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Controlling Quackgrass

It seems to be everywhere – your garden, lawn and cracks in the sidewalk. 

You may have guessed I am talking about quackgrass.  This aggressive perennial grass spreads by a long white root-like rhizome.  Control is difficult since any little piece of the rhizome that breaks off and falls into the soil can start new plants.  Chemicals traditionally used to kill this weed can kill your garden plants. 

In a garden you can spot treat with a total vegetation killer.  Organic products use plant oils and soaps to burn off the tops of the plants, leaving the roots and rhizomes unharmed to re-sprout.  Repeat applications are needed.

Traditional chemicals like Round up or Finale move through the plant killing both the above and below ground portions.

Protect desirable plants by wiping the plant killer on the quackgrass leaves with a sponge brush. Or use a shield, like a soda bottle or milk jug, with the bottom removed.  Place the container over the weeds to contain the spray and protect nearby plants.

A bit more information:   You can also apply your total vegetation killers with a homemade applicator that the inventor called the “tongs of death”. Simply attach sponges to the end of BBQ tongs, used only for this purpose.  Dip the sponges in the weedkiller mixture, allow excess to drip into the container and wipe on the leaves. Be careful not to drip the weedkiller on nearby desirable plants.