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Quackgrass

Elytrigia repens = Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv (L.) Nevski


Family: Poaceae

Habit: rhizomatous perennial


Ecology

Management:

If the infestation is not severe, regular hoeing or pulling of the quackgrass can eliminate the plant. Try to remove the shoots before the 4th leaf develops as this is the point at which nutrients are transported back replenish the rhizomes. If the soil is moist or loosened by tillage, slow pulling can sometimes bring up a substantial portion of the rhizome system (Pulling weeds, Tilth & weeding) .

The most effective ways of reducing or eliminating severe quackgrass infestations in organic gardens is by removing the rhizomes during spading of the soil (Remove storage organs) or by exhausting the rhizomes (Exhaust perennial roots, Clean fallow). For quackgrass, the latter approach is most effective if the initial tillage is deep enough to cut up even the deeper rhizomes (around 6 inches or 15 cm) and thorough enough to chop them into small pieces. Subsequent cultivations can be very shallow and should occur by the time the plants are beginning to develop their 4th leaf. This works best if begun in July or early Aug. and continued through Sept, but the procedure will work best if the quackgrass is held in check by hoeing, cutivation or mowing prior to the first tillage. Just prior to the last cultivation sow rye at a high seeding rate (e.g., 0.5 to 1 lb / 100 ft2, or 0.24 to 0.48 kg/ 10 m2). The light tilling or hoeing will cover the rye seed, and the subsequent thick growth of rye will compete with any quackgrass that emerges late in the season and help restore soil organic matter lost during repeated cultivation. Conscientious hoeing of escapes the following season may be needed to complete the job.

Frequent close mowing of adjacent vegetation will reduce the spread of rhizomes into the garden (Weeds along fences) from adjacent weedy or lawn areas.

Useful Management Techniques