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reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea)

Posted in Species Profiles


Description: Reed Canary Grass is a large coarse grass growing between 2 and 7 feet in height. It has hairless stems and rough tapered leaves. Flowers appear in mid-June with dense clusters of green changing to purple, then beige.

Habitat: Reed Canary Grass grows in moist organic soil in full sun though it can grow in dry upland soil in partial shade.

Invasive Traits: Reed Canary Grass has a thick rhizome system allowing it to quickly dominate an area. Massive quantities of seed are produced and dispersed by wind. Has the ability to thrive in disturbed sites.


Control: Hand pulling is only effective for small isolated populations when root systems are removed and material is bagged and transported off site. Mowing and cutting need to be repeated to exhaust nutrient stores and are only effective on small populations. Herbicides approved for aquatic systems are most effective when applied using foliar spray techniques.


Further Reading
Indiana Department of Natural Resources 2012

King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks. 2011

Photo Credits
  1. Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
  2. Cleveland Metroparks
  3. Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
  4. Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
  5. Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut,
  6. Cleveland Metroparks
  7. Cleveland Metroparks