The herbicides 2,4-D [(2,4-dichlorophenoxy) acetic acid], dalapon (2,2-dichloropropionic acid), glyphosate [(N-phosphonomethyl)glycine], paraquat (1,1’-dimethyl-4,4’-bypiridinium ion), and pronamide [3,5-dichloro-(N-1,1-dimethyl-2-propynyl)benzamide] were applied at selected rates and dates to quackgrass [Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv. ♯ AGRRE]-infested alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) sod in 1979 and 1980 to suppress vegetation for subsequent establishment of alfalfa without tillage. The influence of herbicides on weed control, alfalfa seedling density and visual stand, and forage yield and quality was assessed for 3 yr. During establishment, all herbicides except 2,4-D effectively controlled quackgrass. Glyphosate applied broadcast increasingly suppressed the existing sod as the rate was increased from 0.6 to 1.6 kg ai/ha. The effectiveness of herbicides as measured by total (old and new) plant density was closely related to the suppression of the sward. While the substitution of new alfalfa plants for old ones was not necessary under dense (40 plants/m2) alfalfa stands, completely controlling the vegetation with glyphosate resulted in sustained productivity throughout the experimental period. After 3 yr, alfalfa percentage and yield were highest when glyphosate was broadcast at 1.6 kg/ha. Improvement in forage quality, as estimated by the concentrations of crude protein and neutral-detergent fiber, was closely related to grass control.