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Grassy Weeds

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist



The most common of these unwanted grassy weeds is annual Crabgrass. Since nobody wants a lawn full of this, it is the weed most people want to rid of. It gets its name from its upside-down crab-like appearance. Crabgrass will commonly produce 2-8 large bluish-green flat leaves from a clump and expand outward from the center.

  • Getting Rid of It: The best way to control crabgrass is to keep a healthy and dense lawn. Here are a few things will also help:
    1. Mowing: always keep you lawn well mowed, and if needed, mow your lawn to a longer length to crowd-out the crabgrass and prevent sunlight from penetrating to the soil. Additionally, crabgrass will grow seeds in the summer, so it's important to bag your clippings when cutting these seed heads to prevent them from working their way into the soil, thus planting for now and next season.
    2. When watering, try to use long, deep soakings instead of regular short sprays.
    3. Try to fertilize your lawn for maximum growth, especially prior to your grasses prime growing seasons. Conversely, adding too much fertilizer to your lawn during its non-prime growing season could actually aid the weed's battle against your lawn -- so make sure you're aware of the best time to fertilize!
    4. Along with fertilizing,you can also apply a pre-emergence or weed control prior to its growing season (usually Spring and Fall). For more on when to fertilize, see fertilizing.

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Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass
Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass is a light colored, fine-textured grass commonly found in highly compacted soils. This annual grass commonly grows in the cooler conditions during the fall, spring, and winter months in warm-season grass climates.

  • Getting Rid of It:
    1. Mowing: During its prime growing conditions, bluegrass will produce seed heads on top. They will need to be removed from your lawn to prevent further spreading. You can accomplish this by bagging your clippings when you mow (especially during the Fall and Spring). Additionally, it's a good idea to mow your lawn at its highest recommended length to help crowd-out the grass.
    2. Watering: Only water when your lawn needs it, and no more.
    3. Fertilizing: Apply pre-emergence fertilizer in the Spring and/or Fall. You can even treat your lawn in certain locations with a herbicide that won't damage your lawn.
    4. Aerate your lawn to reduce compaction of the soil.


Bermuda Grass

Bermuda Grass
Bermuda Grass

Bermuda grass is an annual, fine textured "creeping grass" that grows and spreads rapidly during warm summer months.

  • Getting Rid of It: Due to its rapid and sometimes wide-spread growth during warm months, Bermuda can quickly take over cool-season grasses while dormant. Herbicides are usually not as effective as simply hand-picking these weeds before they grow out of control. To help prevent this, you can apply a pre-emergence just prior to its growing season (usually spring time) to prevent the seeds from germinating. However, the other extreme is to apply fluazifopbutyl or glyphosate to kill all of the grass, then reseed over it. This is only suggested if you plan on replanting or renovating your lawn afterwards.

Dallis Grass

Dallis Grass
Dallis Grass

Dallis grass is a perennial grass with light-green color. Dallis is easily identified by its long seed-heads that protrude from the top. Dallis tends to thrive in wet areas with lots of heat, and grows in circles out from the center of the weed.

  • Getting Rid of It:
    1. Watering: Try to improve the drainage of your lawn to take dampness away from the areas were they grow. Additionally, allow the top of the soil to partially dry between each watering to help retain the water only at the grass's roots.
    2. Fertilizing: Apply pre-emergence fertilizers (usually in the late-spring) to prevent seed germination and growth.
    3. Pull the weeds by hand and make sure you get the roots as well. After pulling, reseed the area with the desired grass.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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