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Cover Crops for Vegetable Growers

Reed canarygrassReed canarygrass

Reed canarygrass is a cool season perennial that forms clumps of sod. It can spread by seed or rhizomes. It is used for erosion control and is excellent at stabilizing waterways and the shorelines of ponds. Howerver, it must be used in contained sites due to its invasiveness. Cultivars of variegated reed canarygrass have been selected for use as ornamentals.

Land preparation
Prepare a firm and level seed bed. Plant at a depth of 1/4 – 1/2 inch.
Reed canarygrass tolerates a wide range of pH (4.9-8.2).
Germination can take up to two weeks.

Seeding rate
10–14 lb/ac at $2.75/lb.
These rates are on the high side because many seed lots have low germination.
It can be mixed with legumes such as alfalfa.

Seeding date
Early spring and late summer.
Avoid planting during hot summer weather.

Seed Source
American Seed Company, Ernst Seed Company.

Mow, the growth peak is in mid-June.

Control by burning. The Rodeo formulation of glyphosate is reported to be effective at controlling reed canarygrass.

Plan ahead for the invasive nature of this cover crop, considering both containment and ultimate control. Reed canarygrass can out-compete native grasses in wetland habitats.


Photo credit: John Cardina, The Ohio State University,