Quackgrass is a cool season perennial grassy weed that spreads via seed and rhizomes (underground stems). It is a highly competitive agricultural weed when found in higher densities, resulting in significant yield loss. Often found in patches of high density, quackgrass can rapidly infest a crop field through its rhizomal growth. The rhizomes often get tangled in harvesting equipment, thus further complicating the overall management of quackgrass. It is considered the most troublesome perennial grass weed in Canada.
The first leaves are long and wide and very much resemble that of a mature plant; however, the blades of the seedling are noticeably narrower than the mature plant.
Quackgrass grows erect and can be found growing in clusters, ranging in height from 90-120 cm. Stems, when cut, are round and nodes appear swollen. Leaves of the lower plant are waxy, and its upper leaves are waxy to slightly rough. The hairs, if present, are soft, short and numerous and its auricles (little hooks surrounding the leaf blade) are distinctly clasping. Flowers grow in a spike and are alternate of one another. Key defining feature from other grasses is its yellowish-white rhizome that turn brown as plants reaches maturity.
Optimal growth conditions
The species Elytrigia repens is commonly found growing in regions of relatively high moisture in soils of peat or gravel, and under high salinity and alkaline conditions.