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Elymus repens

couch grass

A fast-growing perennial grass with pale, hairy sheaths on the lower leaves and flat green leaf blades to 40cm long. Produces upright flower spikes to 120cm high in late summer. Each plant forms a dense network of pale yellow or straw-coloured rhizomatous roots, that enable it to spread rapidly in lawns and borders

Other common names
felt
lagoon grass
see morequack grass
quitch grass
scutch
shelly grass
skally grass
squitch grass
twitch
twitch grass
witch grass
Synonyms
Elytrigia repens
Triticum repens
see moreAgropyron repens
Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1 year
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained, Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or West–facing or North–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Botanical details
Family
Poaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Elymus can be tufted or rhizomatous perennial grasses, with linear, deciduous leaves, sometimes attractively coloured, and flattened flower spikes in summer and autumn

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Temp. N. Hemisphere

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How to grow

Cultivation

Growth begins early in spring, which can allow this plant to out-compete others that may need warmer temperatures; because of this and its ability to spread rapidly underground, it is often considered a weed. Roots are fairly shallow, so forking out may be possible in lighter soils, though any remaining fragments of rhizome may re-grow

Propagation

Propagates predominantly by spreading rhizomes (underground roots), although seed is also produced and can remain viable in the soil for some years

Suggested planting locations and garden types
Pruning

Cutting can encourage tillering

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

Generally disease-free

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