The Quackgrass Guides & How to Kill It

It is such a tricky job when it comes to eliminating quackgrass in your garden. However, removing the grass is not an impossible task to do.

You probably notice that there are various types of grasses around the backyard.

The grass would look very obvious because it does not blend with the color of the grasses in your outdoor space.

To remove the grass, it needs persistence. This article presents detailed information about this problem and the right treatment for it.


What is Quackgrass?

Quackgrass has been shown to be allelopathic, which means it releases chemicals that inhibit the growth of other plants.

Quackgrass is famous for witchgrass or couch grass that is considered to be a weed. It is one of a creeping perennial species.

What does quackgrass look like? Compared to the annual ryegrass, they look similar. It consists of long tapered blades that are quite thicker than the average grass.

They are also attached to a hollow stem. Its distinctive leaf blade goes around the stem. Besides, you might see it clasping auricles. The roots of witchgrass have is very deep and it is made of rhizomes.

Quackgrass’s Latin name is the Elymus repens. This cool-season perennial would spread vigorously by rhizomes. Also, it can attach the law by crowing out the existing grasses or other weeds.

According to research, quackgrass is shown to be allelopathic. That is why it is not good for your lawn since it can inhibit the growth of nearby plants with its chemical releases.

Moreover, this kind of grass can form because of its invasive nature and the production of rhizome that could go extensive.

The Quackgrass Identification Method

Method of controlling Quack grass is to apply a non-selective herbicide that contains the active ingredient Glyphosate.
Quackgrass Control

Identifying the quackgrass is easy because it is very obvious on your lawn. Indeed, it is a grass that has broader leaves than the grasses that are usually grown on a lawn.

The blades are rough with a burr-like feel. You can feel it yourself when checking it.

The most distinct method of identification you can is to notice the clasping auricles. It is unlike any other type of grass. The presence of rhizomes would also be the signs you should pay attention to.

Just compare the quackgrass with the annual ryegrass which does not have rhizomes. Quackgrass also has hairy lower sheats and smooths upper sheaths.

Sometimes, the ashy, blue-green color of the leaves has a longitudinal twist.

Interesting Facts

Quackgrass is a creeping, sod-forming perennial grass, characterized by its straw-colored, sharp-tipped rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) and the pair of whitish-green to reddish, claw-like structures (auricles) that clasp the stem at the top of the sheath.
Quackgrass Pictures
  • Quackgrass is a B-rated noxious weed that is found throughout California that would go up to 5900 feet. Primarily, you will find it in coastal and northern regions.
  • The habitat of this weed is in moist meadows, urban landscapes, cultivated fields, and other sites with disturbance.
  • The obvious characteristic of this weed is the narrower blades compared to other mature plants and the developed auricles.
  • The young plant of quackgrass sprout from underground stem buds.
  • The mature plant for this weed can form clumps. The growth can reach about 4 feet tall. The flat leaves would be rolled in the bud.
  • It has an open sheath. It can be hairless or short-hairy.
  • There is an opportunity to look at its flowers. It would start growing in May until September.
  • This weed reproduces using seeds the horizontal creeping stems called rhizomes.

The Quackgrass Control

Quackgrass can be distinguished from annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) with the presence of rhizomes.
Quackgrass Identification

Controlling the spreading of witchgrass is crucial to keep the grass in your lawn green and healthy. There are two types of control you should think about.

They are cultural and chemical control. For those who might be wondering, currently, there is no biological control for this grass.

  • Cultural Control
    The best defense of couch grass is a healthy and compact yard. You have to avoid soil disturbance because when you have it near a patch of witchgrass.

Then, it will assist in the propagation and spread. Tillage would make the problem even worse.

If you want to do the reestablishing to your turf sward, consider laying sod to seeding. Thus, it would stop the rhizomes from surfacing.

  • Chemical Control
    You can apply the Spot-treating method to deal with couch grass. Try having the glyphosate (Roundup).

Using a nonselective systemic herbicide will help to control the witchgrass spreading in your cool-seasons lawn.

It is better to apply the chemical when the witchgrass in your lawn still is fully green, young, and growing actively. Avoid doing the application when it is still under drought stress.

It is necessary to utilize at least two applications. If necessary, you can apply three times or more according to the severe level.

Furthermore, it is important to let the weed to regrow before applying another glyphosate.

Preventing and Removing Witchgrass

The best option for control is utilizing chemical herbicides. If Quackgrass is seen in your turf, we recommend Certainty Herbicide.
Remove Quackgrass

Prevention is always better than killing the weeds. The best way to control the couch grass is by avoiding them in the yard in the first area.

Indeed, this problem does not always occur in a wide area of plants. It can also happen in potted plants.

However, it would be very easy to deal with witchgrass when it only happens inside a container or pot.

Well, you can just remove the weed completely with the roots immediately. Thus, it is very important to act quickly after the grass appears.

Witchgrasses have a quick movement throughout any type of soil. When it is loamy and sandy, they would be quicker than ever.

Therefore, keep checking your plants and lawn regularly. Remove them as best as possible. Do not forget the roots, because they would eventually regrow quickly.

To prevent the lawn from quackgrass, you have to give your lawn the best treatment and care. Because, when the stand of grass is thick and healthy, weeds will not pop up.

When you have a thicker lawn, the weeds will have less opportunity to grow. Besides, mowing the lawn with a higher setting can also be a good prevention method.

Further, it will eventually shade the ground and protect the soil from sunlight.

The soil that gets the sunlight would assist the weed seeds to grow. They actually wait for the best conditions to grow on the lawn. So, you just have to prevent that to happen.

Dealing with Couch Grass in Early Lifecycle

Quackgrass and crabgrass look somewhat alike, but they are very different. For one thing, quackgrass is a cool-season perennial (note its ability to grow in the high mountains) where crabgrass is a warm-season annual.
Quackgrass vs Crabgrass

If you want to get rid of this problem on your lawn, the first thing to do is take non-invasive steps that will give a low impact.

It might ensure that you do not ruin the nearby plants. Finding the best way to kill witchgrass is not hard because the method would be similar for other weeds.

Most weeds including the quackgrass would grow rapidly. You have to act as soon as possible to eliminate the grasses and force them to retreat.

During the early lifecycle of this weed, you can also take some actions to control the spreading.

First, you should ensure that it is the quackgrass. The appearance may be similar to desirable grasses. It will be quite difficult to spot it at this stage.

If you are not sure, just wait until it gets to a mature stage and push past the surrounding grasses.

However, for those who can identify the young quackgrass, it would be a great time to take action as prevention taking over your landscape.

Meanwhile, if the problem occurs on potted plants, consider a relocation of the plants.

Overcrowding Witchgrass

Crabgrass is a warm-season annual that germinates, lives and dies all in the same year. But crabgrass problems don't end with the growing season.

When the lawn is already filled with quackgrass, you have to be aggressive and overwhelm the weeds.

In the areas where there is witchgrass growing, plant new grass seed. This method would often take care of the weed issue.

Doing any damage to the topsoil is not necessary. You will need grass seed about 2 lbs per 1,000 square feet, nitrogen fertilizer, and a seed spreader. It is an aggressive move but quite effective.

How to Kill Quackgrass

Quackgrass has leaves that are typically wider than lawn type grasses and the grass blades have a rough texture when the blade is felt by fingers.
Get Rid Quackgrass

If the prevention is not enough for your lawn, you just need to find the best way to kill the weeds as quickly as possible.

Then, you will get your outdoor space back to beautiful. Here are some practical methods to do it without using chemicals.

  • Digging up the Quackgrass carefully.
    Utilize a shovel to take off the quackgrass from the lawn. Remember to do it carefully, avoid breaking up the rhizomes that would cause spreading.

Prepare the gardening gloves, grass seeds, gardening trowel or shovel, and trash bags.

  • Solarizing them
    Quackgrass would be dead if the physical limits get exceeded. The weeds cannot handle too much heat.

So, give them a lot of heat from the sun using a plastic covering or duct tape. Also, weights or stones can be helpful.

Besides having those methods, you can use a DIY solution to kill the quackgrass effectively. A herbicide would be a good thing to consider.

There is no need to buy commercial products on the market. Just use the materials in the kitchen.

Two cups of vinegar with 10% acidity and ten drops of citrus oil would make an effective solution to kill the weeds.

Pour the mix inside a sprayer. Do not forget to wear safety equipment for protection.

If you have the budget to deal with the quackgrass, get some commercial weed killer products from the store.

Search for the herbicides that contain chemicals called glyphosate. Remember to check the label for guides.


Weeds like Quackgrass could be a big problem for your lawn and plants. It can ruin the attractive turf you have and make it shabby.

Knowing detailed knowledge about it and the method of killing it would be very helpful to perceive what to do next.

Leave a Comment