Penn State
ForagesPeopleTopicsResourcesSelection ToolContact Info


Topics : Species and Forage Variety Trials : Species Fact Sheets : Reed Canarygrass

Species: Reed Canarygrass

Additional reed canarygrass information via the Forage Information System (FIS)


Reed Canarygrass Establishment

Spring seedings are most common. However, late-summer seedings are often more successful because weeds are less of a problem. Reed canarygrass can be slow to establish and may fail when weed competition is severe during establishment. Grass weeds are especially harmful. Companion crops can be used for spring seedings, but should not be used for late-summer seedings. Oats are the most common companion crop, but early removal for silage or by grazing is necessary to reduce competition for light and moisture.

If a late-summer seeding is planned, prepare the seedbed 2 to 4 weeks ahead of seeding, if possible. This will allow the soil to become firm and provide an opportunity to accumulate moisture in the seedbed . Best seeding time is before Aug. 15 in northern Pennsylvania and Sept. 1 in southern Pennsylvania.

Best stands of reed canarygrass are obtained when sown not deeper than 1/2 inch in a well-prepared, firm seedbed. This is best accomplished with band seeders equipped with press wheels. Other seeding methods can be used, but chances of obtaining thick stands and vigorous growth in the seeding year are reduced. Cultipacker seeders and grain drills work well if the seedbed is firm and the seed is covered to a depth not exceeding 1/2 inch. Roll or cultipack after seeding with grain drills not equipped with press wheels or after broadcast seeding. Caution must be used not to bury the seed after broadcast seeding.

Reed canarygrass should be seeded at 14 lb. per acre when seeded alone. This is a relatively high seeding rate compared to orchardgrass or timothy; however, reed canarygrass seed tends to have a low percentage of germination which necessitates a high seeding rate. Legume mixtures are recommended especially for hay or silage production. When seeding reed canarygrass in a mixture, decrease the seeding rate to 6-8 lb. per acre for reed canarygrass.