QUACKGRASS

(Elytrigia repens)

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COMMON NAMES:

Couch grass and dog grass

DESCRIPTION:

Quackgrass is an aggressive perennial grass reproducing by seed or spreading by a shallow mass of long, slender, branching rhizomes. Rhizomes are usually yellowish-white, sharp pointing and somewhat fleshy, yet able to penetrate the hard soils. The stems are erect and are usually 1 to 3 feet tall. The leaf blades are ¼ to ½ inch wide, flat, pointed and have small auricles at the junction of the blade and sheath. Leaf sheaths and the upper surface of the leaf blade may be thinly covered with soft hairs. Spikelets are arranged in two long rows, borne flatwise to the stem. Quackgrass seeds germinate in early spring, and flowering occurs from late May to September. One plant can produce over 400 seeds and can only remain in the soil for up to 4 years. Quackgrass remains green all year round.

KEY FEATURES OF QUACKGRASS:

Quackgrass is creeping perennial grass and is characterized by its straw-colored, sharp-tipped rhizomes. The roots are slender and extensively spreading rhizomes are white to pale yellow with brownish sheaths at the joints that gives them a scaly appearance.

HABITAT:

Quackgrass can be found in crops, fields, roadsides, river banks, lawns, waste places and right-of-ways

CONTROL:

There are herbicides and other control methods that commonly control quackgrass. For more information on these herbicides and other control methods contact the CCWP office.

OTHER FACTS:

Quackgrass has a high tolerance for drought and salinity and it prefers neutral to alkaline soils. It can make for good forage and the total crude protein content is comparable to Timothy hay. Nitrogen levels in Quackgrass are high enough, without reaching toxic levels to be appropriate to cattle feed.