Couch grass

Couchgrass (Cynodon dactylon) is a warm season creeping grass that is sometimes referred to as twitch or Indian doab.

Problem Overview

Couchgrass (Cynodon dactylon) is a warm season creeping grass that is sometimes referred to as twitch or Indian doab.  The newer cultivars of couch can be used to make a great lawn in warmer climates. However, it is still generally regarded as a weed to many gardeners because of its creeping and spreading growth habit. It produces long creeping stolons (overground runners) and rhizomes (underground runners) that are highly invasive.

The stems of these stolons are significantly narrower than that of kikuyu. It is a summer prominent species that tends to go into dormancy over the New Zealand winter. During this period it will stop growing and can often appear quite grey in colouration.

As a result, it is normally only used as a turf grass in the warmer parts of coastal New Zealand and prefers dry, warm and sunny areas rather than shady areas where it tends to become sparse. It is a loosely tufted, slightly hairy perennial with long pointed rhizomes. The upper surface of the leaf blade is usually covered with scattered hairs as opposed to the lower surface which is less hairy.

Solutions

All turf types: The best measure of control for small infestations is to carefully lift long stolons from the sward and dip or paint on a 3:1 solution of roundup. The active ingredient will translocate through the remainder of the plant. This must be carried out when the plants are actively growing in summer. In the infestation is heavy then the lawn may need a complete spray with round up followed by replacement or re-seeding.

Fine Fescue; Control can be exerted by using Haloxyfop-P-Methyl ( sold as gallant or Ignite) The application rate is 37.5 - 50mls per 100m2. At this application rate some damage may occur to the fescue and because of that we recommend that this rate is used as a spot spray treatment to the effected areas only. To ensure that grass is actively growing and healthy prior to treatment a nitrogenous fertilizer application (Finelawn Gold applied at 3.0kgs per 100m2)is recommended 10 -14 days prior to treatment. In dry weather conditions the lawn should also be irrigated for 7 -10 days prior to application.

The best control will occur if the product is applied from November until March when the couch is actively growing.

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