Robust, bamboo-like rhizomatous, perennial, grass-like or herb, 2-6 m high. Fl. yellow/brown/purple, Apr to Jun. White sand, peaty sandy clay. Along watercourses, moist areas.
General Biology. Growth form. Grass. Life form. Perennial, rhizomatous. Reproduction. Rhizomes and stem nodes, rarely sets fertile seed. Dispersal. Water, particularly flooding events. Photosynthetic Pathway. C3. Seedbank persistence. Rarely sets seed. Fire response. Resprouts. Highly flammable even when green.
Notes. An aggressive competitor with rapid growth rates. Forms thick homogenous stands that can displace native riparian vegetation. Provides poor habitat for terrestrial insects and wildlife. Traps sediments and narrows flood channels leading to erosion and flooding. Highly adapted to extreme fire events and can increase fire intensity. Highly drought tolerant once established. Tolerates a wide range of soil types but responds dramatically to nutrient enrichment. Rhizomes tolerate salt water, can dessicate for several months and then form roots in moist substrate. Stem fragments will regenerate only when the axillary bud is intact. The rate and success of regeneration increases toward summer. Research has shown populations in the United States have limited genetic diversity. Potential biocontrol agents (including a scale insect, wasp, Arundo fly and leafsheath miner) are being investigated for various Arundo donax ecotypes.
Additional information. Origin. Southern Europe/Asia. History of use/introduction. Ornamental, erosion control, building materials, woodwind instruments.
Suggested method of management and control. Growth can be suppressed by repeated mowing or tillage and removal of material from site, however the key to eradicating infestations is killing the root and rhizome mass. Small infestations can be physically controlled ensuring all rhizomes are removed. In larger infestations, use foliar or cut-stump applications of aquatic approved herbicide (Round-up Biactive®). Chemical control is most effective in late summer/early autumn. Careful timing of mechanical control and treatment of cut material can minimise or inhibit sprouting. A single 3% to 5% glyphosate foliar application late in the season has been effective at killing stems and stopping production of new stems the following spring. As spread tends to occur downstream, the best control approach is to start upstream and work downwards. 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.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/