Reed canarygrass, (Phalaris arundinacea L.), is a vigorous, long-lived, sod-forming grass. It is a widespread perennial species native to North America, Europe, and Asia. While it used to be planted as forage for cattle, the species grows into thick sod very quickly, out-competing native plants, and can be expensive to control or eradicate. It also does not provide much benefit to wildlife.
The numerous broad, somewhat harsh, erect leaves are dominantly basal and the coarse, erect stems may reach a foot and a half tall. Seed is borne in an open panicle which ripens from the top down and shatters readily as it matures. Reed canarygrass can withstand drought and frost conditions and you’ll normally find it growing well in wet soils that are poorly drained or subject to flooding. Growth begins in early spring and continues through the growing season. You’ll see very rapid regrowth if you mow it, particularly if it’s in a fertile site.
The best way to get rid of reed canarygrass is to dig up small and isolated plants, so long as you make sure you get all of the roots. Call the District if you have widespread reed canarygrass problems.
For more information on reed canarygrass, see this fact sheet from Tualatin SWCD.