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quackgrassHow to Remove Quackgrass from your garden and turf

Quack, quack! Don’t let the funny name fool you, Quackgrass is no laughing matter,causing agitated lawn owners to go into fits from its persistence and rapidly spreading. Eliminating this weed from your garden can be frustrating job but it can be done. Getting rid of quackgrass requires persistence. We here at Solutions Pest and Lawn know the best methods and products to get rid of this troublesome plant. Read on to learn more about it and how you can choke this invader from your lawn for good.

In order to be successful in eliminating quackgrass it is best to first arm yourself--not with herbicide products or a weed whacker, but with knowledge. Getting some background information on quackgrass and doing a little bit of homework on the weed goes a long way because you will learn what conditions this type of weed likes, what it doesn’t like and then based on the information, approach with a focused control program.

Solutions Pest & Lawn is dedicated to providing you with not only the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry, but also with easy to digest and understand DIY information and advice to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

Our motto is, “Ask us how, then do it yourself”. Aside from our customer service line where you can talk live to an expert, you can also email us your specific questions and concerns at askapro@solutionsstores.com and we’ll be happy to help guide you in the right direction.

Check out our top recommended herbicide products for quackgrass control below and then scroll further down to learn more about this pesky weed as well as get in-depth information on how to eliminate this weed from your property using our patented 4 step process.

How To Get Rid of Quackgrass: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification It's important to identify the type of weed you have to make sure that it is actually quackgrass and not some other similar looking invasive weed. Correctly identifying the weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you in aquiring more information about the weed such as what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and also which one of our products can best treat that particular weed.

This is important because some more stubborn weeds have a high tolerance or resistence to particular herbicides and control methods and are specifically labeled for certain weeds and not for others. If you misdiagnose the weed on your lawn as barnyardgrass when it isn't, you may purchase a herbicide not meant to tackle it and it will lead to disappointing results and overall, a waste of money.

When quackgrass is established, it can stand out easily amongst your other plants. Quackgrass is a creeping, sod-forming perennial grass. Some of its traits are that its straw-colored, has sharp-tipped rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) and a pair of whitish-green to reddish, claw-like structures (auricles) that grasp the stem of the plant at the top of the sheath. On lawns you'll notice it as a taller grass among your desired grasses because it tends to grow very quickly in a short amount of time. It reproduces through seed and creeping rhizomes. This species can form large patches.


Quackgrass may be confused with tall fescue and crabgrass . However, these species of plant do not have the long appendages (auricles) which are present at the mid point between the leaf blade and sheath in quackgrass.


If you are unsure of what weed you have, you can contact us at identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.


Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Quackgrass is known to grow rapidly in very little time and can potentially take over an entire lawn, standing out like an ugly sore thumb. It's best to catch these plants early and treat them because of how they grow. Quackgrass grows from underground rhizomes which have a joint or node at one inch intervals. At each of these nodes, roots can form and a blade of grass can sprout. One plant can produce 300 feet of rhizomes per year.

Aside from checking the severity of its presence, also check what maturity level the quackgrass is at because if they are more mature, you're looking at a more difficult time removing the plant. 

Step Three: Control. Quackgrass is a terribly difficult grass to control and can be a nighmare to try to remove via manual or mechanical control methods and can actually make the problem worse because pieces of rhizome that you may leave behind will just take root and sprout into a new plant. The best option for control is utilizing chemical herbicides.

If you have a minor quackgrass problem then spot treatment with a glyphosate based herbicide such as RoundUp Pro Weed Killer or a selective herbicide like Outrider Herbicide should suffice. You could also choose to manage the problem via fertilizing your lawn as a good nitrogen fertilizer can choke out the quackgrass and enable your desired grasses to grow faster and outcompete the quackgrass.

If you have a larger infestation of quackgrass and it's overtaking your lawn, you may have no choice but to kill off the entire lawn and start from scratch via reseeding. You could use RoundUp for that or go with Bromacil 40/40 Bare Ground Herbicide.

You may need to do multiple repeat applications if the weed is particularly persistent and problematic. Apply a nitrogen fertilizer to increase the uptake of your selected herbicide. Once you have applied your selected herbicide, apply a second herbicide treatment after 10 to 14 days and then reseed once all the plant life has died.


Step Four: Prevention. After you have eliminated quackgrass from your property, you need to implement culture practices and proper lawn maintenance to keep quackgrass from returning. Fertilize and mow your lawn on a regular basis to promote dense, fast-growing turf that will out-compete quackgrass. Monitor your lawn weekly during the growing season to ensure quackgrass has not returned.


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Learn More About Quackgrass

Quackgrass (Elymus repens) is a perennial weed and a very difficult weed to control when it emerges upon lawns.The Latin name for quackgrass translates as 'sudden field of fire', and attests to its sheer ability to quickly take over lawns, fields and gardens. Quackgrass is actually native to Europe and has been growing in the U.S. for over 200 years in all states except Arizona, Florida and Hawaii.

The leaves are typically broader than lawn type grasses and the grass blades have a rough almost burr-like feel to them when the blade is felt by fingers. The roots are thick and white. When pulled from the ground, quackgrass roots break easily and often pieces of the roots will stay in the soil after the plant is removed.

Quackgrass grows from underground rhizomes to an unmowed height of 1 to 4 feet. It has thin, flat, bright ashy green leaf blades. The seed spike grows from 3 to 8 inches long and appears in July. Each quackgrass plant produces about 25 seeds which can remain viable between 3 to 5 years in the soil. It takes 2 to 3 months for a newly germinated plant to develop rhizomes. It is very important to eliminate the plants before they reach this stage.

Rhizomes (underground stems) vary from yellow to white, 1/8" in diameter, with distinct joints or nodes every inch or so. Each node has the ability to produce fibrous roots, which sends a new blade of grass through the soil. If left to grow, they will form a dense mat 4" thick in the upper part of the soil. One plant can produce 300 feet of rhizomes each year.

In the home garden, quackgrass can invade gardens containing perennial flowers or vegetables, making it extremely difficult to eliminate.


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Quackgrass Control Options

Recommended Pre-emergent and Post-emergent Herbicides: RoundUp Pro Weed KillerOutrider Herbicide, Fusilade II HerbicideBromacil 40/40 Bare Ground Herbicide

As with any invasive weed, the best way to control quackgrass is to make sure that you do not have it in the begin with. Any plants that you bring home from stores or nurseries must be carefully checked for quackgrass and remove the quackgrass plant and roots completely if discovered. Another essential part of getting rid of quackgrass is to act quickly when you do find it in your garden. Quackgrass moves rapidly through any soil, but moves like wildfire through loamy or sandy soil.

Check your beds often for any trace of this invader. If quackgrass is found, remove the quackgrass plant and roots as best as possible. Check the area daily for any new growth and remove any new quackgrass found as soon as possible. If your flower beds or lawn turf have become overrun with quackgrass, herbicide application is usually hit or miss because quackgrass tends to be resistant to weed killers and not respond well when applied.

Here at Solutions, we carry some selective herbicides which claim to remove quackgrass but it will require timing and persistence on your end to ensure that they are completely eradicated. We have listed them above.  If the quackgrass doesn’t take to the selective herbicides, your best best is using RoundUp or Glyphosate, which is a non-selective weed killer. Glyphosate is certain to eliminate quackgrass but will also kill any plants the quack grass is growing near.

Whether you go selective or non-selective with your herbicide, you will need to commit to conducting follow-up applications. Wait one week and treat the area again. Wait one more week, and if quackgrass is starting to grow again, repeat application. While this may seem a bit extreme in order to control quackgrass, this is the only way to ensure that you have eliminated this stubborn weed. This approach may be somewhat time consuming, so it is important to treat this weed early and fast. The reward is that you never have to worry about getting rid of quackgrass that has taken over a once beautiful flower bed.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying

Quackgrass Control Tips and Recommendations

  • A good tool to use to aid with your herbicide application is mixing your selected herbicide with a surfactant so that your application can stick to the goosegrass and not runoff. You should also use a Spray Pattern indicator to mark areas of your lawn that you have already treated with herbicide to avoid over spraying.

  • Please follow instructions on the label when handling herbicides. Weed killers vary when it comes to application rates.

  • Herbicides can be harmful if you come in contact with it. Protect your eyes, skin, mouth and nose by wearing protective equipment any time you handle herbicide chemicals.

  • Browse our knowledge base and check out our helpful How-To Videos to get more thorough step-by-step guidance in applying the herbicides we carry.

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials

To get more information on controlling quackgrass and other troublesome weeds in your yard as well as receive free help over the phone, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.


Additional Resources on Quackgrass

Quackgrass (P) (Elytrigia repens) - family: Poaceae (Grass) - MSU Turf 



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