Sumo Gardener

The Difference Between Quackgrass vs Crabgrass

Both quackgrass and crabgrass are pesky plants that gardeners and farmers alike have to deal with, but how can you deal with them probably?

In order to control the spread of these grass weeds, you first need to understand the difference between quackgrass vs crabgrass. Thus, we’ve come up with this guide.

Defining Quackgrass

Difference Between Quackgrass vs Crabgrass

Source: NY State IPM Program

Quackgrass is a perennial weed that is tough to remove. While it may look like ryegrass and crabgrass, you can quickly identify quackgrass.

It has thick and lengthy tapered grass-blades that are connected to a bare stem. In addition, its leaf blade coils around the hollow stem and it’s a deeply-rooted grass weed.

Here’s a video to help you identify what quackgrass exactly looks like:

Also known as Agropyron repens, couch, twitch, and durfa grass, this grass weed is native to Europe but has spread to almost all of the United States in just over two centuries. Only three states do not have quackgrass: Hawaii, Arizona, and Florida.

However, not all of the states quackgrass has spread to treat it as a pest. Specifically, this grass weed is treated as a noxious weed in 41 states. Even if quackgrass can ease soil erosion, it can severely affect the health of agricultural crops.

Defining Crabgrass

On the other hand, crabgrass is a similarly infamous grass weed among gardeners as it can easily spread and dominate the preferable Dichondra grass and Bermuda grass.

Unlike the perennial quackgrass, this is an annual grass weed that can produce a staggering 150,000 seeds each season. Crabgrass is also light green and its stem joints are in contact with the soil.

In addition, the leaves are thin and quite hairy. Moreover, the most common types of crabgrass, namely smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass, can reach undesirable heights.

In particular, smooth crabgrass can reach 15 inches or 38 centimeters. The large crabgrass can grow up to three feet or around 91 centimeters. If you ignore and fail to mow these types of crabgrass, your area will look unappealing.

On a positive note, this incredible resilience and growth rate of crabgrass means that it can be an ideal choice for farmers during the summer season or for those with poor and sandy soil.

For one, researchers at the University of Florida noted that cattle, sheep, and horses like eating crab grass.

Read also: What is the difference between Dallisgrass vs Crabgrass?

Managing Quackgrass and Crabgrass

If you need to deal with quackgrass, the easiest way is to apply herbicide that has glyphosate. We recommend using the Monsanto Roundup. Remember to only target the quackgrass because this herbicide is very effective against green plants.

Additionally, the Roundup herbicide can only be applied if it isn’t a windy day and if there won’t be any rain for at least two days. You have to do this at least once a month. To remove any dormant buds that survive, you should use nitrogen fertilizer.

As for preventing the entry of crabgrass in your lawn, you must regularly water your lawn and apply sufficient fertilizer to the soil. Also, adequately cut tall grasses with your lawn mower.

If crabgrass still manages to invade your area, you can apply Roundup for Lawns. This herbicide works best when the grass weed is still just growing before reaching around three inches.


Essentially, quackgrass is a perennial and deep-rooted grass weed that has thick and tapered grass-blades. Crabgrass is an annual grass weed that has thin yet hairy light green leaves. Both of them have benefits, but they are mostly seen as pesky plants by gardeners and farmers.

In order to remove quackgrass, you need to apply Monsanto Roundup monthly and a nitrogen fertilizer to break the dormant buds. To destroy crabgrass, you have to use the Roundup for Lawns herbicide before the grass weed goes beyond three or four inches in height.

If you have any questions regarding the characteristics and removal of quackgrass and crabgrass, feel free to give us a comment.

Quackgrass vs Crabgrass pin

About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: