Gerry's Blog



Question about Quackgrass


We notice that the grass areas are being over run with "Quack Grass".  Seems to be a problem throughout Millcroft.  Is there a lawn maintenance product that can take care of the problem ???  Would you please advise me about the "quackgrass."


Hi Dennis

First, is to determine what it is. Quackgrass, crabgrass, bentgrass?

If it is crabgrass, this is an annual weed that comes up from seed and dies every winter. Nowadays, the only application is to put a seed germinating preventer on before the crabgrass germinating season.

There are also a couple of other annual grasses - foxtail and barnyard grass. Treat them more or less as you would crabgrass. This time of year- remove manually to reduce the seed production. Then cultural practices will help fight it. Mowing height is especially important.

Quackgrass, on the other hand, is a perennial grass. It doesn't die in the winter. Crabgrass preventer products may reduce germination, but do nothing for existing plants. Normally quackgrass doesn't go to seed in regularly mown turf.

The only product that will control quackgrass is a non-selective herbicide like Roundup although, under McGuinty's current Pesticide Ban legistlation, this product is not legal for use in this manner.

So, if it is quackgrass, digging it up is possible, but the underground stems or rhizomes can be up to 12" deep. A small piece of the root (as small as a few inches long) left behind in the soil has the ability to grow into a new plant. These rhizomes on an established plant can grow sideways and pop up a foot away from the original plant. This is why it is hard to eradicate by digging. You may dig up the mother plant as well as the daughter plant, but if the underground rhizome connecting the two is left behind, it will re-infest the lawn.

Quackgrass tends to grow more upright, while crabgrass tends to grow more horizontally (which does allow the seedheads to develop below mowing height and produce thousands of seeds per plant.)

Quackgrass tends tio grow faster than the regular grass. After the mowing, the quackgrass will stand up above the rest of the lawn in a day or two.

Cutting the lawn more often will help the lawn to better compete against quackgrass. This is not something that can be done for a couple of months and make the quackgrass disappear. The problem is that a hot dry summer allows quackgrass with its deep roots to survive better during drought conditions.


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