Expert Advice

Quackgrass

Problem

One of the most difficult weeds to get rid off due to the extensive root system that may grow 5 feet or more in a single growing season. The narrow blades grow on stalks 1-3 feet tall. The spikes produce seeds from May to September. The roots send new shoots, which increases the infestation. Quackgrass can grow in any type of soil and can choke out other plants due to the competitive root system. Hand digging often does not solve the problem when it has been spreading roots for multiple seasons because if any root pieces are left behind, it will generate new plants.

Life Cycle

The spikes produce seeds from May to September and the seeds may survive in the soil for up to 4 years but most often germinate in the spring within 2 years.

Solution

The best defence against quackrass is a healthy lawn. If your lawn is fertilized regularly, mowed accurately and irrigated properly it will be able to withstand and choke out a weed invasion. First and foremost, watering deep but less frequent will allow the roots of your grass to deepen and in turn prevent the growth of all kinds of weeds. If we think about how seeds germinate like a newly planted lawn, the more often we water the more likely new grass seeds would germinate. So, anything we can do to avoid providing constant moisture to a weed seed bed by watering deeply enough that the existing plants have water in their root zone and even if a new weed germinated, it wouldn’t be able to source enough water long enough to survive.

Always keep your lawn around 3” long, this will give your soil some shade and will prevent any weeds from germinating, especially along the edges. All seeds regardless of type need sunlight at the soil where the seed is present to germinate, so remembering that like mulch in your gardens, if we can prevent the sunlight from reaching the seed when the conditions are favorable for germination, the seed won’t germinate.

If you do get the occasional weed on your lawn, the best solution would be pulling out the weed with its roots or by applying a selective weed control product that is available at your local retail outlet. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and need professional help, we offer a 6 visit program with weed control to help your lawn withstand weed invasion. If you have any questions about weeds on your lawn, don’t hesitate to give us a call and a lawn care specialist will be happy help.