How to Get Rid of Quackgrass in Your Lawn?

Quackgrass is a widespread plant with a greenish-blue tint, large leaves, and a hollow stem. Unfortunately, it may be an annual battle because it is difficult to eradicate and spreads fast. Maintaining your lawn with regular cutting and watering is the safest strategy to prevent quackgrass. Dig up the roots of weeds in smaller regions or use solarization to kill them. Herbicides also kill quackgrass, but they also kill neighboring plants, so they’re usually only used when the ground has to be cleared.

There are three popular ways to control the invasion of quackgrass on your lawn. Physical methods are mostly preferred because they are cost-free and eco-friendly as compared to using chemicals in your lawn.  

What Does Quackgrass Look Like?

What Does Quackgrass Look Like

It’s rather simple to identify quackgrass. Quackgrass is, as its name implies, grass. The leaves will be wider than those of lawn grasses, and the grass blades will feel scratchy, almost burr-like when you run your fingers along with them. The roots will be thick and white. If you take the quackgrass out of the ground, the roots may break easily, and fragments of the roots may remain in the soil after the plant is gone.

How to Get Rid of Quackgrass?

How to Get Rid of Quackgrass

Your ingenuity and your gardening skills is surely going to help in tackling this nuisance called quackgrass in your lawn. All you need is a few tools or some herbicides, a little effort, and some of your precious time of the day.

Crowding out Quackgrass with Healthy Plants

  1. Plant a variety of grasses and cover plants throughout the area. Quackgrass can be suppressed by surrounding it with more strong plants. Spread plenty of grass seeds on a lawn, for example, to fill in gaps between the current grass blades. The fresh seed does not need to be tilled into the soil. The quackgrass won’t go straight away, but the new growth may keep it from spreading.
    • For every 1,000 sq ft (93 m2) of soil, you’ll need at least 2 lb (0.91 kilograms) of seed to overseed a lawn. Other grasses, such as bluegrass or ryegrass, may require more seeds.
    • Quackgrass may be controlled by overseeding without damaging existing vegetation. It works well on lawns and fields. If you don’t want to save the present plants, use solarization or a herbicide to clean the soil.
  2. Until the fresh seeds sprout, water the grass at least twice a day. Allowing the seeds to dry out will prevent the grass from becoming lush and luxuriant. For around 14 days, keep the first 14 in (0.64 cm) of soil wet after the seeds have germinated, water the grass deeply two or three times a week to maintain its health.
    • Each week, grass requires around 1 in (2.5 cm) water. During hot weather, you may need to water it more frequently.
    • Make a rain gauge to ensure that the lawn gets enough water. Also, examine how deep down the earth dries out by inserting your finger in it.
  3. Once the grass has grown to a height of 3 in (7.6 cm), mow it once a week. Set your lawnmower to a height of 3 inches (7.6 cm). Grass and quackgrass should both be cut short as needed. As much as possible, keep the real grass at this height. The grass will ultimately outgrow quackgrass.
    • To keep the quackgrass from overgrowing, you may need to mow the grass twice a week.
    • Cutting the grass too short might encourage the spread of quackgrass. It has the potential to grow quicker and higher than conventional grass. Slicing its root system also causes it to split into new plants.
  4. From spring until fall, use a nitrogen fertilizer every two weeks. Pick a granular or slow-release fertilizer, put it in a spreader, and walk it over the real grass. Quackgrass is inhibited by nitrogen, allowing excellent grass to grow dark and dense. For every 1,000 sq ft (93 m2) of soil, you’ll need roughly 14 pounds (0.11 kilogram) of fertilizer.
    • Examine the numbers on the fertilizer packets at the garden center. The first value represents the nitrogen content of the combination. 18-6-12 is an example of nitrogen-rich fertilizer.
    • You don’t need fertilizer in really dry conditions unless you can offer adequate water for the grass. Without enough water, the grass will not be able to absorb nitrogen.
  5. Maintain new growth each year until the quackgrass is completely gone. As your lawn grows, notice how the spots of quackgrass shrink year after year. The leaves will blend in at first, but the desired plants will gradually fill in the majority of the yard area. Keep feeding, watering, and mowing your grass to prevent new weeds from sprouting.
    • Some varieties of quackgrass can live for a long period. It’s a difficult plant to eradicate, but routine upkeep is the best way to do so without resorting to more harsh methods.
    • Spread a glyphosate herbicide on quackgrass leaves to hasten the process. Because the herbicide will destroy any other plants it comes into contact with, use a paintbrush to apply it carefully.

Removing Quackgrass by Hand

  1. Near the quackgrass, dig a hole about 1 ft (0.30 m) deep and broad. Dig down to the plant’s root system with a garden fork. To avoid injuring the roots, leave about 3 in (7.6 cm) between the quackgrass and the hole. Find a horizontal, white stem known as a rhizome and remove the soil away from it.
    • Digging may be difficult if the region contains healthy, non-invasive plants. Grass and other plants should be dug up without being damaged. Please place them in a safe place until you can relocate or replant them.
  2. Remove the quackgrass from the ground as gently as possible. Quackgrass rhizomes are extremely resilient and grow faster than you may imagine. Check to see if you got the entire plant by lifting the exposed roots out of the dirt. Take your time since any broken roots will most likely produce a new area of quackgrass.
    • Because a rototiller may chop up the roots, pulling the plants up by hand is preferable to till. Set the rototiller for 12 in (30 cm) and work in the summer if you want to try tilling. Turn the soil over and let the roots dry out for at least 4 days.
  3. Backfill the holes with dirt and smooth them out. With a shovel or another instrument, push the earth back into the holes. After that, level the ground with a rake. Remove any plant material you believe is from the quackgrass using a rake. Throw these away so they don’t have another chance to develop.
  4. Cover recurring quackgrass with a piece of transparent plastic. Cut the plastic to fit over the quackgrass-infested soil. To prevent the quackgrass from spreading further, cut the sheets 3 in (7.6 cm) bigger than the areas you want to treat. Then use boulders, bricks, or stakes to secure the plastic sheet.
    • Many home improvement businesses sell solarization sheets made of plastic. Make sure the sheet is transparent so that sunshine can reach the soil.
    • Any other plants trapped behind the sheet will be killed by solarization. Leave the sheet intact only if you want to clean up bigger regions or serious infestations. Cutting the sheet apart is a technique to treat smaller sections.
  5. In warm weather, leave the plastic covering in place for six weeks. Solarization is most effective in the spring and summer when the soil temperature is high enough to dry off the quackgrass. Allow plenty of time for the soil to warm up by leaving the plastic unattended.
    • The outdoor temperature must be approximately 60 °F (16 °C) or greater for this to operate.
    • The dead plants in the solarized zones do not need to be removed. To use as fertilizer, till them into the ground.
  6. If you want to cultivate a plant, reseed the area. Then, replace the quackgrass with fresh plants to keep the quackgrass from coming back. Spread seeds from whatever variety of grass you already have if you’re creating a section of your lawn. Alternatively, plant competitive crops like buckwheat, oats, rye, wheat, clover, or sorghum in the desolate land.
    • Another alternative is to mulch the area for at least six months using 3 in (7.6 cm) of mulch. The best approach for avoiding quackgrass is an opaque plastic mulch, but organic mulch also works.

Treating Quack Grass with Chemical

Note: Please be aware that the World Health Organization considers glyphosate a potential human carcinogen. In certain states and nations, it is illegal to use. Please verify your local laws before handling this chemical and use caution.

  1. To get rid of quackgrass, spray it with glyphosate. Unfortunately, no herbicides that specifically kill quackgrass are available on the market. Any flora that comes into contact with an all-purpose pesticide like glyphosate will be destroyed. Spray the chemical directly into the quackgrass while wearing long-sleeved garments, chemical-resistant gloves, rubber boots, and a respirator mask. Children and dogs should be kept out of the area for at least 4 hours.
    • Herbicides containing glyphosate may be found at most gardening centers and nurseries.
    • Use a paintbrush to distribute the herbicide across the quackgrass leaves to limit harm to adjacent plants.
  2. Fourteen days after the first treatment, reapply the glyphosate. Even if you believe you’ve removed the quackgrass, spray the entire growth area a second time. The fast-growing roots may have grown back into the cleaned soil somewhere else.
    • Glyphosate use will create dry areas in lawns and gardens, but it will keep quackgrass from taking over the entire yard.
  3. After seven days, rake up the area and seek additional quackgrass. If you choose, you may remove the dead grass or till it into the soil to use as fertilizer. Get a rototiller and set it to a minimum depth of 4 inches (10 cm). Turn the dirt up with the rototiller in the treated areas to prepare it for new seeds.
    • Rototillers may be rented at almost any home improvement store. Turn up the earth using a gardening fork or similar tool for smaller sections.
    • Keep an eye out for new growth in the treated regions. Ensure no quackgrass is left in places where you didn’t spray since it will quickly permeate the bare soil.
  4. If the quackgrass persists, cover the area with a plastic sheet. A plastic sheet is only used as a last option. Consider covering as much of the growing area as possible with a plastic sheet from a home improvement store if pesticides aren’t enough to limit weed growth. It should be weighted down and left in place for at least six weeks.
    • Divide the plastic into patches to treat smaller areas. It won’t get rid of all of the quackgrass if it’s widespread, but it will save the plants you want in your yard.
    • Yard coverings made of black plastic or tarps are also good, but transparent plastic retains heat more effectively. If you’re using colored plastic, keep it in situ for 8 to 12 weeks before checking on it.
  5. Plant fresh plants in the bare spots. After tilling the soil, sprinkle seed over it. Choose plant-like bluegrass, buckwheat, or tall fescue that grows thickly and quickly. Spread a thick layer of seeds over the whole area and treat any neighboring areas that appear to be thinning. Then, if needed, rinse and feed the soil to ensure that the new plants fill in the gaps.
    • Another alternative is to create a garden in the space. Mulch your new plants with heavy layers of organic mulch. Keep an eye on the mulch for signs of unwelcome growth.

How to Prevent Quackgrass Weed From Growing Again?

How to prevent Quackgrass weed from growing again

After you’ve prevented the spread of quackgrass, you’ll also have to be watchful to keep it at bay. Here are some actions to take to keep your lawn clear of quackgrass:

1. Nitrogen Fertilizer

Most weeds may be managed by adhering to proper management methods and ensuring that your grass is thick and strong enough to withstand an invasion. Use a nitrogen fertilizer to suffocate the quackgrass and allow your turfgrasses to outcompete weeds.

2. Monitor Soil

Check your lawn regularly during the growing season to ensure quackgrass hasn’t returned, and monitor the soil, especially, if you have loamy (equal parts sand and silt with minimal clay) or sandy soil (primarily sand with little silt and clay).

3. Assess New Plants

Monitor any houseplants you take home from supermarkets or nurseries to ensure that you haven’t mistakenly reintroduced quackgrass. If you find a plant or its roots in a container or planter, remove it completely.

If you notice a revival in your yard, take action quickly to minimize the spread by following the outlined measures.


In this article, we have summarized best practices to remove quackgrass permanently from your garden/lawn in a few days. Hope, you have found your best method out of the three practices. Chemical methods are not eco-friendly, so it should not be made a priority as it contains toxic chemicals. Physical methods that are environmentally friendly are widely used. 

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About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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