A modified litter bag design and handling procedure were tested to establish whether these reduced the exaggerated fragmentation losses that occur with standard litter bags. The modified design was compared with standard coarse (5 mm) and fine (0.25 mm) mesh litter bags using Phragmitesleaf litter. All were positioned in a section of a reedbed subject to water level management but negligible water flow. Breakdown rates were significantly reduced with the modified design but these were still significantly greater than those in the fine mesh bags. Owing to the extended period, results were influenced by invertebrates colonising the fine mesh bags. The significance of bag design and invertebrate colonisation are discussed.