Dormant Nodes on Quackgrass Rhizomes

Asked August 6, 2017, 5:48 PM EDT

As fall approaches, I'm wondering what the dormant nodes in my yard will do, if anything. After applications of Round Up, the soil's surface is completely free of ALL vegetation, including quackgrass, so it's easy to see if any sprouts are starting. I plan to seed with fescue in September. 1. Do quackgrass dormant nodes activate during any particular time(s) of year? 2. What do dormant nodes need in order to become active? 3. Is my understanding correct that quackgrass will begin growing earlier in the spring than tall fescue and thus be easy to identify (taller than other grasses) for spot spraying with Round Up? Thank you for your help. Mary Hale

Winona County Minnesota

1 Response

I'll try to answer your questions, but they are rather specific and detailed, so I may not have the expertise. For #1, quackgrass is a cool season grass and produces shoots from underground rhizomes in early spring and in the fall. For #2, the rhizomes need to be near the surface (top 5 inches or so) and they need cool weather and moisture. For #3, I don't know relative to other grass species, but it is a cool season grass and will appear early. You'd do best by making sure you've identified it. Here are a couple of excellent discussions of quackgrass control (from New England, so similar conditions):
https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/quackgrass.html
http://umaine.edu/weedecology/files/2012/11/quackgrass-management.pdf

They provide solutions for organic farmers, so no glyphosate discussion, but they do discuss the physiology of the plant.

These articles give the more standard treatments, including the use of glyphosate:
https://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/weeds/controlling-quackgrass-in-gardens/
http://www.gunnison.colostate.edu/agri/forage/forage_docs/quackgrass.pdf