Crabgrass vs Quackgrass


If you’re not already familiar with crabgrass and/or quack grass, the two are the kind of ugly, dull green, large weeds one might find flanking the sides of a highway or some other concrete side where no attention to gardening is allocated. Unfortunately, not all of our weeds can be as gentle or as lovely as daisies or clovers. Nevertheless, while crabgrass and quack grass share a strikingly hideous visual similarity, it is important for any gardener to distinguish between the two as the methods of removal are both quite different. Thankfully, any attentive grower can easily differentiate the two with these quick tips.


The Key Is the Time

It is very important for a gardener to keep track of when their weeds first started sprouting, or, at the very least, when did they notice the weed was on their land. Pay attention to the seasonality of these dates. Is the weed at the beginning stages of its growth during the spring? Is it beginning to decay during the fall? The seasonal difference between crabgrass and quack grass are one of the main contrasts between these two weeds. This is because crabgrass only grows during June to October (early spring to end of fall). By the end of these designated seasons, crabgrass would have grown fully and died, thus completing its life cycle. In contrast, quack grass, since it’s a perennial plant as opposed to annual, grows throughout the year and is able to ‘cheat’ death by regrowing itself throughout the courses of the four seasons. Similarly to crabgrass, quack grass reaches its peak growth during the summer, but again, it continues its existence past fall, whereas the crabgrass cannot survive past the colder seasons.



Another major distinguisher between crabgrass and quackgrass are their roots. While crabgrass has a very simple, short, network of roots, and as a result can be easily pulled out without fear of reproduction, quackgrass is the exact opposite. In fact, quackgrass roots can span from three to five feet underground. Regardless, quackgrass can also simply be yanked out from its bedding, although it’s recommended that one uses much more caution in this process than they would when pulling crabgrass due to the vast difference in root size.


Visual Differences

As previously stated, crabgrass and quackgrass are very similar in appearance. Yet, there exist some minor visual discrepancies between the two. For instance, while both are a dull green color, quackgrass tends to be more of a darker shade while crabgrass is generally light green. Furthermore, living up to its name, crabgrass grows in such a way that it actually looks like the shape of a crab, although, to be quite honest, since crabgrass grows in patches, the overlapping leaves will make any identifying shape hard to recognize.




We’ve already covered that both grasses can be manually derooted. If this is too exhaustive, once having identified if your weed is crab or quack grass, you can simply resort to buying the appropriate herbicides. Additionally, since both weeds aren’t very competitive, the grasses can easily be outnumbered by a regular grass.