Orchardgrass and Quackgrass

A number of grass species appear in lawns and ornamental beds and are considered weeds.
Orchardgrass and Quackgrass - Articles

Updated: July 1, 2014

Orchardgrass and Quackgrass

quackgrass Elymus repens Stem(s) Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata) is a perennial cool-season grass that often finds its way into turfgrass settings and landscape beds. It reproduces from seed, while individual plants grow by tillering. This form of growth leads to clumps or mats of orchardgrass that noticeably disrupt the appearance of a lawn. Orchardgrass has light green to bluish-green foliage. The leaves are folded in the bud and have a distinct membranous ligule. Both the foliage and collar area are free of hair. Orchardgrass can grow to a meter in height, but also tolerates low mowing.

Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens) is another perennial grass that can be a weed in the landscape. This grass grows more erect than orchardgrass and produces rhizomes. It also reproduces from seeds, which birds enjoy and then deposit in the yard. Other characteristics that differentiated it from quackgrass: the leaves are rolled, a clasping auricle is present on the blades; and the ligule is much smaller.

Orchardgrass has a dense, fibrous root system. Hand digging is a control option, but requires going to a depth of 3-4" to remove the root system. Due to the rhizomes, quackgrass is even more difficult to dig out. The herbicide Certainty (sulfosulfuron) is labeled for quackgrass control, but suppression or partial control only. Formulations of glyphosate can be used on both. Obviously, care has to be taken when spot treating orchardgrass in turf. You may have to apply the glyphosate by applying it with a paint brush or using the "glove of death," which is touching the plant with cotton gloves that have chemical resistant gloves underneath.


Orchardgrass, Dactylis glomerata Plant(s)
Ohio State Weed Lab Archive, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

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Integrated Pest Management Entomology Horticulture

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