Jory Clay and Quack Grass

Asked November 6, 2017, 5:42 PM EST

I'm considering putting in a market garden in Jory clay soil which has been fallow for many years. There is also a lot of what I call quack grass, I'm not sure of the proper name. It's well established, a clumping grass with long rhizomes. And to make the fun complete, there are voles and gophers. Suggestions? I don't want to use glyphosate. I was planning to till in the next couple of weeks and tarp the area until spring, which ought to help with weed seeds, but probably not the rhizomes.

Marion County Oregon small farms horticulture

4 Responses

Here are a couple of resources for you:
https://ask.extension.org/questions/235183
and
http://horticulture.oregonstate.edu/system/files/onn090208.pdf
Unfortunately there is no easy solution for the control of this weed specially if you don't want to use an herbicide. Hand removal will be the best option at your scale.

Thanks for your response. I have found similar info in my web searches. It looks like the key to doing this without herbicides is to exhaust the rhizomes. I plan to till the area, and give the rhizomes enough time to sprout, then tarp or flame weed the area. I'm hoping three cycles of this will take care of it. Hand removal is not an option, the area is far too large.

Just as a quick follow up, tilling species that reproduce via rhizomes (specially when wet) may just make the problem worse as you may be propagating the plant even more. When you tarp they may go dormant, when you flame you only kill the above ground part not the rest.

Right. My thought is to repeatedly encourage the small bits of rhizome to produce growth which is then killed, until they have used up their nutrient reserves. The sprouts would be killed before they produce their own rhizomes and unless the original rhizomes have a mechanism that causes them to go dormant when they are stressed to a certain point, they should eventually die off.

I could be wrong!