The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between the development of rush zones in small lakes and the utilization and condition of surrounding lands. Generally, the width of the helophyte zone increased along shores with gentle slopes (>5˚) that were covered with vegetation. The most favourable conditions for rush development and spread were along sloped areas bordered by farmlands and rural developments. In addition, pasturelands that developed on top of peat accumulation adjacent to lakes were found to facilitate the development of rushes. We observed a positive effect of anthropogenic development, especially agriculture and infrastructure, on stem density and total biomass of Phragmites austalis populations in the lakes studied. However, individual stem biomass of plants was lower. In different parts of the studied lakes, macrophyte distribution patterns were influenced by environmental conditions including nutrient availability, wind exposure, and bottom slope. The poorest macrophyte communities were found in areas within the lakes that were shaded by trees growing on neighboring banks and where slopes were forested rush zones were absent altogether.