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How to Get Rid of Quackgrass | Ways to control Quackgrass in the Lawn


let's go right back to Iowa City and

let's hear from Nick with a quackgrass

problem hey Alan this is Nick from Mesa

City Iowa

I absolutely love your podcasts videos

emails the entire lawn care program I

even a few of my buddies Matt and Brian

we have our own little LCN group and

we're working to dominate three

neighborhoods using your program I have

a 15,000 square foot side lawn I believe

its KBG Ryan fescue about eight years

old and I have very few weeds at all I

do have two 8 by 8 patches of quack

grass in the back it's only kind of

single blade space style but it gets to

be an eyesore after about two days after

I'm alone I've heard you address it and

I've done some researching on the

extension sites and it sounds like

roundup or lawn destruction or really

the only answers and I'm not quite ready

to do that on my nice turf it also kind

of talks about mowing twice a week using

nitrogen but I've been doing that and it

still seems to spread so my question is

is what if I start him pulling it all

the time I know the rhizomes are still

going to sprout but what if I keep

pulling it and keep the dense healthy

grass around it wanted eventually run

out of nutrients you know without

getting the Sun and using energy to keep

making new plants kind of pull a war of

attrition on it won't it eventually die

out quicker that way or do you have any

other ideas for getting rid of quack

grass without really harming the healthy

turf around it without going to extremes

thanks for everything you do

keep up the nomination okay Nick

exercise just listening to that

recording again did you say Bates City I

thought it was Iowa City anywhere

somewhere in Iowa shout out to you guys

and shout out to Bryan and Matt your

friends you guys are dominating three

neighborhoods that right there my

friends is strategy not only is Nick

dominating by himself he has actually

brought a crew in and they are taking

over neighborhoods I'd love to hear that

that's awesome but that is kind of cool

when you can do lawn care with your

buddies give you something to talk about

as you stand in the driveway watching

the sunset maybe having a cigar and a

nice cold beer on a Saturday night so

really cool dude all right let's talk

now about quackgrass so this is one of

those that I haven't had to face too

much my buddy Jake the lawn kid he's

faced quiet grass in his lawn there in

Northwest Indiana and actually I'd given

him a strategy

last year with it to try to mow it out

and we're gonna talk about that a little

bit you heard Nick mentioned all these

different strategies and how he's kind

of thinking through him and Nick that's

exactly what you want to do you kind of

weigh out the strategies he did another

thing that I was recommend I want to

point out is he went to University

Extension websites that really is always

the first place you should go to get

advice as University Extension websites

because they're typically going to give

you the most conservative advice and

when I say the most conservative it's

not gonna be about sling and Kim's first

and foremost they're always going to try

to tell you how to do things in another

way and in the case of mowing it out

we're talking about what we call

cultural practices that's what that

means now Jake was able to get it I

would say stem the tide of it in his

lawn last year however I was watching

one of his more recent videos here in

the last few days and I can see it's

starting to crop back up because as Nick

is finding here that lots of mowing is

not the not really a completely

effective way to eliminate quackgrass so

let's talk about what crack quackgrass

is I guess to start off and the way I

would equate it to for those of you that

are down here in the south it's like

torpedo grass in that it's got really

long rhizomes that will creep under the

ground and pop up in various places and

in fact typically it's gonna find the

thin spots if you have a thinner area of

your lawn boom that's what it's gonna

find the rhizomes will just creep and

creep and creep until they feel like

they've gotten a chance to take hold and

boom they will pop up and that is the

same thing that torpedo grass does here

in the south and it's very interesting

because Matt says he's only got a couple

spots 8 by 8 I would wonder why I mean I

don't that doesn't gonna affect the

strategy we're gonna go through here

Matt but I would just wonder why why

only in these spots was the was the lawn

treated differently during construction

in that area was it sodded or seeded

later than the rest was something

brought in there was something dumped

there was something left there was

something not done there either way just

something to think about so that way in

the future as you do battle this if you

can figure out the cause or why it's

concentrated in that area maybe that'll

help you to keep it from coming back but

yes the first thing you do want to try

to do even though it doesn't work a

hundred percent is you want to try to

mow it out and guys that's what I want

you to do with any type of invading

problem in your lawn whether it's

broadleaf weeds problem grasses whatever

it is when in doubt try to mow it out

and usually what you're going

want to do an especially with quack

grasses you're gonna actually want to

mow as low and often as you can

so quack grass is one of those things

that because it runs with rhizomes and

it only pops up in opportune places

where it does pop up it's got to get

leaves up into the air quick to grab as

much Sun as it can to recharge this is

one of the things about these types of

invaders you can sometimes use their

strength against them and we'll talk

about that in a minute

but the idea being this is a very quick

grower and that's why people don't like

it in their lawns you know this time of

year you got this nice dark green blue

kentucky bluegrass maybe some rye in

there or fescue and what will be popping

up is this lime green very fast-growing

leaves from our blades or stalks from

this quackgrass

and it grows so much faster than your

kentucky bluegrass so it just waves out

it just waves that you like ha ha ha I

see you ha ha look at my stupid look in

the lime green leaves here ha ha and a

lot of people actually mistake it for

crabgrass as well no we can't get into

that in a podcast because that would

definitely take visuals but one thing's

for sure if you are seeing what you

think is crabgrass this time of year

before you go spraying it you might want

to look and make sure that it's not

quackgrass because the to have to be

treated completely differently that said

you do want to go ahead and try to mow

it out because quack grass has that

strength of growing super fast because

it needs to get leaves up in the air to

grab as much Sun as it can to refuel

because remember that's how plants

create their own food through the

process of photosynthesis which

basically makes sugars that they send

down into the rhizomes or down into the

root system so that way it's recharged

down there so more you know so it can

spread wider it can push up more leaves

that's the idea that's how

photosynthesis works but the way that

quack grass grows by its nature of

sending out these long rhizomes and

popping up in certain places it's only

got a few antennae to stick up or a few

spots to stick up it's got to grab as

much Sun as it can so if you cut that

off by the way those rhizomes and those

roots of that they take a lot of energy

in other words that machine needs a lot

of energy to run on so it's got to push

those you know those leaves up to grow

fast and so what you can do is cut it

off by frequent mowing and then what I

would tell you if you could Matt mow

every day just or Nick I keep calling

you Matt Matt your buddy our walk

but Matt Brian Nick all you guys what

you want to do is mow it out do the best

you can mow every day if you can for two

weeks just see what you do just stunt it

just weaken it that's the idea it's not

gonna take it out completely but I bet

it will weaken it enough that you may be

able to use some other strategies to get

ahead of it so that's the first thing I

would say is definitely try to mow it

out and try to mow every day for two


just keep it cut off just stunt it just

just zap it just try to take some energy

away from it your Kentucky bluegrass on

the other hand will love that and will

just push out more rhizomes so it's not

gonna hurt the Kentucky blue if anything

it should help or stimulate the Kentucky

bluegrass to thicken up with its own

rosanna mmus rosanna miss rhizome

autonomous rhizome cumin autonomous you

know nature in its own self and try to

thicken up and help choke that out as

well so that's the first thing I would

do the second thing I would do is can

you get the lawn to be mowed lower you

seem like somebody that's on it you

taken care of it you obviously think

through the strategy so I'm sure your

irrigation is in line I'm sure that you

know your other culture your mowing will

be in line because gonna be mowing a lot

so what if you try to mow a little bit

lower because again the the fact that

that quack grass has to grow tall and

fast you're gonna be cutting it off a

lot well instead of cutting it off a lot

at 4 inches what if you cut it off a lot

at 2 inches and you cut it off as its

knees Kentucky bluegrass can do fine at

2 inches now if you get a lot of hot Sun

you know or you get a blazing day with

no cloud cover to help you yes that

Kentucky bluegrass can be stunted and it

can also you know suffer from some heat

stress but there's always a

give-and-take with everything you do and

if you have your watering in line you

still will probably be okay now the

third piece is can you real mow I know

there's a big craze going around the

community about real mowing I think

that's cool if you guys are not familiar

with what real mowing is look it up our

e-l you can look up my friend Connor

Ward who has a Kentucky bluegrass lawn

that is real mowed at five eighths of an

inch and he proves even John Perry does

manual real mowing of his Kentucky

bluegrass in his backyard I think he's

at an inch or 3/4 inch so it can

definitely handle it if you've got a lot

of your other things in line if you've

got a lot of your other you know a

challenge is solved if you're if you're

not somebody that's dealing with you

know a ton of weed invasion you're not

dealing with a bunch of insects or

disease then yeah maybe you can you can

take that down in a real mow it and I

if you real mow it I bet you could get

one of the rid of the crap quack grass

let's call it crap grass I bet you could

get rid of the quack grass all just only

with real mowing I don't know that for

experience but I can just just imagining

from my other experiences in lawn care

and what I've seen and what I've been

able to mow out of my lawn before and

things like that I bet you if you went

to a real mow Nick that you would be

able to get rid of the quack grass

altogether so something to think about

also an interesting way to dominate a

lawn now people ask me if I'm gonna real

mow and one day I probably will do some

real mowing but it's not in my future

for right now so that would be the first

choice would be all about the mowing and

the cutting now Nick also asks about

hand pulling and certainly hand pulling

is a great idea especially because again

right after you mow your Kentucky blue

grass you're gonna see the quack grass

popping up the day you know 24 hours

later it's gonna reveal itself so sure

if you went out say every morning as

you're having your morning coffee maybe

you're gonna make a little patrol around

the lawn and you just purpose in your

mind that I'm gonna pull ten of these

plants today well if you did that every

day for five days you will pull 50

plants and your your sections are only 8

by 8 I bet you if you pulled 50 plants a

week for 3 or 4 weeks that certainly you

would definitely be making a huge dent

in those especially if you're also

mowing now people will say and you'll

read this and this is what I want to say

or I want you guys to think about people

will say Alan if you pull it there are

still rhizomes left and it can regrow

and the answer to that is yes and that's

what you're gonna read on the University

Extension websites and they're exactly

right but what happens with us and in

the way we work we you me all of us is

we think in black and white we think ok

if they tell me that it doesn't work

that means it doesn't work at all it's

either this or that yes or no all or

nothing there's like no middle ground no

gray area but in fact there's a lot of

gray area there's a ton of middle ground

and that's where success happens is in

that middle ground so just because

there's some rhizomes that will stay

there and regrow it doesn't mean that

pulling it doesn't still weaken it it

doesn't mean that it might not reduce

the population by 50%

ok so 50% grows back but 50% didn't grow

back you see what I'm saying there so

just because you read on somewhere that

hey if you pull the if you pull it it's

gonna regrowth it can regrow from

rhizomes it doesn't mean it will a

hundred percent of the time

let me just tell you if you cause damage

to a plant guess what you did you caused

damage to a plant it's not good for it

if you chop a plant off it's not good

for it now it is for our turf grass but

that's because we're training it to do a

certain thing the way we cut turf grass

is also not good for it when you look at

the way that it naturally wants to grow

we are training our turf grass we are

sculpting our turf grass to be what it

is but the way your grass looks out

front that's not how it wants to look

that's not its natural appearance we

maintain it that way

we sculpt it that way we cut it that way

you know that's what we do we trim it we

maintain it to be the way it is but

that's not how it wants to be now these

other grasses like quackgrass again I

said let's use what its strengths are

against it and it's strength is that it

can come up anywhere and it can grow

really fast but that also means because

it can only come up in a few places if

you pull those and you get those leaves

off of there it will burn out because it

uses all of its energy trying to find

these spots where it can overcome where

it can take over where it can take

advantage and if you pull those spots

it's already used up all its energy it's

already blown its load it's out you can

keep it out so two things together

frequent mowing low as you can and hand

pulling and I bet you have a really good

strategy right there and by the way

that's a chemical free strategy so just

because somebody tells you pulling

doesn't always work it doesn't mean it

doesn't work at all and basically that's

what Nick was saying what if you listen

in to what he's saying he's saying all

of those things he's saying I wonder if

I should still try it Alan because I

know I'll get some results so Nick thank

you for totally understanding you're

gonna open that up to a lot of people

and that's the idea here is for us to

open up your thinking to get you look at

things a little bit differently when you

approach your strategy here now the last

piece would be then what if I do need to

use some kemp's what if it is you know

the outbreak is so bad I don't have time

to let's say you don't have time to mow

every day let's say you don't you don't

have you're not in line where you can

you know start lowering your cut you're

just not there let's say you're not able

to hand pull as much as you might want

to okay then there is a chemical

strategy and you will see that and that

is a glyphosate so roundup right

glyphosate is what they call a

non-selective herbicide which means it

will kill anything it touches it's not

selective it kills everything with that

means if you spray that on your lawn

it's gonna kill your good grass and the

quackgrass and that is not the strategy

we want to go at there is a strategy

like that it's called the total burn

down we're going to talk about that a

little later in this podcast but I don't

want you to do that what I would say if

you do want to try some chemical attack

is to get what's called a weed wick now

I've never used an actual weed wand

which i think is a brand name if you go

to grass daddy's channel he's got a

video or a couple videos he's done using

a weed wick or a weed wand by the way he

did an April Fool's joke where he told

everybody that I bought his channel I

want you guys to know that was a an

April Fool's joke I tend to see coming

up every once in a while people going

allen bought grass tetany channel no tim

is my friend I love Tim he's a great guy

up there in the Northeast he does great

videos ok so I can't whistle very well

at least not today but that's his little

theme song he's got some good videos on

a weed wick now I've actually never used

an actual weed wick but when I worked

for true Green we did some weed wicking

and what we would do is we would just

have a broom stick with a paintbrush on

the end of it and we would just dip it

in the glyphosate and just hammer on the

weeds and that's the thing about a weed

wick is and actually I think I'll try to

do some videos on this I think it might

be fun to make my own weed wick you

watch now everybody's gonna do that like

everybody in the community is gonna make

these videos before I do that's fine you

guys do that I'll catch the trend but

either way what what they do you do is

you dip it in and then you're just you

know kind of painting the actual

individual leaves instead of blanketing

it now some of the residual that will

leak around the edges it's gonna kill

your good grass but the ideas that's a

very concentrated way to apply

glyphosate to a problem such as quack

grass where you can really easily see it

and that's the idea you would cut the

grass wait a couple days till the quack

grass grows higher and then you're

really able to get in there and just

paint them nice and simple nice and easy

and kind of target them that way so

that's another type of an idea that you

might go after so actually if you kind

of employed all three of those against

your quack grass there Nick as you did

frequent mowing at a lower height hand

pick when you can and then when you're

done hand picking and you can't handpick

no mow

that's when you go out and you paint

those or weed Wickham or weed wand the

weeds in the lawn or the quack grass on

the lawn so

something that you ought to try there I

love your thinking I think you're on it

and please tell your buddies Matt and

Bryan and all of you have the same name

in my mind right now hope you guys can

dominate your three neighborhoods out

there and as always for you we're gonna

be hoping for the best