Details and Information

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 that clasp the stem. 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

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. Glyphosate is effective for quackgrass, but is not selective so only use in areas where all vegetation can be killed. Grazing, mowing, and cultivation can cause further spread of quackgrass by stimulating rhizome growth. 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.