Have you noticed a different type of grass popping up within your lawn? It’s pretty obvious when something new pops up that doesn’t blend in with the rest of your lawn. Chances are, your lawn has been infested by quackgrass!
What is Quackgrass?
Quackgrass is a creeping perennial grass that is considered to be a weed. It looks similar to annual ryegrass and may also resemble crabgrass; however quackgrass is easily noticed by its long tapered blades that are thicker than the average blade of grass, usually about 1/3 inch thick and attached to a hollow stem. Quackgrass also has a distinctive leaf blade that wraps around the stem of the plant with clasping auricles. Unlike the shallow roots of crabgrass, quackgrass has very deep roots made up of rhizomes.
How did it get in my Lawn?
Quackgrass typically is found in vacant fields or along roadsides that are not regularly mowed. Typically during the month of June, the grass plant will begin to produce seeds. These seeds are then transferred from the plant by birds or wind to new areas where they are able to begin the germination process and eventually grow into the troublesome weed that homeowners despise. Quackgrass seeds can also be introduced into a lawn from straw bales used when seeding a lawn.
Quackgrass is also spread by rhizomes beneath the surface, similar to how yellow nutsedge is spread. These rhizomes can travel from one lawn to the next, producing new quackgrass plants along the way.
How to Get Rid of Quackgrass?
Due to it being a grassy weed, it may not respond well to typical post emergent herbicide (weed control) applications. Hand pulling quackgrass is a cumbersome option because of the extensive rhizomes beneath the surface. Each rhizome has the capability to produce a new plant and removing every single rhizome is nearly impossible. The process to eradicate this noxious weed may differ based on the infestation within your turf; random spots or throughout the entire lawn.
Chemical Removal – This process includes using a non-selective herbicide, such as round-up, to kill the quackgrass while it is actively growing. Using a non-selective herbicide may take several applications to completely kill off the infestation. Once the quackgrass has died off completely, the area should then be seeded.
Management Option – This process consists of increased fertilizer treatments which will cause your lawn to grow faster and begin to choke out the quackgrass. However, additional nitrogen applications will require increased mowing and should only be done while your lawn is actively growing in the spring or fall. Following this process can take some time, possibly a complete growing cycle or year. Also, it should be noted that during the summer months, quackgrass does not tolerate the heat and may begin to look as if it is dying off, but don’t be surprised if it returns in the fall.
As always, the best way to prevent weeds from popping up within the lawn is to ensure the lawn has a thick and healthy stand of grass. The thicker the lawn, the less room weeds have to grow. Also, mowing at a higher setting will shade the ground and prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, where weed seeds sit & wait for the optimum conditions to grow.
Sum it up
Annoying quackgrass can be a nuisance to homeowners, but with the proper steps for eradication, it can be kept under control and out of your lawn. Look for quackgrass early so it can be dealt with before reaching a mature state.
It is always a good idea to consult with a lawn care professional and ask any questions you may have. Look around, ask friends or family, and research lawn care service providers on the Better Business Bureau to find a company that you can trust.