General Information about Couch Grass in Lawn: Advantage or Problem?
Couch Grass is one of the oldest grass types existing. It has been ultimately popular and used for homes and recreational centers in Australia. While many years ago, this grass was rather couch-like, after long years of breeding and developing, lawn grass improved significantly. As a result, currently, this grass features a better color, softness and advanced drought resistance.
Couch grass is known for its bright to dark color and fine leaf, as well as ultimate wear and tear capability, tolerance to the sun and drought, etc. Therefore, the popularity of grass type is currently growing, with an increasing number of people striving to purchase and plant this grass type.
However, before you make the final decision and start your lawn with Couch grass, you need to consider both general information and specific issues about the plant.
- Leaf type – fine;
- Type – warm-season;
- Traffic tolerance – high;
- Aggressiveness – high;
- Shade tolerance – poor;
- Sun requirement – high;
- Salt tolerance – good;
- Variations – Santa Ana, Greenlees Park, Wintergreen, Windsor Green and numerous others.
Taking general information into account, it is essential to specify high adaptation level of the grass that requires little maintenance and treatment. However, discover other specifications and peculiarities before making a choice.
Specific Features of Couch Grass Lawn Maintenance
Couch grass is considered to be a tough perennial grass that has creeping underground shoots that frequently pop up in beds, borders, and lawns. The grass can be spotted all the way from spring to fall, resembling other grass types. However, if unmanaged, Couch grass can grow up to 1 meter high, having slightly hairy, flat and long leaves.
Couch is the grass type that prefers full sun conditions and will stay alive in hot condition. Shade can significantly damage its condition, preventing its further growth. The overall shade tolerance of the grass can be estimated as 10%. With a bit work, maintenance and treatment, Couch will look excellent, decorating your yard, garden, and other areas. While many people are getting rid of couch grass in lawn, others work hard to create a stunning showpiece out of the couch lawn.
The greatest disadvantage of the grass is its ability to turn into a straggly, poor-looking spot with bare patches. It can appear in case the lawn does not get enough water, fertilizer, or the shade is too heavy.
This invasive grass can spread all the way out of your garden or yard, so you will need to have garden edging in order to prevent unwanted grass appearance. The grass can easily get into flower beds and other areas, but its runners are also simple to pull out, cleaning the yard. Lack of regular maintenance, mowing, and treatment can lead to excess Couch grass growth. The lawn does not require special mowing or other techniques. Rotary or cylinder mover will create a brilliant flat finish.
While on the surface it can look as an ordinary grass, below the soil it is a different story. The lawn is characterized by a dense network of rhizomes and wiry roots that spread instantly, colonizing in and around garden plants and lawns in borders and beds. The grass can set seeds, but reproduction usually takes place via the underground shoots. Consequently, it is a rather tricky weed to get rid of. Killing couch grass in lawn will cost you some time and effort, as the roots left in the soil can trigger new shoots.
Most Effective Methods of Couch Grass Control in Lawns
Once Couch grass becomes unwanted, gardeners start looking for effective ways to kill it and prevent its further growth. Currently, two methods are available to fight this grass:
- Manual removal;
- Systematic weedkiller use.
Couch grass can be either orderly and well-managed lawn grass or completely out-of-control weed. The latter is worse, as the plant has a well-developed root system that entangles with different garden plants. As a result, you cannot reduce its further growth and expansion, due to the desire to preserve existing flowers and plants. Additionally, it is ultimately complicated to find the weedkiller, which will target the grass.
If your lawn got affected by couch grass, you have only two options: either start pulling it out or searching for an effective and powerful weedkiller. The best option here is striping the turf and digging out the remaining roots. Then, reseed the lawn grass and lay new turf to eliminate couch grass re-occurrence.
One of the benefits of couch grass, even though difficult to find, is the shallow root is has, so it is possible to pull the weed just by hand from the border or bed. However, you need to be extremely thorough at this point not to damage other plants. Frequently, even experienced gardeners have problems with couch grass in new lawn, so some of them just lift plants from the soil, remove grass roots and relocate them.
Another important characteristic of couch grass is being a tough opponent. It means that manual help not always helps, so you’d better start a chemical attack. There are several potentially powerful methods to kill the weed completely. Systemic weedkillers that contain glyphosate should be applied in spring to fight the problem. Such treatments as Bayer Tough Rootkiller, Scotts Tumbleweed, and Doff Maxi Strength Glyphosate Weedkiller can be successfully used for couch grass control. A single application may be enough for a complete treatment.
Glyphosate belongs to a group of non-selective, systemic herbicides, which is rather powerful and damages all the plants. Therefore, to protect other plants and lawn spots, you need to cover healthy areas with buckets or plastic sheets.