Ohio State University Weed Lab Archive, Bugwood.org
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
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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.