[permaculture] reed beds

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Thu Feb 7 18:38:30 EST 2008

Robyn Francis wrote:

> I have reed bed systems here in sub-tropic Australia. Yes, we do have water
> loss through evapo-transpiration which varies with the seasons, depending on
> temperature and weather. When it's very hot and dry the reeds tend to use
> most of the waste water and there's little comes out the other end, but most
> of the year there is some water coming through for re-use.

So if its waste treatment you want thats what you get, expecting water from the system seems unreasonable.

> There are a lot of rushes and sedges suitable for purification. Phragmites
> spp tend to have aggressive root systems which grow into pipes and block
> them, so while one if the best performers re treatment, they create a lot of
> maintenance. The prefered species here are Juncus, Scirpus and Typha. I also
> have a greywater reed bed planted with Cyerus papyrus (which looks stunning)
> and Yellow Flag Iris.
> What did you mean by using the reeds properly?

That is wonderful information Robyn. Wild iris (I think ours has a blue flower
and is a small plant growing by creekside) and papyrus grow fine in this climatic
zone, USDA 6-7, and survive all our winters. Noone mentioned cattails which are among
the hardiest of plants suited for very wet conditions. They are also drought resistant
to an extent also. I had to move some while enlarging one of my ponds and just heeled
them in under piles of dirt where they got very little irrigation. I'll see if they
are still alive this Spring. If so this will prove they are suitable for a reedbed in
a dry environment.

What are the full Latin and common names for these plants:

Juncus, Scirpus and Typha

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