Will Vinegar Kill Quackgrass?

While quackgrass may look and sound innocent enough, chances are you are like most other gardeners if you landed here today – you simply don’t want it on your property!

Besides, by its very nature, it’s invasive and known for its complex root system and impressive seed production. 

Once it takes hold, it’s really difficult to keep at bay!

Can you use vinegar to do so? Well, here is all you are going to want to know and consider.

So, will vinegar kill quackgrass? Vinegar can kill quackgrass. However, whilst it is usually sufficient in killing quackgrass on the surface, it may not be able to kill the whole plant, as it often grows deep into the soil.

It’s a particularly troubling weed, this one. Much more challenging to get rid of than most other common weeds. 

Plus, each of its stems is capable of producing approximately 25 seeds each, if not more. 

So it can get out of hand quickly.

Hence, the general rule of thumb is that if you haven’t managed to prevent its growth, you should endeavor to tackle it as soon as you see it, i.e., in its very early days of growth. 

Let’s now turn to how you can do so.

How To Make A Vinegar-Based Solution To Kill Quackgrass

Below, we’ve outlined the ingredient list and recommended application method of a classic vinegar solution in the gardening world. 

What You Will Need

The solution consists of just three ingredients. As follows:

  • Vinegar.
  • Salt.
  • Dish soap.
  • A spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle. 

How To Make Your Vinegar Quackgrass Killer

Putting the vinegar solution together is no tricky feat.

It’s as simple as combining a cup of salt, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a gallon of vinegar together in a spray bottle.

These are the generally recommended proportions, but of course, you are welcome to adjust the quantity produced in line with how widespread your quackgrass invasion is.

How To Safely Use Vinegar To Kill Quackgrass

Perhaps the primary benefit of utilizing a vinegar solution is its non-toxic nature.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing that its application won’t pose a risk to human or pet health. 

However, as far as plants and weeds are concerned, vinegar doesn’t discriminate.

When you apply it to unwanted plants, there’s a good chance that it will harm the health of any surrounding plants that it accidentally comes into contact with.

This is what you’ll need to work to avoid.

Once the vinegar mixture is in your spray bottle, your best bet is to set the bottle’s nozzle to a powerful enough setting.

That is, not a mist setting that offers little accuracy, but rather, a more powerful spray setting that gives you a sense of control. 

Next, begin to spray the quackgrass all over. It’s as easy as that! 

How Long Does Vinegar Take To Kill Quackgrass?

It’s likely that one application will suffice, and within 24 hours, you’ll see the quackgrass begin to wither up and die. 

However, you may notice that subsequent applications will be needed, and if so, simply repeat the process over a couple of days until the quackgrass shows signs of ill health. 

Is Vinegar The Best Way To Kill Quackgrass?

Whilst admittedly, the impact of vinegar on quackgrass is considerable, the predominant problem with this approach is that it’s largely superficial.

Applying the vinegar solution to the visible quackgrass fails to address its complex and hardy rhizomes and any seeds it has produced beneath the surface.

Hence, it’s difficult to maintain that it’s the best way to kill quackgrass, although it certainly is a commonly adopted way. 

Other Ways To Kill Quackgrass

Fortunately, there exist more ways than one to get rid of the ever-pesky quackgrass.

If vinegar isn’t the best way forward for you, or you wish to couple it with a second approach for extra efficacy, read on! 

By Hand

Removing quackgrass by hand is trickier than it may sound.

The last thing you want to do is pull it from the ground carelessly and increase the risk of spreading its seeds around and fueling a further location.

Instead, you’ll need to come equipped with a trowel and dig an area around 12 inches out from the weed.

In doing this, you’ll increase the likelihood that you will be able to pull out the entire root system in a clean-cut manner. 

Next, you’ll need to dispose of the quackgrass entirely in a well-sealed garbage bag. It’s crucial to get this part right.

If you leave so much as a scrap of quackgrass behind, it will continue to grow and wreak havoc in your garden. 

As a final step, it is recommended by many to immediately plant new, healthy grass in the area where you have pulled the quackgrass from.

The newly planted grass will help to prevent the growth of quackgrass further. 

Pre and Post Emergent Herbicides

Of course, the optimal approach is prevention.

This is where off-the-shelf pre-emergent herbicides come in. By applying these to your precious lawn in a proactive manner, you’ll significantly decrease the risk of quackgrass invasion.

But if it’s too late, a post-emergent herbicide may be just what you need, and they work in the same way as vinegar.

However, it is worth noting that, unlike vinegar, these solutions tend to be toxic. 


An additional technique is mulching.

By dispensing a few inches’ worth of mulch over the quackgrass, you may be able to prevent its growth.

However, this method is somewhat of a gamble in that if the quackgrass has a difficult time popping up where it initially desired, its rhizomes may continue to creep along until the weed finds a mulch-free spot to pop up. 


Finally, if your garden is home to sufficient sunlight and heat, solarisation could be the one for you.

Essentially, this method roasts the quackgrass to death. Simply spread plastic over the quackgrass and secure it down.

Provided the weather is warm and sunny, the temperature of the ground will rise and, in turn, will kill the quackgrass.

Nonetheless, if you opt for this approach, you’ll need to be patient. It can take up to two years of repetition to truly inhibit the quackgrass’ rhizome spread and seed production and kill it once and for all. 

How effective is vinegar at protecting your garden? Find out in my following guides: