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Weed Identification

quackgrass

Family

Poaceae

Scientific Name

Elymus repens

Other Common Names:

couch grass
dog grass
quick grass
quitch
scutch
twitch

Synonyms (former Scientific Names):

Elytrigia repens
Agropyron repens
Elytrigia vaillantiana
Triticum vaillantianum
Triticum repens

Leaves

Leaves are rolled in the bud and are approximately 1 1/2 to 12 inches long and usually 2 to 3 mm wide but may reach 12 mm in width. Leaves may or may not have hairs on the upper surfaces, but lower leaf surfaces are without hairs. Leaves have membranous ligules that are less than 1 mm long and also have narrow auricles that clasp the sheath.

Identifying Characteristics

A perennial grass weed from rhizomes that may reach 3 1/2 feet in height. A perennial grass weed with auricles that clasp the stem, rhizomes, and a long, narrow spike for a seedhead. The auricles of this weed helps to immediately distinguish it from most other grass weeds, however tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), and perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) are similar grass weeds that also have auricles. However, none of these grass weeds have rhizomes like quackgrass.

Flower Seed Head

Seedhead a long, narrow spike consisting of many individual spikelets arranged in 2 rows along the stem. Spikes range from 2 to 8 inches in length while individual spikelets are approximately 11 to 18 mm long with awns.

Where Found

Quackgrass is a common weed of agronomic crops, turfgrass, lawns, nurseries, and landscapes that may be found in the northern United States from North Carolina to California.

Leaf Hair on Upper Surface

Varies: 
no hairs
hairs from base to tip
hairs on basal half only

Leaf Arrangement

rolled in bud

Mature Leaf Width

Varies: 
less than 5 mm
6 to 15 mm
more than 15 mm

Stem

round

Seedhead

spike

Life Cycle

perennial

Auricle

present

Ligule

membrane

Ligule Length

less than 1 mm

Plant Type

Grass