Reed Grass Control – Tips For Removing Common Reeds

Image by Harry Rose

By Anne Baley

Common reed grass has been used throughout history for thatched roofs, cattle feed and numerous other creative uses. Today, however, it mostly appears as a simple invasive species that takes over fields, open grasslands and, in some places, even yards. While a small patch of reeds may be an attractive addition to the landscaping design, they spread so quickly that they’ll take over the entire lawn if you don’t take steps to kill them off. Keep reading for tips on controlling reed grass.

Tips for Removing Common Reeds Naturally

If you have a small patch of reeds and want to take care of them before they take over the entire lawn, physical methods for common reed grass control might be your best option. Start by using an electric hedge trimmer to cut down the reeds below their bottommost leaf, leaving only the stem stubble left standing. Remove the cut reeds and cut them up to put in the compost pile.

Cover the reed patch with a large sheet of clear plastic sheeting. Hold down the edges of the plastic with large rocks or bricks, or simply bury the edges in the ground. This process is known as solar sterilization. The heat from the sun will accumulate underneath the plastic, and kill off any plants below the surface. Leave the plastic sheet through the fall and winter and only remove it the next spring. If any small reed shoots remain sprouting in the spring, you can easily pull them by hand.

Controlling Reed Grass with Chemicals


If you have a larger patch of reeds and want to use chemical methods to get rid of them, the most common herbicide used is glysophate. Mix a solution according to the package directions and pour it into a sprayer. Only spray this herbicide on a dead calm day; any breeze can blow the chemicals onto surrounding plants and kill them off. Wear protective clothing, face mask and goggles. Spray the top part of the plants and allow the liquid to run down the stalks. The plants will die back in a week or two. Cut off the dead tops in two weeks and repeat the process to kill off the remaining parts of the plant.

Now that you know how to kill reeds, you can keep them from taking over the lawn or surrounding landscape.

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