Reed canary grass

Reed Canary Grass

Forage: Reed canary grass is primarily adapted for permanent hay or pasture on sites too wet for good performance of other forage plants. The forage should be grazed or mowed prior to heading as both quality and palatability decline rapidly after heading. A common mistake is to use reed canary grass on wet sites where timely harvest is not possible. Make sure to use low alkaloid varieties for increased forage quality and palatability.

Erosion control: The extensive, rhizomatous root system and dense growth of reed canarygrass provide excellent erosion control, especially along stream banks, shorelines and waterways. Reed canarygrass invades wet areas so its use along ditches, canals and drains can create maintenance problems; it can also be troublesome in wetland habitats.

Wildlife: This grass provides excellent nesting and escape cover and the shattered seeds are readily eaten by many species of birds.



New seedings should not be grazed until fully established. It is best to harvest for hay 1 to 2 times before grazing. To maintain plant vigor and promote rapid regrowth, leave a stubble of 3 to 4 inches after mowing or grazing. Start spring grazing after plants reach a height of 10 to 12 inches. Maintain grass height below 12 inches during rapid spring growth. Harvest hay when the first seedheads appear. Reed canary grass will persist under close, frequent use, but yield will be greatly reduced. Its persistence under heavy use makes it well suited for calving, lambing, holding areas or other special-use pastures. To maintain good yields, an annual application of fertilizer will be required on most fields depending on soil test results.

  • Price: Call
  • Seeding Rate (lbs per acre): 8-10 (alone) or  4-8 (mixtures)                                 
  • Seeding Date:  late fall or early spring
  • Seeds per Pound: 480,000
  • Planting Depth: up to 1/2"