The invasive species known as quack grass is extremely tough to remove from your yard once it has successfully taken over. However, even the worst of quack grass infestations can be eliminated if one has proper knowledge about how the plant grows.
Understanding Quack Grass
Quack grass reproduces itself underground through rhizomes and can grow up to four feet if it is allowed to. The average quack grass plant produces about thirty seeds that can remain viable up to four years. For these reasons, quack grass is extremely vivacious and maintains a lasting presence in the yard.
Since quack grass reproduces through rhizomes it cannot be removed by digging. Rhizomes are an underground network of stems that quickly sprout new plants when broken or chopped up. Therefore it is important that you do not rotatill over an area that has quack grass. The chopped up rhizomes of a few quack grass plants will quickly multiply into hundreds.
One plant of quack grass can grow up to three hundred feet of rhizomes each year. Their rhizomes are strong enough to grow through almost any other root system and even emerge through thick asphalt. For these reasons, you must anticipate spending several seasons trying to control the invasive grass.
Two Ways to Remove Quack Grass
Immature quack grass plants do not grow rhizomes until they are two or three months old and must be removed before they reach maturity. One way to remove mature quack grass plants is to spray them with a herbicide that contains glyphosate. This chemical is included in the herbicides Round Up and Kleen Up.
Important: Apply the herbicide during the grass’s growing season when they are actively growing. Remember that the herbicide will kill both quack and desirable lawn grass so be careful to only spray quack grass patches.
Another method you may choose to employ is to mow your lawn and then wait three or four days. Since quack grass grows faster and taller than ordinary grass, after four days the quack grass infestation will become apparent. Use a paint brush to apply the herbicide directly onto the quack grass.
Since it is such an adaptable and strong plant, it will probably take several applications before the grass is completely eradicated.
If you find that the quack grass simply cannot be destroyed there is one last method of destruction you can try. In many cases, the rhizomes of the quack grass remain dormant even though the plant is actively growing. Therefore, when the herbicide wears off, the dormant rhizomes reactivate and create another plant.
To combat this problem, apply nitrogen fertilizer to the quack grass infested areas. The fertilizer will “wake up” the dormant rhizomes and allow them to be destroyed by the glyphosate when you next apply it.