Bulrush illustration Bulrush photo Bulrush photo


Common names: Reeds, pencil reeds.

Location: Marshes, shorelines, sand and gravel bars, shallow waters up to 8 feet deep. Hardstem bulrush grows on firm bottoms; softstem bulrush grows on mud bottoms.

Description: Grow above water to a height of 5 to 10 feet tall; have triangular or round-shaped stems; slender green leaves appear to be a continuation of the stem; loose cluster of brownish flowers and seeds are located near the tip of the stem.

Hints to identify: A long, tubular stem without leaves, or a triangular stem that may have long leaves similar to those of tall grasses.

Importance of plant: Excellent fish habitat-provide spawning areas for northern pike and, in early spring, provide nesting cover for largemouth bass and bluegills. Bulrushes attract marsh birds and songbirds and provide food for ducks, geese, and swans.

Management strategy: See DNR regulations . To preserve natural habitat, the DNR allows the removal of bulrushes only in a small area to provide boat access to deeper lake water. Herbicides are an effective method for initial control. Once an area is cleared, periodic cutting below the surface will generally provide control.