How to Control Grassy Weeds

Three Parts:Preventing grassy weed growthIdentification of grassy weedsRemoving grassy weeds from your lawn

Getting rid of any type of weeds in your lawn can be difficult. This is particularly true when it comes to grassy weeds. Grassy weeds can resemble the texture and style of other grass, making them a challenge to control because they're both camouflaged and tightly bound into the lawn as a whole. The process for controlling grassy weeds can be broken down into three separate categories, prevention, identification and finally removal. In this article, you'll follow each category breakdown, learning how to get rid of grassy weeds and help stop them from coming back.

Part 1
Preventing grassy weed growth

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    Take a preventative approach to grassy weed control. Most often the best defense against weeds is to make sure that your lawn is healthy and strong enough to ward of the weeds before they even surface. This includes ensuring that you are using the correct types of seeds when planting parts of the lawn.
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    Maintain your yard so that it is up to date with all of the necessary treatments. For example, check to make sure that you are fertilizing and watering regularly and properly. Read the instructions for fertilizing the type of lawn you have and mark dates for addition of fertilizer on your calendar.
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    After regular ongoing yard maintenance, apply a pre-emergent weed control treatment to your lawn. This will help prevent any weeds from sprouting out before they surface.

Part 2
Identification of grassy weeds

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    Identify which grassy weed is causing the issues in your yard. Being able to identify the source of the problem will help determine the most effective treatments. Make sure you understand what the issue is before you try treating it, so that you can target the treatment of the grass to its type. Typical grassy weeds that you might come across in a lawn include:[1]
    • Grassy winter annual weeds: Annual bluegrass (Poa annua)
    • Grassy summer annual weeds:
      Image titled Control Grassy Weeds Step 4Bullet2
      • Crabgrass (Digitaria)
      • Goosegrass
      • Japanese stilt grass (Microstegium vimineum)
    • Grassy perennial weed/sedges (sedges are not grassy weeds but may end up in the lawn as well):
      • Bermuda grass or wiregrass (Cynodon dactylon)
      • Dallisgrass (Papsalum)
      • Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi)
      • Orchardgrass (Dactylis)
      • Quackgrass (Elymus repens); and
      • Yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus).

Part 3
Removing grassy weeds from your lawn

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    If all the above fails and weeds have already started attacking your yard, use a grassy weed control application. There are two types of chemical weed control––one for pre-emergent weeds and one for post-emergent weeds.[1] Ask for advice at your local hardware store, based on the identification of the weeds in your yard.
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    If you don't want to use chemicals but don't mind manual work, you can also try removing the weeds by pulling them out. Be careful to make sure you are removing the entire weed if you decide to pull it out, getting all of the root as well.
    • If hand pulling, do so before the seeds emerge, to ensure that the plant is not more widely distributed as you carry it about while clearing.
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    Apply additional (and regular) yard care and weed control treatments to prevent the grassy weeds from coming back. It is only with persistent and consistent care that you can keep grassy weeds at bay. It will only take a season of not caring for the yard for the weeds to re-invade the area, so if you're not able to undertake maintenance when needed, get in someone who can do it for you.


  • If you have a grassy weeds problem, it's prudent that you have it treated as soon as possible. Weeds can take up space and much needed nutrients that your other plants need to grow.
  • You might also find broadleaf weeds in the lawn, such as:[1]
    • Broadleaf winter annual weeds: Chickweed, speedwell, dead nettle, henbit, shepherd's purse, hairy bittercress, etc.
    • Broadleaf summer annual weeds: Black medic, carpetweed, knotweed, mallow, oxalis, purslane, prostrate spurge, etc.
    • Broadleaf perennial weeds: Broadleaf and curly dock, broadleaf and buckthorn plantain, common cinquefoil, creeping oxalis, dandelion, ground ivy, Indian strawberry, mouse-ear chickweed, sheep or red sorrel, white clover, wild garlic and wild onion, wild violet and yarrow.


  • Discard of weed seeds with care. If removing weeds that already have many seeds or bulbs, be sure to dispose of them in such a way as to prevent their renewed dispersal. Composting is often not hot enough to kill these seeds, so bagging and disposing through your normal garbage pickup might be the best way of getting rid of seeds and bulbs.

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Categories: Garden Pests and Weeds