Reed Canary Grass

Common Name: Reed Canary Grass
Scientific Name: Phalaris arundinacea
Origin: Circumboreal


Reed canary is a coarse perennial grass that grows up to 10 feet tall. Leaf blades are tapering, up to ten inches long and have a rough texture on both sides. The stem of reed canary grass is hairless and stands erect. Its flowering structure is usually small, initially green-purple in color, fading to a light brown at maturity.


Reed canary grass can grow in a wide variety of sites. It is known to establish in dry, upland habitats and partially shaded woodlands. However, it is most prolific in moist soil and will aggressively invade most wetland types.


Reed canary grass spreads by seed and a dense network of creeping rhizomes. It prefers disturbed sites, but is capable of invading intact native wetlands. Once established, reed canary grass forms dense patches that exclude native plants and wildlife.


Small patches can be managed by digging, but the entire rhizome system must be removed for control to be effective. Large or well established patches can be controlled using a glyphosate based herbicide. Long term management efforts will be required to deplete the plants persistent seed bank.

Distribution: View Map