Quackgrass is an invasive weed that can be found in front and back yards throughout the United States. It spreads rapidly, taking over flower beds and gardens, and it can grow on top of existing grasses and take over your lawn if you do not get rid of it before it spreads. Luckily, identifying quackgrass isn’t too difficult, and getting rid of it is also fairly simple with the right tools.
If you want to grow a beautiful garden full of colorful flowers but your yard has been overtaken by quackgrass, don’t worry! There are many ways to get rid of this pesky weed so you can enjoy your outdoor space again without worrying about where it will pop up next! Read on to learn more about how you can identify and remove quackgrass from your property.
Just What Is Quackgrass?
The scientific name for Quackgrass is Elymus Repens, and it is also commonly called couchgrass, twitch, quick grass, or dog grass. It is a very common species of perennial grass that is native to large areas of Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and even the Arctic biome, and it has been naturalized into many other countries and climates, including the United States.
It used to be an ingredient in incense, as well as in water as a tea or syrup, or in medicine to help reduce a fever. Many grazing animals eat it regularly, and birds eat the seeds as well.
It was often introduced to other, non-native areas in order to control erosion and foraging, but is primarily considered an invasive weed. It is one of the more difficult weeds to remove from a lawn or garden bed.
How and Where Does Quackgrass Grow?
Quackgrass spreads quickly through rhizomes, or underground stems that grow horizontally near the surface of the ground. These creeping rhizomes allow it to grow rapidly across open fields and plains such as grasslands or meadows. It can grow on top of other plant species and take over an area if left unchecked, as it is more aggressive than most grasses.
Quackgrass can grow at a rate of one inch or more each day during the growing season, which begins in early spring and continues until late fall. It can grow up to 5 feet tall.
How To Identify Quackgrass
Quackgrass is one of the more difficult weeds to identify because it appears to be nothing more than tall grass. It can be best identified by its leaves, which are long and flat with a pointed end. It looks like grass, but the leaves are very thin with jagged edges. It also grows in dense clusters, which again is different from normal grass that grows more evenly in an area.
The leaves often grow tall enough that they droop over, and they are much wider than they are thick, so they don’t have the structural integrity to keep themselves upright. Quackgrass also has flower spikes at its top that can grow anywhere from 4 inches to 1 foot long. These tend to flowers appear from the end of June into August.
Best Ways to Kill Quackgrass
Quackgrass is one of the harder weeds to kill as it will spread quickly and take over any flower bed or garden. If you do not get rid of it before it has a chance to grow, your entire lawn can become overrun with this invasive weed and it can be nearly impossible to remove without the proper tools and knowledge.
This is because of its rhizome structure underground. The rhizomes from quackgrass quickly entangle themselves with other neighboring plants and grass, sp trying to dig up the roots will either break of quackgrass root pieces, which can then re-germinate and grow again, or pull up other plant roots with it, killing them as well.
If you want to get rid of quackgrass naturally, you will need to dig up every bit of the plant’s roots and rhizomes before they start growing again next year. This is a tricky and slow process, and the best way to do it is to carefully loosen the earth around the plant and then make sure to pull out the complete rhizome and root structure. The best time to do this is in the spring, when other plants that you might harm along the way have time to recover and get back into bloom by summer.
Another organic alternative is to dig deep into the ground and remove as much grass as feasible. The affected area should then be covered with a thick layer of woodchips. Cardboard can also be used to keep re-growth at bay by placing it beneath the woodchips.
The best, or at least the easiest, way to treat quackgrass is with chemicals so you do not have to worry about digging it out of your yard yourself. Many types of herbicide will be able to control and eliminate quackgrass. To be most effective in your treatment, use a non-selective herbicide that has glyphosate as an active ingredient, such as Compare-N-Save Herbicide.
Be sure to read the product label carefully when purchasing any herbicide for directions on how to use it. The label will also explain the best way to mix and apply your herbicide for optimal results. Always wear protective clothing when handling or applying these chemicals, including gloves and long sleeves, to avoid contact with your skin.
Additionally, with non-selective herbicides, be sure to immediately cover or remove any flowers, plants, shrubs or other vegetation that you do not want over-sprayed.
Best Ways to Prevent Quackgrass From Returning
As with any invasive weed, the best cure for it is preventing it from growing in the first place. When planting any flowers, plants, or grass seed, make sure none of them carry quackgrass with them. Check any growing areas daily to make sure no weeds are sprouting within them.
Another thing you can do is fertilize with a high-grade nitrogen fertilizer and mow your lawn on a regular basis to promote healthy, thick grass and turf that will not allow the quackgrass to grow within it.
Quackgrass is a weed that can be difficult to identify, and even more difficult to remove.
This post has given you the information on what quackgrass looks like, how it grows and where it thrives so you know when you have an infestation of this pesky plant in your yard or garden. We’ve also outlined some organic and chemical means for getting rid of quackgrass as well as preventing its return once all traces are gone.
As always these methods are not guaranteed to work on all types of plants so please consult with your local garden expert before proceeding if you have any doubts about whether the advice in this article would be appropriate for your specific situation.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about quackgrass and how best to deal with its presence both now and into the future!