Giant reed (Arundo donax)

Also known as: elephant grass

Giant reed is a tall perennial grass up to 8m, growing in large cane-like clumps along river banks, wetlands and roadsides.

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How does this weed affect you?

Giant reed, also known as elephant grass, grows quickly and is difficult to remove once established. The large dense stands outcompete native plants and reduce food and habitat for native animals.

What does it look like?

Giant reed is a tall, clumping, perennial grass up to 8 m high. The leaves are up to 7 cm wide and have a ribbed sheath. It has showy, silky seedheads (up to 60 centimetres long).  Flowering is in spring and summer.

Where is it found?

Giant reed has been found in many parts of NSW from along the coast to the Western region. Most plants have been found in urban areas especially around the Greater Sydney region. 

Giant reed is native to India, Europe, Asia and Madagascar. 

It usually grows along river banks, wetlands, roadsides and wastelands, It has been cultivated in parks and gardens.

Maps and records

  • Recorded presence of Giant reed during property inspections (Map: Biosecurity Information System - Weeds, 2017-2021)
    These records are made by authorised officers during property inspections under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Officers record the presence of priority weeds in their council area and provide this to the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Records reflect the presence of the weed on the date of inspection.

  • Estimated distribution of Giant reed in NSW (Map: NSW Noxious Weed Local Control Authorities, 2010)
    Map shows weed distribution and density estimated by local council weeds officers in 2010.

How does it spread?

Giant reed produces seeds which are spread by wind or water. It can also sprout from rhizomes and small fragments of rhizomes.  Rhizomes can be spread in garden waste, contaminated soil or by flowing water.

More information

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Control

Herbicide options

WARNING - ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
Users of agricultural or veterinary chemical products must always read the label and any permit, before using the product, and strictly comply with the directions on the label and the conditions of any permit. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label or the conditions of the permit by reason of any statement made or not made in this information. To view permits or product labels go to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority website www.apvma.gov.au

See Using herbicides for more information.


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 50 parts water
Comments: Knapsack application
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


PERMIT 9907 Expires 31/03/2025
Glyphosate 360 g/L (Various products)
Rate: 1 part glyphosate to 1.5 parts of water
Comments: Cut stump application.
Withholding period: Nil.
Herbicide group: M, Inhibitors of EPSP synthase
Resistance risk: Moderate


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Biosecurity duty

The content provided here is for information purposes only and is taken from the Biosecurity Act 2015 and its subordinate legislation, and the Regional Strategic Weed Management Plans (published by each Local Land Services region in NSW). It describes the state and regional priorities for weeds in New South Wales, Australia.

Area Duty
All of NSW General Biosecurity Duty
All plants are regulated with a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate or minimise any biosecurity risk they may pose. Any person who deals with any plant, who knows (or ought to know) of any biosecurity risk, has a duty to ensure the risk is prevented, eliminated or minimised, so far as is reasonably practicable.
Central Tablelands
Exclusion zone: whole region except for the core infestation area of Bathurst Council, Cabonne Council and Cowra Council areas
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Core infestation area: Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. Land managers reduce impacts from the plant on priority assets.
Central West Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment.
Greater Sydney Regional Recommended Measure*
Land managers should mitigate the risk of new weeds being introduced to their land. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment.
North Coast
Exclusion zone: whole region excluding core infestation area of the Clarence Valley Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: The plant or parts of the plant should not be traded, carried, grown or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. Core infestation area: Land managers should reduce impacts from the plant on priority assets.
Western
Exclusion zone: whole region except for the core infestation area of Wentworth Shire Council
Regional Recommended Measure*
Whole region: Land managers should mitigate the risk of the plant being introduced to their land. The plant should not be bought, sold, grown, carried or released into the environment. Exclusion zone: The plant should be eradicated from the land and the land kept free of the plant. Core infestation area: Land managers should mitigate spread from their land. Land managers reduce the impact of the plant on priority assets (rivers and natural watercourses).
*To see the Regional Strategic Weeds Management Plans containing demonstrated outcomes that fulfil the general biosecurity duty for this weed click here

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For technical advice and assistance with identification please contact your local council weeds officer.
For further information call the NSW DPI Biosecurity Helpline on 1800 680 244 or send an email to weeds@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Reviewed 2018