Agronomy Library > Soil Conservation

Controlling Quackgrass in Direct Seeding Systems
Author: Grant Nelson and Linda Hall
Date Created: March 01, 2002
Last Reviewed: March 01, 2002

Quack grass (Elytrigia repens) is a competitive perennial weed. It spreads rapidly by seed or underground stems (called rhizomes) and can be difficult to control. Without control, quack grass has the potential to spread rapidly. This factsheet describes quack grass and outlines control options to reduce yield losses in direct seeded cereal and oilseed crops.

Quack grass is highly competitive with crops for water and nutrients. In trials conducted at the Alberta Research Council near Vegreville, infestations of quack grass between 5 and 9 shoots per square foot (50 and 100 shoots/m2) reduced canola yields by 18 to 32 per cent. In barley, 6 to 9 shoots per square foot (60 to 100 shoots/m2) reduced barley yields by 40 to 50 per cent.

Quack grass can serve as a 'green bridge' for cereal diseases, providing a living host for the diseases between cereal crops. Control of quack grass in broad-leaved crops can reduce the spread of leaf spot disease and ergot in subsequent cereal crops. 

Click here to view the factsheet.