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How to Get rid of Quackgrass

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Quack grass is also known as quick grass, witch grass, devil’s grass, twitch, scutch, couch grass and quitch. As this bewildering array of names portray, it is arguably one of the hardest of weeds to control in your garden or lawn. Apart from that, quack grass is also a really invasive problem not just for horticulturists, but also their agriculturist counterparts as well. 

As a matter of fact, in the world of agriculture, it can effectively wrack havoc by significantly reducing total crop yields while simultaneously contaminating both grain seeds and even straw.

This is a devastating contagion that unless adequately contained, can easily spread to nearby fields by hitching a ride on tilling equipment and also though manure spreaders. What makes this weed truly nightmarish is that even chopping it into bits with a rototiller does nothing to stop its infestation. Rather it only makes it worse since the chopped roots (called rhizomes) have the potential of spawning into entirely new plants. In fact, the more finely chopped the roots, the bigger the subsequent quack grass infestation.

While controlling a runaway Quack grass infestation may be somewhat difficult, it is nevertheless not entirely impossible. In fact, there are many highly potent herbicides that can efficiently kill off quack grass, provided that they are properly applied in the first place. Apart from that, there do exist other mechanical and non-herbicidal options as well, that you can use easily use to get rid of this dreaded contagion, both at home, as well as in the field.

Identification of Quack grass

Quack grass (Elytrigia repens) comes from a family of perennial grass weeds. This family can reproduce and propagate courtesy of its seeds as well as the long, pale yellow rhizomes that are designed to spread outward right under the surface of the soil. This weed can easily grow up to a height of four feet, or so. The seed pod or head itself, ranges from around three to eight inches and moreover, can easily contain over two dozen seeds.

How to get rid of the ‘Devil’s grass?

As its very name implies, this is not exactly an easy weed to eliminate once it has taken hold. However, following these basic methods can go a long way in not only eliminated this scourge but also ensuring that your lawn and field remain safe from it, for a very long time indeed.

  • Use a potent herbicide

Since it is not easy to selectively kill Quack Grass while leaving all other vegetation intact; any herbicide should be used with a degree of caution. ‘Round up’ is one such herbicide that is up to the task of eradicating this troublesome weed. This is a popular weed removing agent that is easily available at most nurseries and garden stores.

However, if you want to protect the flora around the weed patch, try not to use a sprayer or an aerosol can, but rather a paintbrush to methodically coat the weed with the herbicide. Here, it is imperative that you wear heavy duty gloves and coveralls when using it, since it is a powerful poison and should always be handled with care and should be kept away from children.

There are a number of great herbicides which can effectively do away with quackgrass which we carry here at Solutions Pest & Lawn:  ROUNDUP PRO WEED KILLER, OUTRIDER HERBICIDE , FUSILADE II HERBICIDE, BROMACIL 40/40 BARE GROUND HERBICIDE.

  • Smother the Witch’s grass

Quack or Witch grass may well turn out to be ‘nearly’ impossible to kill if you do not want to harm or in any way, affect the neighboring plant life as well. But in case you have no issues with small patches of grass being affected and killed, then smothering is still a pretty good method. Here is how it works:

Simply place either dark plastic or a heavy-duty tarpaulin cover right over the location of the Quack grass infestation. If you want to ensure that the other plants near it are not affected in any way, then simply cut the tarp to the exact size of the Quack grass patch. You may use rocks and stones to anchor the outside edges of the cover so that it does not get blown away by the wind. The core purpose is to effectively block out both sunlight as well as the dew and rainwater from the plant. Since all plants including the Devil’s grass essentially use the process of photosynthesis to convert sunlight into natural energy to sustain life, being deprived of the same will eventually succeed in killing this weed off, provided you keep the affected patch (or patches as the case may be) covered for a period of at least one month, or so.

  • Solarize the weed

This is another interesting and cost effective way of doing that. I.e. instead of smothering it by denying it access to sunlight, you may do the diametrical opposite and simply overheat and kill it by exposing it to harsh sunlight over extended periods of time. This is easy to do in the summer months when the sun light is very harsh, as it is. In lieu of the dark plastic, try and use a clear plastic sheet over individual patches of Quack grass and make sure it remains in its place by tying the ends to stakes or if they are not available, simple place heavy rocks on the side. This will help create a ‘greenhouse effect’ right under the plastic sheet and thereby prevent the grass from growing and reproducing. Like the earlier method, it will also take several weeks but should get the job done, satisfactorily enough.


With a little hard work and attention to detail, it is possible to be rid of this ‘Devil’s grass”, once and for all. For more helpful lawn care advice, call us at 800-479-6583, email us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or live chat with a representative online.


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