Field Guide   arr  Weed Management   arr  Shattercane

Shattercane (Sorghum bicolor)

Crop Impacts: Alfalfa, corn and soybeans

Shattercane 1


About Shattercane:

Shattercane is a summer annual grass that is closely related to Johnsongrass. It is an aggressive grass that grows very fast and can significantly reduce the yield of your fields. Shattercane is considered an aggressive weed and can yield up to 2000 seeds.

Family: Poaceae family

Shattercane 2 Shattercane 3

Shattercane Scouting and Prevention:

Overall, Shattercane looks like a smaller version of corn. The sheath and stem are rounded and can grow between 4 and 8 feet tall with leaves that have a whitish midvein and are approximately 1 to 2.5 inches wide. The flower clusters are pale green or violate green and at full maturity can be dark reddish or a purple drown colour that open in a pyramid shape. Their flowers bloom from May to October.

Common locations

  • - Prefers warm temperate
  • - Well-drained, fertile soil
  • - Can tolerate hot, dry conditions
  • - Fields
  • - Cereal crops


Prevention of Shattercane is less expensive and less time-consuming then trying to control it. Make sure when you seed a new area you are doing so with certified weed-free seeds. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around instead of through it. Finally, make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean to make sure no seeds are transferred.

Shattercane Control:

Cultural Control

There are a few methods for culturally controlling shattercane. Some ideas would be cultivation, tillage and crop rotation. Pulling these weeds by hand in June just after it rains when the ground is soft is also quite effective.

Chemical Control

The most common herbicide to use to get rid of Shattercane is herbicides that have an active ingredient called glyphosate. The herbicide treatment might have to be done for several years to ensure total control over the weed.

Latin / Alternative Shattercane names:

  • - Sorghum bicolor
  • - Sorghum

Additional Shattercane Resources