Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Invasive Species
Oklahoma State University

Giant Reed

giant reed
Country of Origin: India and Mediterranean region
History: Giant Reed was brought over to the United States for erosion control and for ornamental value. This plant grows in all types of soils ranging from heavy clays to loose sands and gravelly soils. It flourishes in well drained environments that receive abundant amounts of moisture. Because the plant contains a dense deep root system, it has the ability to persist during periods of drought. It can survive very low temperatures in its dormant stage, but can undergo serious damage by frosts immediately after spring growth (Hoshovsky).
Intended Use: Ornamental value and erosion control
Mode of Invasion:

Human introduction

Species Description:

Giant Reed is a large perennial reed grass. Typical plants of this species range between 2 and 8 meters in height.  It is not unusual for an individual plant to grow up to 0.7 meters per week over a period of several months under favorable conditions. A dense fibrous root system that penetrates deep into the ground is found with this plant. It is one of the largest herbaceous grasses found in the southern U.S.

Map of Occurrence:


Effects of Invasion: Giant Reed can very quickly invade stream banks and roadside habitats from only a few planted individuals (Hoshovsky). After establishment, it does very well in out competing and preventing native species from growing. It forms pure stands and can become so dense in irrigated areas that it reduces the water- carrying capacity of the area. During dormant seasons the large amounts of biomass creates increased fire fuel.

Control can be achieved through multiple methods, although integrated strategies show the best results (Hoshovsky). A list of typical management practices include:

  • Physical Control- Manual removal and mechanical removal (cutting, chopping, mowing)
  • Prescribed Burning
  • Managerial Control- Prescribed grazing
  • Chemical Control- Herbicides

"Giant Reed." USDA. 26 Mar 2008 http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov


Hoshovsky , Marc. "The Nature Conservancy Element Stewardship Abstract For Arundo donax." (6-09-03)