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Couch Grass (Elymus repens): Any Success Stories?


This is my first post. Like many around the country living in self-isolation has turned me to obsessing with my garden. I've started reading a lot and trying to learn. This spring I took to removing the moss, scarifying, and reseeding my lawn. 

This new found obsession with my grass however has made me realise that my lawn is not all grass but a high proportion of it is made up of couch grass. I'm up for a challenge but completely treating the lawn with glyphosate and returfing/ reseeding is beyond my current expetise. Also we have young children - I want them to enjoy the garden this Summer. 

I've spent hours and days reading forums and watching videos on how to erradicate Couch Grass in less invasive ways but the information is unclear - perhaps because of how difficult it is. 

When I read some forums there is hope, quotes include:
"regularly mowing the lawn at a low setting will gradually weaken and erradicate the couch".

On the flip side:
"I've been mowing regularly for 25 years and my lawn is still full of couch."

What I want to understand is if anyone has any success stories removing couch grass from their lawn? And can share their methodology. 

Kind Regards,



  • My lawn is just "grass" with clover (lovely haze of purple), scattering of daisies (how else do the children make necklaces?) and dandelions (who can pick the most yellow flowers?).

    The area nearest the house had been (poorly) graveled so being poor at the time (1988) with 2 and a bit children all that happened was raking up the loose stones and waiting for something to grow. Apparently we had couch grass but made an OK lawn.

    Not a success story but more 'laisse faire!
  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
    Short answer @micksom is no.  I keep it out of the borders and away from my veg and herbs and every year there is a bit less. This has been going on for many, many years!

    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,419
    edited May 2020
    Seen as mowing hasn't slowly eradicated it and they is no selective weedkiller solution all you can do is dig it out. 
  • AstroAstro Posts: 418
    It's common over our allotment and I just pull as much as possible, but it doesn't go. It spreads underneath from  edges and pops back up.

    To get rid I'd imagine it would fully need to be removed, no bits of root or anything. The problem would be it will creep back in from surrounding areas. So they would all have be completely cleared. I've found it makes it's way under physical edging and under paving and pops up in the borders.
  • micksommicksom Posts: 6
    edited May 2020
    All, thanks for the great responses. The answers so far are what I expected although feared! 

    What I have noticed is that in the very few lush green parts of my grass there is couch grass intertwined. I can absolutely live with this - it still looks lovely. 

    What I am wondering then is this;

    • Is it possible to have a 'lush' lawn which includes couch grass? Should I continue to scarify, overseed, and fertilise my lawn on a regular basis? Or am I now fighting a losing battle?

    The reason I ask is that in the bare patches it looks like my grass seed hasn't germinated yet - the only green shoots I can see coming through are that of couch grass. This is particularly in areas where there used to be moss. I don't know whether I have made the problem worse or not. I also don't know whether I have been unlucky that the weather hasn't been favourable on the East Coast of Scotland for germination. A very dry but quite cool April. I could live with the crouch grass coming through as long as lovely grass was too - but it's not :disappointed: !

    Kind Regards,


  • PerkiPerki Posts: 2,419
    edited May 2020
    I believe in New Zealand / Australia they have couch grass golf greens ( unless this is a different variety of couch grass ) so I suppose it can be good not that I am recommending it, depending on how much you've got in the lawn I would consider painting some weedkiller on them. 
  • micksommicksom Posts: 6
    Thanks for the tip Perki. I have absolutely thought about it. My lawn is only around 120sqm but there are thousands of leaves to cover. I think it would take days to do a reasonably thorough job. 

    I would actually consider doing this if I was certain that it would be worthwhile. Its actually exactly the sort of thing I was trying to understand from this post - if anyone else had attempted spot treatment across a lawn with success. 
  • LynLyn Posts: 22,852
    Whatever you do with it, don’t put it in your compost bin, every bit will grow again .
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • SmudgeriiSmudgerii Posts: 185
    Lyn said:
    Whatever you do with it, don’t put it in your compost bin, every bit will grow again .
    Dry it first and it’s fine to compost.
  • micksommicksom Posts: 6
    edited May 2020
    Again, thanks all for the great advice.

    Does anyone know if scarifying my lawn in Spring and Autumn could actually worsen the problem of Couch Grass?

    I'm not sure whether clearing the areas where I previously had Moss are more likely to be overtaken by couch rather than grass when I overseed.
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