How to Get Rid of Quack Grass

Quack grass is a type of perennial grass that spreads underground and can take over an entire lawn. It can grow in just about any climate, making it a very tough species to eliminate. It looks attractive at first, but if you don’t take care of it, it’ll take over your lawn. If you are looking for ways to get rid of quack grass, we will discuss various methods in this guide.

What is quack grass and how can you identify it?

Quack grass is a perennial weed that spreads by underground stems. The leaves are long and narrow, and the blades are smooth. The flowers are spikelets that grow in clusters, and they turn brown when they mature. Quack grass can be distinguished from other types of grasses by its upright growth habit and the fact that it doesn’t produce rhizomes (underground stems).

Quack grass is a weed that grows on lawns and can easily be mistaken for real grass. It is considered an invasive species since it has a robust root system, thick stems, and seeds that are easy to spread. It reproduces by spores. During the fall, quack grass turns green and produces seeds rapidly. In the past, this plant was called witch grass, winter grass, and hogweed.

Quack grass is a weed that usually grows in grassy places. You can identify quack grass by its distinctive thick stem and the ring of white dots on its stem. On the other hand, an easier way to identify quack grass is by its smell. It has a distinct odor, similar to onion or garlic.

The tell-tale sign of quack grass is its deep green color. Quack grass can also be identified by its thick blade and rapid growth rate.

What causes quack grass?

Quack grass is caused by a type of fungus that lives in the soil. The fungus creates a close relationship with the grass’s roots, and as a result, the quack grass grows quickly and becomes difficult to get rid of.

Why should you get rid of it?

Quack grass is a weed, and it will compete with your other plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients. It can also quickly take over an area, making it difficult to grow anything else there.

This weed also makes lawn maintenance more difficult and can cause damage to your lawnmower.

How do you get rid of quack grass?

The best time to kill quackgrass is in the early spring before it begins growing. The second best time is in late fall when the roots are concentrated near the soil surface and the plant is beginning to go dormant. You’ll want to attack it with both cultural and chemical controls.

There are several ways to get rid of quackgrass:


Manual removal

Remove the quack grass manually. Grab a garden shovel, bend down and dig around the base of the plant, getting as much of the root as possible. Pull on the plant gently until it comes out of the ground. Dig all around the quack grass to get deep into the roots.

Put on gloves to protect your hands from sharp weeds and prickly bushes. Walk through your yard or garden, looking for patches of quack grass to remove manually.

Pull the weeds when they are young and still small enough to pull up easily. The longer you wait before removing them, the harder it will be to remove them because their roots will have become more established.

Use a shovel to dig up older plants. With older quack grass plants, simply pulling it out won’t do much good; you must dig down deep enough to get as much as possible of the root out as well. This can take some time, but it’s worth it so you don’t leave behind any pieces that will regenerate into new quack grass plants.

Using herbicide

An herbicide will kill the quackgrass without harming your lawn. Spray non-selective herbicide with glyphosate on quack grass in your lawn or pasture field once you’ve removed as much as you can manually. Wait for one to two weeks for all the quack grass to die before mowing or tilling your yard or field to remove dead plants.

You can also hire a professional lawn care company to use herbicide on quack grass in your lawn or field if you’re not comfortable applying it yourself. Ask the company how long after application you should wait before mowing so the herbicides don’t harm your yard equipment.

Using salt to kill quackgrass is effective but not recommended because it can damage other plants and affect soil health negatively.

Cultural method

One cultural method of getting rid of quackgrass is to plant a ground cover or turf grass that will choke out the quack grass. This can be an effective way to get rid of it, but it may take several years before the new plants completely overtake the quack grass.

Another cultural method is to change your watering habits. Quack grass thrives in moist soil, so reducing the amount of water you give your lawn will help to reduce the quack grass population. Be sure not to over-water your lawn; this can actually do more harm than good.

Mowing regularly will also help to get rid of quackgrass. The taller the weed gets, the easier it is for it to spread and grow.

Another way of getting rid of quackgrass is by using a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring before the quackgrass seeds have germinated. This will help prevent new plants from coming up, but it won’t take care of any existing weeds you already have on your lawn.

To effectively get rid of quack grass, you can try a combination of cultural methods.

What do I need for this project?

  • A shovel (for manual removal)
  • Herbicide/spray bottle
  • Gloves
  • Water hose

When is the best time to get rid of quack grass?

The best time to kill quackgrass is when it is actively growing. This means you should treat the lawn in late spring or early summer before the weeds start flowering.

Tips to prevent quack grass from growing on your lawn

The quack grass can be a serious menace, especially when there are other plants in the area that are more sensitive. These can suffer severe damage when they come into direct contact with the weed.

Here are a few tips to help prevent this weed from invading your lawn:

• Use an herbicide spray on your lawn to kill the quack grass.

• Apply a thick layer of mulch around your plants that are more sensitive and vulnerable to weed invasion. This will help prevent them from coming into direct contact with the weed.

• If you have noticed this weed growing in a particular area, then try using a natural repellent or deterrent like mustard powder to keep it away from invading other parts of your garden or lawn as well. 

• Apply a layer of compost over the soil that is infested with weeds so that it can suppress their growth and prevent them from spreading further into other parts of your garden or lawn.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does vinegar kill quackgrass?

While vinegar may kill some of the weed’s foliage, it will not provide a long-term solution and is not as effective as an herbicide spray.

Can quackgrass be controlled organically?

Organic methods for controlling quack grass include using mulch, repellents/deterrents, and compost. While these methods take longer to show results, they are ultimately effective and do not pose any harm to the environment.

How long does it take for quack grass to die?

It can take about five to seven years for the quack grass to die.

How long does this project take?

How long you spend on the project will depend on how much quack grass there is and what method of removal you use.

How difficult is it to do this project?

How challenging your weed removal job depends mainly on which type of removal method you choose. If you decide to remove the weeds by hand, then it’s going to be more work. If you use an herbicide, it’s a lot easier, but you have to wait for the weeds to die before mowing or tilling.

Can you choke out quack grass?

Yes, you can choke out quack grass by planting a dense ground cover over the area. This will prevent sunlight from reaching the weed and inhibit its growth.


The presence of quack grass in yards can be a real pain, even without direct human interaction. Since it looks so similar to other types of grass, some people may be fooled by its disguise. This can create a very difficult situation for those that have to deal with it, but there are ways to make sure that you end up with some beautiful green in your yard and not the horrid brown and yellow color that is typical of this turf.

Fighting quack grass is a full-time job. If you have quack grass, it will not just go away by itself. You need to get rid of the grass and keep it from returning, or else you will always be fighting the good fight.