Ask a Question forum: Controlling couch grass (Elymus repens)

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West Yorkshire
Apr 15, 2019 11:59 AM CST
I've just got a very neglected garden that's overun mostly by Couch Grass (Elymus repens) which I want to garden it in a wildlife enhancing way that includes wildflowers, edible plants e.g. fruit bushes & some veg. I want to try bringing the couch grass under control using Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) & Eyebright (Euphrasia spp) as they're hemi-parasitic on grasses, as well as being beautiful plants.

My question is:
are they parasitic to plants such as fruit bushes & veg as well as the grass & if so, how much of a problem is that likely to be?

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Apr 15, 2019 3:00 PM CST
Rhinanthus minor and Euphrasia will become parasitic to several different plants, not just grass. But, you can't bring the grass under control by introducting a parasitic plant. Smart parasitic plants don't kill they host plants as that would be bad for their health.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

West Yorkshire
Apr 16, 2019 1:44 AM CST
Thanks for your answer Daisy.

I guess my question wasn't very clear...I wasn't thinking that I'd obliterate the couch grass, just weaken it & ease the habitat towards one not dominated by it.

You're right, most parasites don't kill their hosts as it would be counterproductive, but I wondered if anyone had any specific knowledge or experience about the effects of those species on other plants

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