Photo Credit: Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
Photo Credit: Rob Routledge, Sault College, Bugwood.org
Photo Credit: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
Field of dormant reed canarygrass.
Also known as: Ornamental reed canarygrass, gardeners’ garters, ribbongrass
Reed canarygrass is a major threat to wetland ecosystems. Spreading by underground rhizomes and seeds, this grass quickly overtakes areas along streams, lakes, and other bodies of water. Once established, dense stands provide little wildlife habitat and even restrict water flow.
|Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:
|Can reach up to 6 feet tall (2 meters)
|Light green leaf blades sprout horizontally from the main stem. Leaf blades are hairless, smooth, and flat. By first frost, the leaves turn to beige in color.
|Fruit & Flower Description:
|Small flower clusters, known as panicles, grow up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) high above the leaves.
|June to July
- Reed canarygrass grows best in sunny or partially sunny areas with moist sites such as wetlands, irrigation ditches, meadows or riparian areasRiparian Areas Areas of land that occur along the edges of rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water..
- Established stands can tolerate extended periods of water inundation.
- Reed canarygrass forms dense monocultures that displace native plants and animals. These stands reduce wildlife habitat and decrease the availability of food for many species.
- It can constrict waterways and irrigation canals which increases water temperature and can cause flooding.
What you can do about it:
- Reed canarygrass is extremely difficult to control due to its dense growth and vigorous rhizomes. Large infestations require multiple strategies and several years of treatment.
- Maintaining a healthy community of native vegetation that provides significant shade is the best way to prevent reed canarygrass from establishing.
- Small patches can be dug up using a shovel. Be careful to remove all the roots to prevent it from regrowing.
- Place all plant material in a tied plastic bag and throw it away in the trash – not the yard debris or home compost.
Noxious Weed Listing:
Download the Reed Canarygrass Best Management Practices Factsheet