Invasive to Watch: Reed Canary Grass

Reed Canary Grass

What is reed canary grass? Reed canary grass is an aggressive, cool-season perennial grass with flat, rough-textured blades. It grows in wetlands and moist meadows. Its rhizomes form a dense, thick mat at or just below the soil surface.

Why is it a problem? Reed canary grass forms a dense layer of roots, significant impacting botanical and biological diversity of an area. It can also constrict waterways and limits tree regeneration by crowding out seedlings.

What can I do? Reed canary grass is persistent and tenacious – a one-two punch that addresses above-ground growth and underground rhizomes works best. Mechanical methods (burning, tilling, pulling) and chemical control (glyphosate) work best when used over a period of a couple growing seasons.   

Want more information?

  • Check out this in-depth guide from the Wisconsin Reed Canary Grass Management Group
  • Request a “Best Management Practices for Invasive Species” (including pests!) book or CD for practical guidance on treating invasives