This is my lawn.

For some reason lots of thick horrible coarse grass has started growing in lots of patches all over. Does anyone know why it would all of a sudden start to grow? Also, can anything be done about it? I have Green Thumb come 4 times a year....I would have hoped they would sort it out.

EDIT: I've been informed that it's couch grass, and the reason for its prevalence this year is probably because of the very wet winter we had in the UK.

Click photo for full size
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    possible duplicate of How is crabgrass removed from lawns? – kevinskio May 17 '14 at 13:50
  • In that area, I'd be surprised to see such a large crabgrass so early. I think quack-grass. – J. Musser May 17 '14 at 22:19
  • That doesn't look like any couch grass I've ever seen. Any idea which species? – Luke Allison Aug 20 '15 at 22:14
  • A species of Paspalum such as Paspalum dilatatum. – Luke Allison Aug 20 '15 at 22:21

Hmm, well Phil Hawthorn, Greenthumb are really being pathetic! Couch grass in lawns is not a problem - stolons within lawn grass will die out within a year with regular lawn maintenance and cutting, so if yours is being cut frequently, and you've not had couch grass before, it won't be that. It's more likely something like Yorkshire Fog - it doesn't look like annual meadow grass, but there are other coarse leaved weed grasses that might have invaded.

Greenthumb should know how to treat these - you either dig out the clumps and reseed the patches, particularly if they are isolated, or slash into the stolons with a sharp knife before cutting. The other advice is to rake up the grass foliage, so it's standing up properly before mowing, and change the direction of the cut at each mowing. If Greenthumb suggests this is some kind of annual grass, then a grass box should be used, or all clippings collected.

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    Who dat Greenthumb? He some all-knowing Agricultural God? – Fiasco Labs Jun 15 '14 at 16:03
  • @FiascoLabs: its a lawn maintenance company that operates throughout most of England. They claim to keep your lawn in tip top condition, so yea, they should be lawn gods, but obviously not really... – Bamboo Jun 15 '14 at 16:06
  • Aah, and agree on your assessment on treatment. Annuals tend to go away if you keep them from reseeding. No need to nuke from orbit. – Fiasco Labs Jun 15 '14 at 16:10
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    @PhilHawthorn - if this guy doesn't really know what he's doing, tell him how to treat the lawn, its gotta be cheaper than using Greenthumb... – Bamboo Jun 16 '14 at 11:55
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    @PhilHawthorn: If the guy isn't that well informed, get yourself a copy of The Lawn Expert by D. G. Hessayon - worth every penny of the roughly a tenner you'll pay, and then you can give well informed instructions. – Bamboo Jun 16 '14 at 14:08

This is crabgrass, a summer annual, or possibly quackgrass a cool season perennial. A close up picture of the stems would help.

See these excellent answers for control methods


I don't think that is crabgrass. I think it is quackgrass. A nightmare. The more you read about it, the more it will frighten you. Does the grass have the telltale auricles at the base of the leaf? I believe Bamboo may have it right; it may be called couch grass is some areas as well.

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I have a large patch I am battling. Luckily it is isolated to an area surrounded by the street and the sidewalk. The rhizomes are popping up through the asphalt! Most landscapers will use Roundup several times and just scorch that area of the grass and repeat until they have exhausted the plants underground reserves. Do not till it. Every piece can become a new plant. I am currently using Tenacity to kill mine. It is doing an amazing job. I am year two into the war and now I think I am finally seeing the end. Every generation that comes back up is weaker and smaller. Of all weeds, this has proven to be a worth adversary; fun battle but stressful at first. Tenacity is the only herbicide I have found that will kill it but not my desired turf.

  • Wikipedia calls it couch grass, I call it quack grass. However, Bamboo is right in that it should die out with regular lawn care. – J. Musser Jun 17 '14 at 0:18
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    If it is quackgrass, it may die out a little earlier than crabgrass and turn a nasty brown, but it will come back year after year in spring. I have seen a 10 foot patch grow by over 5 feet per year until I took action. If you only have small patches, just pull it up and eventually you will exhaust the plants energy. Anything large though and you are going to have to use chemicals IMO. One method would be to mow the area very low and then wait a week or two. It will grow so much faster than the turf, hitting with Roundup on a paint brush will be easier as it will sit higher. – Evil Elf Jun 17 '14 at 13:08

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