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Quackgrass

By: Garden Gate staff
This rough-looking perennial grass grows 1 to 3 feet tall in clumps or mats. Quackgrass, or “couch-grass,” emerges from hairy roots into slender stems that are separated into little joints every few inches.

Quackgrass

pest watch

Quackgrass Agropyron repens

IDENTIFICATION – This rough-looking perennial grass grows 1 to 3 ft. tall in clumps or mats. Quackgrass, or “couch-grass,” emerges from hairy roots into slender stems that are separated into little joints every few inches. When flowering, quackgrass sends up small spikes that look like the tops of wheat plants. The roots are connected by a network of straw-colored, creeping underground stems. Quackgrass spreads by roots and hardy seeds that germinate in the spring, and those seeds can remain alive up to 14 years!

FAVORITE CONDITIONS – Quackgrass grows in just about every soil condition except areas that are heavily shaded.

CONTROL – Sprawling roots produce a chemical that inhibits the growth of other plants. Digging can get rid of this pest, but a herbicide, such as glyphosate, may work better. Covering small spots of quackgrass with black plastic or roofing paper for at least a year is also effective. Any remaining roots will create new plants wherever they are discarded, though, so wash all tools thoroughly to keep quackgrass from accidentally spreading.

Published: July 31, 2007
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