Reed Canarygrass is 2-9 feet tall non-native. It is very competitive once established and will frequently develop a solid monoculture. Tall growth enables reed canarygrass to compete with other herbaceous species by depriving them of light. Rhizomes account for much of the localized spread of reed canarygrass.
Reed Canarygrass excels in wet areas. It is preferred forage in seasonally “sumpy” and wet area and is frequently utilized for municipal sewage banks, canal banks and evaporative ponds. Once established it tolerates long periods of inundation and drought. It is an extremely productive grass. Very easy to establish and it persists very well. It is a reliable, productive forage plant with many uses.
Reed Canarygrass and Garrison Creeping Foxtail are often used together and are both adapted to the same circumstances. It makes excellent forage in areas that cannot otherwise be utilized because of excess water. Tolerant of long periods of wet soils and inundation. Also tolerant of extended periods of drought, as long as the droughty month are offset with wet months and inundation.
Broadcast and drill seeding both work well. Best establishment is achieved in spring/fall when the ground is wet. Broadcast the seed over the area and then feed livestock over the top of the seeding. The hooves and trampling will push the seed into the mud, resulting in excellent stand establishment. This method also addresses the inability to put drills or heavy machinery on the land best suited to Reed Canarygrass until it is too hot in mid-summer months.
It has proven to be too aggressive in the Pacific Northwest and midwest. Canarygrass moves out of pastureland and into stream bottoms, wetlands, and canal banks. It can persists in areas where it is not desirable and is the bane of wetland restoration if native establishment is desired. Some states have restricted production. This plant may become weedy or invasive in some regions or habitats and may displace desirable vegetation if not properly managed.