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How to kill quackgrass in your lawn

Are you trying to get rid of quackgrass from your lawn? You are in the right place. It is an aggressive weed plant that is difficult to control once it finds its way into your property. However, you can manage to kill it with the right solutions and persistence.

So, how do you go about choking out quackgrass from your lawn? The best solution is to target the weed plant with herbicides.

But, herbicides are not the only solution at your disposal. Other options include mechanical or organic weed control mechanisms.

In this article, we will look at how you can get rid of quackgrass with herbicides, as well as other options available.

Quackgrass vs crabgrass – what is the difference?

quackgrass weeds

Comparison: Quackgrass (left) and crabgrass (right) appear almost similar.

Quackgrass can be easily mistaken with other grass-like weed plants, say, for example, crabgrass. It is important to identify it properly so that you can deploy the correct measures.

So, how do you know that your lawn is infested with quackgrass and not crabgrass? First of all, quackgrass is a perennial weed favoring cool seasons, while crabgrass is a warm climate plant.

Another distinctive difference is in the stem and leaves.

With crabgrass, you will find the plant growing from star-like stumps, with leaves that are separate from the plant. On the other hand, quackgrass grows as a single stem with leaves attached to the stem.

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The other identification feature to look at is the roots. Quackgrass has a white root system that has rhizomes. However, crabgrass displays a shallow root system with a crab-like structure.

How to control quackgrass in lawns

Quackgrass is not easy to eliminate, particularly due to its perennial nature. Its rhizomes guarantee its survival in a harsh climate while helping to sprout new plants.

However, the following solutions can help to control or even eliminate the weed plant.

1. Mechanical control

Mechanical control involves the removal of quackgrass by hand. It is as simple as grabbing the weed plant at the base and pulling it off your lawn.

However, to eradicate it, you need to pull of everything – without leaving behind roots. If not, the rhizomes will sprout new plants, starting the process all over again.

A few gardening tools such as a shovel or digging fork might come in handy. Dig a hole – 1-foot-wide and 1 foot deep. Be sure not to dig too close to the quackgrass to avoid damaging the roots.

After digging, grab the quackgrass and the base and jerk it upwards. Check the area to see if you have removed the entire plant.

Note: Any roots that remain are likely to sprout again.

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2. Chemical control

Don’t fancy digging around in your lawn or garden? Then herbicides might be more your style. There are two types of quackgrass herbicides that you can use to control the weeds:

  • Selective herbicides
  • Non-selective herbicides: which target everything, weeds and other plants included.

Selective herbicides are chemicals that only target a specific type(s) of weed plant, without harming other plants.

A good example of a selective herbicide is the Certainty herbicide for quack grass. It is a selective post-emergent herbicide that offers excellent results against grass weeds.

Non-selective herbicides, on the other hand, target everything, weed and other plants included. For quackgrass, herbicides containing Glyphosate, for example, roundup, are recommended.

Does roundup kill quackgrass?

Yes, Roundup is a very effective solution to eliminating quackgrass.

The active ingredient in the roundup – Glysophate – works by preventing the production of essential proteins. As such, the weed (or any other plants it touches) is unable to grow, causing them to yellow and die off.

One thing to note with chemical herbicides though is that they might not be a one-time solution. Instead, multiple applications might be needed for the quackgrass to die.

3. Organic quackgrass control

Organic remedies are another solution you can use to control quackgrass.  There are several such remedies, which include:

  • Vinegar application – vinegar on quackgrass works by killing the cell tissues of the plant (acetic acid), causing the plant to die off.
  • Boiling water – boiling water will also kill the plant tissues
  • Dish soap – dish soap binds to the leaves of the plant, affecting the physiological process. It can be used on its own, or as a binding agent with other organic (and even chemical) agents.
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These organic remedies do work and are a great idea if you prefer an environmental-friendly solution. However, they might not be as effective as chemical herbicides, so multiple applications might be needed.

Furthermore, they come with the added disadvantage of being non-selective. As a result, you should apply them carefully (spot treatment) to avoid damaging your lawn grass.


Having quackgrass infest your lawn can give you several nightmares. However, there are several control solutions available, starting with chemical herbicides that kill quackgrass.

Alternatively, you can opt for hand removal or organic remedies – that is if you prefer non-chemical options.

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