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  • Papyrus

    I've just purchased a house that has a fountain in the back.* Planted all around it is papyrus which has grown to about 4' high and is spreading.* We want to take it all up, and we've but it to the ground to about 3-4" high stems.

    I know we must dig it up, but is there anything we can put on the stems, a chemical perhaps that will help destroy the papyrus to make the removal of the roots easier?

  • #2
    It's not good to use chemicals in a water feature as beneficial insects, birds and critters are attracted to the water.* Most aquatic insects, birds, fish and most especially amphibians such as frogs and toads are extremely sensitive to herbicides and pesticides.* Frogs and toads breathe through their skin.* These chemicals should never be used in or around water.* Even if you did use something, you will still have to dig out the roots, so best not to use chemicals.* You will probably find large mats of rhizones when you dig.*

    You might find the links from this post helpful.



    • #3
      Thank you very much for your reply.*

      The papyrus is not in the water, it is planted in the dirt about 2' behind the water fountain, which is enclosed in plastic (that which you see in stores in various shapes, and is black).*

      As I was outside yesterday standing by the fountain, I did, indeed, think of the animals that are drawn by the water.* I did, therefore, begin to dig.* Was able to get up all the shoots themselves, and about 3'"-4" of roots that "dangled like strings" beneath that.* Today I plan to go back with a trowel to see how I can clean out the entire bed where the Papyrus was located.*

      If you have any suggestions as to how to locate them or what to look for that would be very much appreciated!* Thank you and have a great day!!!


      • #4
        I think you are just going to have to explore and dig carefully so you don't sever any.* If you do leave some behind and they sprout, it should be easy to remove them when they are small.

        Good luck digging!


        • #5
          Thank you, Newt.* I dug deeply and carefully, being oh so careful when I removed the papyrus from the dirt, didn't even try to shake any dirt from the clumps, just immediately transferred the clump into a plastic container.

          As I live in Florida, it's a bit hot during the day to work in the yard, but about 7:00 in the evening is when I really go to work.* I'll go out this evening with a few gardening tools, and sift through the dirt where the papyrus was removed.* That way, maybe I'll be lucky and find what I might have left behind the first time.*

          As you say, if I did leave anything behind, I'm sure they'll be easy to find from their sprouts, which I can immediately dig up again.

          Thank you all for this outstanding forum.* It's great!


          • #6
            Bamboo Hater, you are so very welcome!* I'm really glad I could help.* I know what you mean about the heat and humidity.* I watched my neighbor relandscaping in the heat of the day today and it was about 88*F.* I hope you get it all.

            And thanks for the compliment!


            • #7

              I too have a question regarding Papyrus. I live near the beach in So CA. In 2004 I put in an artifical putting green on the side of my house. On the wall next to the house we planted about 10 small Papyrus plants in gallon containers. Over the years as they continued to grow beautifully, I continued to cut down the dead stalks and they continued to grow outward until it began to look really "unkept" in the middle and back. Then they started to get yellow and look week and though I water a lot, I believe that they are simply in need of being divided but have no idea where to begin since this is a 38ft wall that has a solid mat of dead and unproducing base. Where do I begin and how do I get these beautiful plants to grow again. The base they are in is good soil and white sand. Any ideas are much appreciated.
              Jack (go1ndr)


              • #8
                Hi Jack,

                Papyrus grows out from the center which dies. You will need to dig them up, cut them up and discard the centers. Each original plant should give you at least 3 new plants that you can replant or give away. Most folks divide them yearly, so if they have been doing well since 2004, consider yourself fortunate. Here's some sketches (all I could find) of papyrus and it's roots.

                You may find that you will need to dig some up and soak it in buckets of water so you can see the main root and stem parts. Remember that the center dies out and sends out new shoots through the roots. You might want to consider planting the new cuttings in large pots and sinking those into the beds, keeping them moist at all times. If they dry out they will die. Cuperus papyrus is a sedge bog plant. You can pull the pots every year or two, divide and repot. It will be easier to renew them if they are potted.



                • #9
                  Hi Newt!
                  Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. My Papyrus doesn't exactly look like this but more like the original plants shot out sideways shooters that are like a closed hand and actually seem to be kind of on a "socket" for lack of a better term. you can actually lift the whole "hand" root up and dig underneith of it. If you can imagine a closed fist with a new shoot coming out of each nuckle that is what it looks like. These closed fists or hands are everywhere and form a nearly solid mat so i'm a little concerned as to where to start cutting and digging. I do know that cut down shoots from years of sitting therre (each about 1-2 ft high) are now looking terrible. At first they looked a lot like bamboo and kind of made for the "golf putting green" look, but now its just dead! I know that they are Papyrus and they are beautiful when green and plentiful but brown and yellow and dead or dying--they are ugly. Should I just go out there with a saw, shovel and axe and start cutting and digging?
                  Thanks again for you quick and helpful reply--I appreciate it!


                  • #10
                    Jack, you are so very welcome!

                    I'm wondering if you might have Cyperus alternifolius aka umbrella plant aka umbrella palm. It's smaller and a bit more delicate then papyrus. Varieties grow 2' to 6'

                    Dwarf papyrus aka Cyperus isocladus grows 2' to 3'

                    Giant papyrus aka Cyperus papyrus aka Egyptian paper reed. I gave you the sketches of these before but I'll repeat them here. Grows 6' to 10'

                    At this point you have so much it's going to be hard to lose them all. I'd say get yourself a good pruning hand saw or sharp kitchen knife that won't be missed in the kitchen, and have at it! Discard any roots where the top stems have died off. After you make your cuts look for the inside of the roots to be white and firm. You might want to pot these up for at least the next few weeks to see which ones take before you plant back in the soil. Of course you may decide after all that work that putting them in pots in the soil will make it easier for the next time. And don't forget to lift with your knees, not your back. You have my sympathies for the task.