How to Get Rid of Quack Grass

Quackgrass is a relatively common weed recognizable by it's stalky, thick stems and wide blades of grass attached, also known as devils grass, quick grass, and knot grass. Unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult weeds to get rid of. It is not impossible though; try one of these many methods of quackgrass removal.


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    Smother the quackgrass. Quackgrass can be nearly impossible to kill without affecting the neighboring plant life, but if you don’t mind small patches of grass being killed then this is a good method. Place dark plastic or tarp over the location of the quack grass patches (cut the plastic to fit) and use rocks to anchor the edges. This will block out the sunlight and rainwater, effectively killing off the quack grass over a 3-4 week period.
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    Solarize the grass. Instead of removing the sunlight from the grass, why not overheat the weed and kill it with too much sun? Place clear plastic over each patch of quackgrass, and anchor it with rocks or stakes. This will create a greenhouse effect within the bag, and solarize the soil the grass is growing in. This will take several weeks to complete, but it should kill most of the grass.[1]
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    Use an herbicide. Unfortunately, there are no herbicides on the market that selectively kill just quackgrass (other than expensive professional products). Therefore, using an herbicide is guaranteed to kill your quackgrass, but it is also guaranteed to kill any other grass or plants around it. The only successful herbicide for this task is ‘Round-Up’, which is available at most garden stores and nurseries.
    • If you want to try to get a more selective quackgrass kill, use a paintbrush and paint the Round-Up onto the leaves of the quackgrass instead of spraying or pouring it on.
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    Dig it up. Quackgrass grows using a specific root-form called rhizomes which grow deep into the ground and are very hardy. As a result, it is nearly impossible to completely dig them out, but you can try with some minor success. Dig out the grass with the dirt surrounding it about 1 foot (0.3 m) deep and wide. Pull out any roots that you can see, but avoid breaking them off (as each could sprout a new patch of grass). Fill the hole with fresh topsoil, and cover with black plastic or thick mulch to prevent a new patch from coming back.[2]
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    Suppress the grass with another crop. If you’re not bothered by planting something other than grass to block out the quackgrass, then you can effectively suppress the weed by seeding a more vigorous green plant. Try planting buckwheat, which will dominate the quackgrass and take up most of the soil space. When the buckwheat flowers, you can till it into the soil and further suppress quackgrass growth.[3]
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    Maintain and manage the weed. If you’re not up for killing your lawn or putting a lot of time into eliminating your quackgrass, then don’t! You can effectively manage the quackgrass in your lawn by forcing it to blend in. Increase the amount of nitrogen fertilizer you use on your lawn to help with the health of your preferred grass. Mow it frequently as well to limit the appearance of the quackgrass.[4]


  • Avoid tilling the quackgrass, as the broken rhizomes can each sprout a new patch of the weed.

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Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds