Identifying Quackgrass

Lead Image

Quackgrass is a persistent perennial weed that can take tremendous effort to remove from the lawn or garden. Recognizing this weed is often a matter of knowing how to distinguish it from other common weeds. Once you have made a correct identification of this pesky grass, you can work to eradicate it from your lawn.

TIP: Our expert gardening advisor, Susan Patterson adds, "Quackgrass is extremely uncomfortable to walk upon."

What Does Quackgrass Look Like?

Quackgrass is a weed that grows in patches or mats. The blades are usually broad (up to 1/3 of an inch wide), tapered, and attached to a hollow stem. Unlike crabgrass, they do not branch off, but instead, the clump of blades attach to a central patch of weeds. The color is a deep green-blue and often it turns brown in the heat of the summer.

TIP: Susan advises,"Quackgrass grows much faster than other types of grass. Watch for the clumps of tall grass to sprout up shortly after you mow."

Quackgrass Versus Crabgrass

It can be easy to mistake quackgrass for crabgrass. However, crabgrass is much easier to eradicate and remove. One of the easiest ways to distinguish between the two plants other than looking at how the blades are attached to the plant, is to try and pull the plant up out of the ground. Crabgrass has very shallow roots, making it very easy to pull up, even if it is a relatively large plant.

Quackgrass, on the other hand, has very deep roots made of rhizomes. This makes a large established plant almost impossible to pull up out of the ground. Usually, these efforts only result in the plant breaking off at the base, but the roots remain so that the plant continues to thrive.

If you have a patch of quackgrass in your yard, be prepared to work diligently to remove and completely get rid of this annoying weed. Even with the use of herbicides, it may take several seasons of effort before it is completely gone.