Cleveland Weeds – Quackgrass

This is a post that relates to the Cleveland Weeds project.

In this post I am going to cover Quackgrass

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Latin Name: Elytrigia repens
Common Names: Quackgrass, Couchgrass, Dog grass
Lifespan: Perennial

Conditions it likes: This weed will grow just about anywhere but is particularly invasive in sandy soil as it can spread more easily through it.

Spreading habits: Spread by seeds or creeping rhizomes.

Best way to eliminate it from your garden:

Organic: Weed early and frequently as the plant needs at least 2 months for the dreaded rhizomes to develop on it’s roots. If you get them while they are babies, you’ll have a better chance of getting rid of them.

If the infestation is already established, weed the infected area vigorously. Try to get as much of the roots of the plant as possible, but, just so you don’t feel bad, it’s near impossible to get them all as they are designed to break when pulled. After weeding, lay down a very heavy layer of mulch, at least several inches thick. You should probably use an under mulch layer of newspaper or, even better, plastic as well. (yes, it is that strong)

The mulch will need to stay in place for at least two years, possibly longer, due to the fact that the creeping rhizomes that remain in the ground after weeding may still be viable for this amount of time. If your infestation is particularly bad and you have sandy soil, you may want to amend your soil with some humus and compost.

Non-Organic: Quackgrass is only affected by all or nothing herbicides like Roundup. Weed only herbicides will not affect it. If the infestation is small and secluded spray the herbicide on as directed by the manufacturer. If the infestation is small and in mixed in with plants you would like to keep, try mixing the solution as directed by the manufacturer in a small open topped container and paint it onto the leaves of the quackgrass with a small paintbrush. You can also use the soda bottle method of herbicide application. Click here to read about how to make a soda bottle herbicide applicator. Apply herbicide in the spring or early summer when the weed is in growth mode.

Notes of interest: Quackgrass is actually a medicinal herb. It can be used for helping with urinary related problems. Pets like to eat this grass too as it helps with because of its medicinal qualities. Quackgrass is also food for a few types of caterpillars, such as the Long-dash skipper butterfly caterpillar.

This gardener’s rating of this weed: Spawn of Satan and the Energizer Bunny. Hard as hell to get rid of because it just keeps going and going.

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