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Janet Macunovich

Quack grass in lawn

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[font=georgia,serif]Bringing this over from email. We've directed B.P. to watch here for more/different help than we could give. (We said, basically, "Yikes, dig it out or kill it, the whole infested area, and bar it from re-entry/kill it/dig it out of wherever it ran in to begin with. Then re-sod.")[/font][font=georgia,serif] [/font]
[font=georgia,serif]Any practical advice, other approaches?[/font]

[color=#800080][font=comic sans ms,cursive]Can you help? I've been told by a lawn fertilizer company that what I thought was crab grass is in fact quack grass. How can I get rid of it and what caused it? Thank you!!! - B.P. -[/font][/color]

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Well, in our "up north" lawn, our practical approach was to drop the quack and call it lawn. In fact, one of my little experiments right now is called "So You Think You Can Grow In Quackgrass", trying to locate plants that can coexist with it. Butterfly weed is still in the game, as is [i]Echinops[/i], while Y[i]arrow[/i] and [i]Hemerocallis [/i]have been eliminated. New contestants [i]Monarda[/i] and [i]Lysmachia[/i] are too early to score. Spring bulbs are fine.

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Unfortunately there is no magic elixir in Michigan for getting rid of quack grass that doesn't also kill other plants as well. To compound the problem, it's pesky rhizomes that develop after a couple of months make it even more difficult to eradicate. So what to do?
Immature plants can be removed by simply pulling them out since they have not yet developed rhizomes. Once they get beyond that stage then the herbicide glyphosate found in Round Up and other products is needed. In a lawn, it's going to kill grass plants as well. However, if you mow then wait three or four days the quack grass which grows faster will stand out. Paint those plants with the herbicide and after several applications they should be gone without losing the lawn. This is tedious, but quack grass is adaptable and strong so it must be attacked repeatedly.
As a last resort, apply nitrogen fertilizer to infested areas to "wake up" dormant rhizomes and allow them to be destroyed by the glyphosate when you next apply it.
Don't try to rototill the area and reseed. It will be impossible to remove the quack grass rhizomes which will be in little pieces, each piece now the origin of a new quack grass plant. Good Luck!

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That sounds hopeful, Len, thank you! Obviously it'll be a back-creaker to patrol a whole yard with a paintbrush and herbicide several times, but a [i]whole[/i] lot better than ripping out the entire lawn.
You know, since I was sunk into pessimism, convinced there couldn't possibly be another answer, I think this snap back may be taking me all the way to Pollyannism... But, maybe there are OTHER answers?

Anyone who has 'em, please share 'em!

Over on the [url="http://www.gardenatoz.org/whats-up/"]What's Up portion of GardenAtoZ[/url], we posted B's starter question, my gloomy musings, and a link to this discussion. [url="http://www.gardenatoz.org/whats-up/tip-cuttings/quacky-lawn/"]That article[/url] includes the photos below, for clarification.

Quack grass in a lawn
[attachment=319:QuackLawnN5690s.jpg]

The dreaded quack grass, long, sharp pointed roots, upright blades
[attachment=320:QuackGrFrWeedsKey.jpg]

Crabgrass
[attachment=321:CrabGrFrWeedsKey.jpg]

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Quackgrass also referred to as Creeping Quackgrass – is a perennial grass. Quackgrass is common lawn weed that offers nothing desirable and is very difficult to eradicate. It is able to survive the lack of moisture better than lawn grasses. Quackgrass can continue to spread even under drought conditions.

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