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How to Kill Wild Outdoor Cane Plants

Warning

Use caution with all treatment methods; consider the surrounding environment before implementing any control method. Do not use herbicides on cane stands next to waterways. Do not burn during dry seasons, and have a hose ready to extinguish the flames if necessary. Do not operate machinery on dangerous terrain.

Check with your local fire department, city or county before burning your wild cane stand; outdoor burning is prohibited in some regions.

Wild cane, more widely known as common or giant reed, is an invasive grass with a remarkable ability to establish and spread quickly. The rhizomes -- root runners that spread underground -- lend both stability to the plant and a subterranean means of expansion that make removing a stand of wild cane especially difficult. Even if the cane is burned to the ground or pulled up stalk by stalk, there is still the potential for emerging canes the following year. Following a thorough plan of eradication is the best bet when attempting to get rid of this persistent invader.

Mow down the stand of wild cane in early spring, using a scythe or bush hog. This will force the cane to use energy reserves for rebuilding the stalks rather than spreading rhizomes.

Wait until the cane just begins to flower, then implement a burn program. Wild cane uses a great deal of root energy during flowering, leaving it most vulnerable during this time. Douse the edges of the stand with a flammable substance to get the fire started. Stand by to guide the fire in consuming the entire stand.

Repeat the mowing process over the charred remains of the wild cane stand.

Spray topical herbicide with glycophosphate, one of the most common herbicides available, over the ground where the cane has been reduced to charred remains. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the number of applications and amount to apply.

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