WSU Whatcom County Extension

Integrated Pest Management for Blueberries

Reed Canary Grass

(Phalaris arundinacea L.)

Perennial Grasses

 

Reed Canary Grass

Habitat Characteristics

Found in wet soil areas, primarily in roadsides and drainage ditches. A wetland plant, this species typically occurs in soils that are saturated or nearly saturated for most of the growing season, but where standing water does not persist for extended periods. However, established stands can tolerate extended periods of flooding.


Description

Reed canary grass is a tall (2-7 feet), aggressive plant that grows from a large, rhizomatous root system. The leaves are rolled in the bud, but become flat when emerge. Leaf blades are ¼ to ¾ inch wide, 3 to 8 inches long, and tapered to a point. Stems appear bluish green. The seed head is a dense, branched panicle which extends well beyond the leaves; they turn light brown above the green foliage as they mature. Reed canary grass is designated as a Class 'C' noxious weed in Washington State. Consult your county Noxious Weed Control Board for more information.

 

Life History

Plants do produce seed, but main form of propagation is through thick, encroaching rhizomes. Flowering occurs from June through August. Straw-colored stems remain erect well into the winter and produce a thick mulch that persists until he following spring.


Management

Cultural Techniques

    -  Heavy equipment has been used unsuccessfully in reed canarygrass removal. Rapid regrowth occurs from rhizomes and seeds that remain in the soil even after mechanical removal.

     - Regular mowing may be a valuable control method, since it removes seed heads before seed maturation.

Chemical Techniques

     - See Herbicide Efficacy Table (pdf)

 

References

Invasive Species, The Source for Information and Images of Invasive & Exotic Species, Reed Canary Grass
http://www.invasive.org/browse/subject.cfm?sub=6170

USDA – NRCS Plant Profile, Reed Canary Grass
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=PHAR3

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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 • whatcom@wsu.edu