Slender False Brome

Slender false brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum) is an invasive grass, and one of New York’s lesser-known invasive species. In New York, slender false brome is a prohibited invasive species under regulation 6 NYCRR Part 575, which means it cannot be bought, sold, or introduced into the wild.


Slender false brome can outcompete existing vegetation including threatened and endangered species and prevent tree seedling establishment. Loss in native vegetation can harm populations of mammals, insects, lizards, snakes, and songbirds by altering food sources.


Slender false brome can tolerate a wide range of habitats especially competitive in shady or drought-stricken areas; it is self-fertilizing and can produce hundreds of seeds per plant. 

Due to its similarity to other grasses, slender false brome has likely gone undetected and misidentified in Western and Central New York for years. As of December 2016, slender false brome has been located in just a few locations in New York, the Bergen Swamp in Genesee County, several areas near Ithaca in Tompkins County, a site in Onondaga County, and one site in Dutchess County near Wappingers Falls. However, it has exhibited explosive spread and aggressive population expansion in portions of New York state and poses a threat to biodiversity in botanically unique areas such as the Bergen Swamp.  The grass is also found in high-use areas such as along trails in Taughannock Falls State Park, making containment difficult (1).


Slender false brome can go undetected and may be difficult to identify as there are many other types of grass that appear similar. Slender false brome can be distinguished from other grasses by its bunching, arching leaves that grow in clumps. Leaf color is bright lime-green throughout the growing season and into the late fall. 

  • Leaf blades are flat and lax (floppy), 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide, and distinctively bright green.
  • When held up to the sky, a fringe of fine hairs is easily seen around the edge of the leaf.
  • The leaf sheath (the base of the leaf that surrounds the stem or culm of the grass) is open and freely releases the stem when pulled back.
  • The lower stem is thickly covered with fine, even hairs
  • Young plants look somewhat like a many-legged spider spread out over the ground.
  • Mature plants have a graceful, nodding form (both leaves and flowers).
  • Mature stands form solid mats of plants 12 to 18 inches high.
  • Flower spikelets droop and have very short or no stalks.

Learn how to identify slender false brome in an identification video, courtesy of the New York Natural Heritage Program.

Learn how to identify this plant in an identification video, courtesy of the New York Natural Heritage Program.


Prevention is always the best option.  Follow these steps to help stop the spread of slender false brome.

  • Since this species is spread by seed, cleaning boots, equipment, and machinery can help prevent further establishment.
  • Learn how to identify slender false brome and report infestations to your local PRISM coordinators, please include a photo!
  • Infestations can be reported to DEC at isinfo@dec.ny.gov.
  • Enter observations of this and other invasive species to the iMap Invasive Species Database.
  • Utilize boot brush stations at trailheads where available or bring your own brush to remove seeds from clothing and bike and boot treads.
  • Download the Brachypodium factsheet (PDF) and share it with friends and neighbors.
Manual/Mechanical Control

Small patches of slender false brome can be dug up in April and May, taking extra care to remove the whole root system. Mowing in June will prevent the plant from producing seeds.

Chemical Control: 

For larger infestations, non-selective or grass-specific herbicides can be effective in some environments.


Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.

Rob Williams                              rwilliams@tnc.org                     Program Director

Megan Pistolese megan.pistolese@tnc.org
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers brittney.rogers@tnc.org 
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith       robert.l.smith@tnc.org 
Terrestrial Invasive Species

Zachary Simek    zachary.simek@TNC.ORG     Conservation and GIS Analyst

During this time the best way to contact our team is via email.