Reedlands

One of the best-known marsh vegetations is reedland. In shallow (20-60 cm) water and on rich soils, reed (Phragmites australis) may provide simple but very characteristic and, on a larger scale, attractive vegetation with its own atmosphere and beauty. Creating a suitable habitat for reed is done as follows: the soil is dug down until, or slightly under, the water table. On bare soil one does best to plant out reed cuttings. Since reed germinates under special conditions only—for example in wet, muddy situations on soils that have gone dry shortly before, in spring or summer—and as one usually cannot meet these requirements, planting out cuttings is the most successful approach. The best time for planting reed is the first half of May, as it likes the heat, therefore being a slow – starter, with two to five cuttings per m2. It is also possible to plant reed on reclaimed land. In water that is too deep for reed to grow in, one delineates the future border of the reedland with poles, laying it out in a naturalistic shape; the distance between the poles is approximately 50 cm and the heads are at the summer water level. This area is then filled with tree prunings in such a manner that a more or less passable floor is created. One may well use bundles of branches, packed tightly and weighed down with thicker pieces of trunks and branches, reaching up to the water level or just under it. As an occlusive layer, which should prevent the next layer of mud or soil to run off, one tops this off with a layer of finer material, such as heather, bracken, old reed stem cuttings or course mown material, hay etc., to a thickness of 10 cm. A layer of 15-20 cm of mud is the last layer to be applied. Owing to its weight and the compression of the lower layers, it will, in the end, be at about water level. After the mud layer has solidified, one can plant out the reed cuttings at the beginning of May. In order not to trample the mud, one uses treading boards. This is also a suitable situation for sowing reed seed that was collected in the previous winter months. For seeding to be successful, one should make sure that the mud does not dry out. In order to obtain a more naturalistic reedland border, one may also plant out typical species such as Carex pseudocyparis, C. riparia and C. paniculata, Iris pseudacorus, Cicuta virosa and so on. In the course of time, other species will find their way into this vegetation, for example Epilobium hirsutum, Typha angustifolia, Stachys palustris, Sium angustifolium and S. latifolium.