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 rhizomesA continuously growing, horizontal underground stem. 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.
|Life Cycle:||Perennial (life cycle lasts more than one year)|
|Early Detection and Rapid Response species:||No|
|Height:||Can reach up to 6 feet tall (2 meters)|
|Leaf Description:||Sturdy, often hollow stems with flat, blue-green leaf blades that sprout horizontally from the main stem. By first frost, the leaves turn to beige in color.|
|Fruit & Flower Description:||Rarely flowers but when it does it has white and pink blossoms.|
|Bloom Time:||June to July|
- Grows best in sunny or partially sunny moist sites such as wetlands, irrigation ditches, meadows or riparian areasAreas that are directly adjacent to flowing streams, creeks, or rivers..
- Established stands can tolerate extended periods of water inundation.
- 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:
- Maintaining a healthy community of native vegetation that provides significant shade is the best way to prevent reed canarygrass from infesting areas.
- To treat existing reed canarygrass, use a string trimmer to cut the reeds as close to the ground as possible. You may need to mow the infested area several times during the growing season and for several years to ensure that it doesn’t re-grow.