Elymus repens, Quackgrass

Gardens & Landscapes, Invasive Species October 05, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Invasive Species: Elymus repens, Quackgrass

Quackgrass is an invasive perennial, cool-season, rhizomatous grass. The stems are green to whitish, erect to decumbent and can grow to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall. The leaves are 6-15.7 in. (15-40 cm) long and usually have a pair of prominent auricles at the base. Flowering occurs in May to September. The flower spikes are 3.9-11.8 in. (10-30 cm) long and have 3-8 florets per spikelet. Seeds are elliptical, pale yellow to brown. Each stem can produce up to 400 seeds, but 20 to 40 seeds are common. It also reproduces through rhizomes. Quackgrass is native to Europe and occurs in pastures, gardens, roadsides, and other disturbed open areas.

What are invasive species and why should we be concerned about them? 


Taxonomy: Scientific and Common Names for This Species

Cyperales > Poaceae > Elymus repens (L.) Gould

Elymus repens - USDA PLANTS Profile

Distribution Maps

Quackgrass - The reported distribution of this invasive species across the United States (Source: Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States)

Up-to-the-minute distribution maps and why they are important 

Reporting This Invasive Species

What is the best way and place to report the occurrence of an invasive species? 

 How to report an invasive species sighting to EDDMapS - Early Detection & Distribution Mapping System

EDDMapS - Report an invasive species to EDDMapS.

Cooperative Extension Offices - Find your local Cooperative Extension office on this map provided by USDA.

How to Identify

This invasive species can be identified by looking for the characteristics described in the paragraphs that follow.

Grass

Quackgrass is an invasive perennial, cool-season, rhizomatous grass. The stems are green to whitish, erect to decumbent and can grow to 3 ft (0.9 m) tall.

Steve Dewey, Utah State University,  bugwood.org Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft., bugwood.org

Foliage

The leaves are 6-15.7 in. (15-40 cm) long and usually have a pair of prominent auricles at the base.

Ohio State Weed lab Archive, Ohio State University, bugwood.org Ohio State Weed lab Archive, Ohio State University,  bugwood.org

Flower

Flowering occurs in May to September. The flower spikes are 3.9-11.8 in. (10-30 cm) long and have 3-8 florets per spikelet.

Robert Videki, Doronicum Kft.,a href="http://www.bugwood.org/">bugwood.org Steve Dewey, Utah State University,a href="http://www.bugwood.org/">bugwood.org

Fruit

Seeds are elliptical, pale yellow to brown. Each stem can produce up to 400 seeds, but 20 to 40 is common. It also reproduces through rhizomes.

Julia Scher, USDA APHIS PPQ,  bugwood.org Steve Dewey, Utah State University,  bugwood.org

Native Species That Can Resemble Quackgrass

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

- Images at invasive.org

   
bugwood.org bugwood.org

Additional Images for Quackgrass

Quackgrass - Images at Invasive.org

Additional Information, Biology, Control and Management Resources

Control and management recommendations vary according to individual circumstances. Location, habitat, weather, and a variety of other conditions are factors that help determine the best treatment choice. To find the safest and most effective treatment for your situation, consult your state's land-grant institution. If you will use chemicals as part of the control process, always refer to the product label.

United States Land-Grant University System - Find your land-grant university's college of agriculture, Cooperative Extension office, or other related partner on this map provided by USDA.

Element Stewardship Abstract - The Nature Conservancy

Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the U.S. - USDA-APHIS

Weed of the Week - USDA Forest Service


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.