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Common Name: Canary Grass
Phalaris arundinacea is a perennial plant that can grow up to 1.50 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials.
Most of Europe, including Britain but excluding the Mediterranean, W. N. and E. Asia, N. America.
Wet places and shallow water[
A very easy plant to grow, it succeeds in ordinary garden soil[
], though it grows best on moist sandy soils, rich in organic matter[
]. It also does well on fertile loams and clays[
]. Succeeds in most soils, whether dry or wet[
] and is moderately tolerant of drought[
]. Plants have been shown to tolerate 49 days under water[
]. It does not like saline soils[
]. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 30 to 260cm, an annual temperature in the range of of 5 to 23°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.2[
]. Plants can be very invasive, especially in moist conditions, there dense growth provides good cover for water fowl[
Plants are hardy to at least -20°c[
This is one of the first grasses to come into growth in the spring[
There are many named forms, selected mainly for their ornamental value[
Plants have a running root system and form an impenetrable ground cover. They should be mown 2 - 3 times in their first 2 - 3 years in order to encourage thick growth[
]. Plants are best spaced about 60cm apart each way[
The leaves have been woven into hats and mats[
This is one of the main species used in the reed bed system for the water purification treatment of grey water and for irrigation with pollution control sewage effluent from municipal and industrial sources[
One of the highest yielding fodder grasses with annual yields ranging from 8 - 20 tonnes per hectare, it has potential as a source of biomass[
]. It yields best when cut several times a year[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Division in spring[
]. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.