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Illinois Native Plant Guide - Blue Joint Grass - Pages 48-49

Illinois Native Plant Guide

Blue Joint Grass
Calamagrostis canadensis

Preferred Water Depth and Inundation Tolerance

Prefers saturated soil. Tolerates temporary spring flooding up to a depth of 6 inches early in the season. Species does not tolerate permanent flooding.

Wildlife Value

Waterfowl eat seeds. Young plants are grazed by deer and muskrats.


Used in upper shoreline zones and in vegetated swales.

Availability, Establishment, and Maintenance

  • Locally, plugs have been most successful. These should be planted on 0.5-1.5 foot centers because of their slow spread by rhizomes.
  • Soil should be moist to saturated, but not inundated during planting.
  • Established stands may be mowed in alternate years for maintenance.
  • C. canadensis rarely produces seed and even when it does, the seed is rarely viable.
  • Can spread agressively by rhizome under optimal conditions.

Blue Joint Grass
Calamagrostis canadensis

Mature HeightBlue Joint Grass
2-5 feet

Plant Type
Perennial grass

Indicator Status


Nutrient Load Tolerance

Salt Tolerance

Siltation Tolerance

Flowering Color and Time
May to August

Light Preference
Full sun

Seeding Rate
.03 - .06 lbs/acre

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