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How to identify Couch Grass

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HOW TO IDENTIFY COUCH GRASS (Elymus repens) - by Jörg P. Euler

Couch grass (Elymus repens) is the most common perennial grass weed  in arable crops in the moderate climate - rhizomes can be detected at any growth stage, so always carry a spade with you when looking for couch fields.

What to look for...

Couch grass 1 Couch grass 2
Position of flowers/seeds Rhizomes

Some useful information:

  • The plant propagates almost only through rhizomes - which makes it difficult to control. Couch plants in a field show little genetic variability
  • With couch, a long term assessment should always be planned - the corner points of the trial should be marked carefully
  • Cultivators and harrows will drag the rhizomes into neighbouring plots - therefore, the trial area should only be ploughed
  • For long term assessments, make sure the grower does not use a selective herbicide that is active on couch in the trial area

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