Water reed was a common roofing material for many centuries, because it was exceptionally durable. Water reed has always been the most durable natural thatching material. Unfortunately, water reed is not as abundant, nor as health in many regions, as it used to be. As demand for water reed soared, farming of it got more intensive.

Fertilizers, of course, were the solution to keep up with demand. Then, fertilizer use led to changes in the reed and soil. The health of the water reed declined. Reed became more brittle and weak. Intensive farming created harvests of water reed that snaps easily. This all happened in just a couple of decades.

Water reed could outlast other forms of roofing, but supplies have diminished such that costs are significant. Perhaps even more importantly though, demand for water reed thatching by resorts, hotels, and zoos is causing damage to the ecosystems.

Water Reed Needed For Soil Health & Habitats

Water reed is important to ecosystems, especially because it affects the sulfide concentration on the sediment. Water reed oxidizes it with a pressurized breathing that just comes naturally to reed. It lowers the concentrations of hydrogen sulfides in the pore water of the sediment just by living as a healthy plant.

If water reed is weak or damaged, it can’t do its job. So, then sulfur and nitrogen compounds increase in the soil around its root instead. Reed has a significant impact on ecosystems and on the organisms that live along side them. In addition to its crucial role in soil health, reed provided important habitats for migratory birds and other birds. Reed provides nutrition and a home for birds and other creatures.

Synthetic Water Reed

Our love of water reed thatching has greatly affected the health of the plant across the globe. If you love the look of reed, we have greener options for you.

Endureed’s Capetown shingles provide an environmentally friendly alternative to natural reed. It’s a coarsely textured and longer reed. It resembles African Yellow Grass or Cape Reed.

Endureed’s Kilimanjaro shingles replicate an even heavier reed with a traditional weathered look.

For a more European look, Somerset shingles replicate the blend of Norfolk water reed used in that region since antiquity. Meanwhile, Kona shingles blend the look of both a wide leaf and smaller grass water reed found on Hawaiian Islands and in the South Pacific.

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