By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) will be spraying for two invasive plants this October.
The two plants, phragmites and knotweed, are targeted due to the danger they pose for road users.
“Both of them are problematic from our point of view for a couple of reasons,” Craig Bryson, RCOC senior communications manager, said. “Phragmites in particular can be a sight-distance issue. It can grow to 15 feet tall, it grows very quickly, very thick, and we have a number of instances where it grows at intersections and makes it very difficult to see oncoming traffic around the corner.”
Along with blocking sightlines, phragmites grow in drainage ditches and cause water to build up and spill onto roadways. Knotweed can also block drains.
To deal with these plants, the RCOC hires state-authorized contractors to spray the herbicide glyphosate in areas where the plants have been spotted.
“You can’t just cut them down because they grow right back,” Bryson said. “Otherwise, we would go out with our lawnmowers and chop them down. The only way to really kill them and prevent them from coming back is to spray them and actually kill them.”
Spraying typically involves closing down a single lane and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on weather and the number of plants at the site. Property owners who are affected by the spraying are notified via flyer at least one day before spraying. Contractors spray sites twice, and municipalities are notified of sprayings.
Nearly every major road in both Oxford and Addison townships have targeted spraying areas, with the exception of Pontiac St., N. Oxford/Gardner Rd. and Shipman Rd. The full map of spraying sites across Oakland County can be found at https://bit.ly/3xCYVBT.
If phragmites and knotweed are found on property, owners are advised to have the plants chemically removed.
By Dean Vaglia