasses (Ammophila arenaria and Elymus mollis) from Oregon. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 49: 469-479.
  • Hilton, M., Duncan, M. & Jul, A. (2005) Processes of Ammophila arenaria (Marram Grass) invasion and indigenous species displacement, Stewart Island, New Zealand. Journal of Coastal Research, 21 (1).
  • Hilton, M., Harvey, N., Hart, A., James, K. & Arbuckle, C. (2006) The impact of exotic dune grass species on foredune development in Australia and New Zealand: a case study of Ammophila arenaria and Thinopyrum junceiforme. Australian Geographer, 37 (3): 313-334.
  • Hussey, B.M.J., Keighery, G.J., Dodd, J., Lloyd, S.G. & Cousens, R.D. (2007) Western Weeds. A guide to the weeds of Western Australia. 2nd Edition. The Plant Protection Society of Western Australia, Victoria Park.
  • Hyland, T. & P. Holloran (2005) Controlling European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) using prescribed burns and herbicide. In California Invasive Plant Council Symposium 2005. Chico, CA.
  • Moore, P. & Davis, A. (2004) Marram grass Ammophila arenaria removal and dune restoration to enhance nesting habitat of Chatham Island oystercacther Haematopus chathamensis, Chatham Islands, New Zealand. Conservation Evidence, 1: 8-9.
  • NatureServe (2009) NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application] Ammophila arenaria - (L.) Link. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia URL: http://www.natureserve.org/explorer - Accessed August 2009.
  • Pickart, A.J. (1997) Control of European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria) on the west coast of the United States. URL: http://www.cal-ipc.org/symposia/archive/pdf/1997_symposium_proceedings1934.pdf California Exotic Pest Plants Council 1997 Symposium Proceedings.
  • Russo, M., Pickart, A., Morse, L. & Young, R. (1988) Element stewardship abstract for Ammophila arenaria, European Beachgrass. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, USA. URL: http://tncweeds.ucdavis.edu/esadocs.html - Accessed December 2007.
  • Seabloom, E.W. & Wiedemann, A.M. (1994) Distribution and effects of Ammophila breviligulata Fern. (American beachgrass) on the foredunes of the Washington Coast. Journal of Coastal Research, 10 (1): 178-188.
  • Slobodchikoff, C.N. & Doyen, J.T. (1977) Effects of Ammophila arenaria on sand dune arthropod communities. Ecology, 58: 1171-1175.

Project information and acknowledgements