Eastern Forest Threat Center - Quackgrass

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Quackgrass stems

Quackgrass stems

Ohio State University Weed Lab Archive, Bugwood.org

Elymus repens

Quackgrass is native to Europe, northern Africa, and temperate Asia to India. It was introduced to the U.S. as a contaminant in hay or straw.

Keywords: Poaceae, perennial, grass, creeping rhizomes; Common names: couch grass, dog grass, quickgrass, scutch, quitch, twitch, scotch, creeping wild rye

Distribution Map Distribution Source Image

Threat Description

Quackgrass is a cool season perennial grass that grows 2 ft. or more laterally from the main shoot before sending aerial stems. Leaf blades are ¼ to ½ in. wide, flat, pointed, sparsely hairy above and hairless below, and have small auricles at the junction of blade and sheath. Spikelets are arranged in two long rows and born flat-wise to the stem. The florets are awnless to short-awned. Each stem can produce up to 400 elliptical, pale yellow to brown seeds that may remain dormant in the soil for 2 to 3 years. Quackgrass reproduces by seed and extensively creeping rhizomes that are long and highly branched, yellowish-white, sharp-pointed, and somewhat fleshy. It tolerates drought, salt, and a variety of soil types, including saline conditions, but grows most vigorously in soils of pH 6.5-8.0. It is found in a variety of grassland communities such as open disturbed areas, riverbanks, fields, pastures, waste areas, mixed-grass prairies, and open woodlands. It invades wet meadows, wetland borders, and other low-lying wet areas of grasslands and prairies. Additionally, it reduces the availability of soil moisture and limits nutrients.