Revised October 2010

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Identifying Grass Seedlings

Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens)

Perennial grasses

Description

Quackgrass is a rhizomatous grass that can form dense colonies. It can grow more than 3 feet high but will withstand close mowing. The leaves are rolled in the bud with a rough texture and are flat and thin. They may have short hairs or be hairless. The leaves are 3–6 mm wide, and the ligule is a short membrane. The sheath is round to flat and short and hairy. Auricles are present.

Mature quackgrassMature quackgrass.
 

Membranous ligule AuriclesShort, membranous ligule.
Right, auricles.
 

Habitat

Quackgrass may be found in pastures, fencerows, gardens, rights-of-way, cultivated fields and lawns, as it tolerates close mowing.

Distribution

A native of Europe, quackgrass is more common and problematic in the northern United States and Canada. It is scattered in Missouri, primarily north of the Missouri River.

Similar species

The ryegrass species as well as tall fescue have auricles, but neither of these species also possesses rhizomes.

IPM1024, revised October 2010

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IPM1024 Identifying Grass Seedlings | Page 31 | University of Missouri Extension