Flowering Rush (Butomus umbellatus)
Flowering Rush is native to Eurasia. In about 1998, one or two plants appeared at the edge of our Amphibian Pond. Within 2-3 years, the plant had spread throughout the pond and was covering most of the open water. In 2002, we began a concerted effort to pull the plants out.
At the FWG, Flowering Rush is late growing. The plants are just reaching maturity at the end of June, which is about the time that our Red-winged Blackbirds have fledged.
We wade into the water and gently pry up the roots of the Flowering Rush plants, sometimes using a garden “claw” to help loosen them from the bottom of the pond. Where they are growing among cattails, removal is more difficult.
We’ve found that putting uprooted plants into the inflatable boat saves us some effort as it can be filled, then floated over to the edge of the pond and emptied. We generally pile the weeds in one designated area; on dry land, there is no risk of them regrowing and they decompose quickly. We’ve also found that the uprooted plants will float on the water surface. Many can be placed together to form a “raft” then floated over to the edge of the pond and deposited far enough from the edge to ensure that the plants will dry out.
In 2010, muskrats moved into our pond and started “helping” by eating flowering rush plants, especially the roots. By 2011, most of the Flowering Rush, along with quite a few cattails had disappeared. Unfortunately, few cattails means few Red-winged Blackbird nests.