Turf, landscaped areas, gardens, crop fields, orchards, roadsides, and other disturbed places.
Flowers bloom from July through October. Flowers cluster along stiff spikes. Usually two to six spikes radiate out at the end of the flowering stem (although one to twelve spikes may occur). Sometimes one or two spikes are attached below the terminal cluster.
Goosegrass forms a pale green matlike clump with flattened stems that grows in a low rosette. Stems are somewhat fleshy at the base. The mature plant can spread to about 2-1/2 feet (80 cm) wide. The leaf blades are nearly hairless, except for long hairs on the blade bases, collars, and/or upper sheath margins. Leaves are keeled along the midvein near the base of the blade. Sheaths are open, flattened, keeled, and are whitish at the base around the collar.
Goosegrass, also called wiregrass, is an annual summer grass and occasionally, a perennial. Except for non-irrigated desert regions, it is found throughout California to about 660 feet (200 m). Goosegrass is normally found in compacted areas or areas of heavy wear; it inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed places, especially those that receive some summer water, and grows close to the ground. It is a widespread and highly variable species that tolerates a broad range of environmental conditions, but does not survive frost. Goosegrass is susceptible to viruses that cause diseases such as sugar cane mosaic.
Leaves have a short membranous ligule with a jagged top. It is usually cleft in the center. There are no auricles.
Overwatering and extreme culture can promote the growth of the weed. Patchy lawns and areas with heavy foot traffic will have the highest populations of goosegrass.
Pre-emergent herbicides work best if applied in late winter to early spring when soil temperatures reach 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 C.) for 24 days in a row.
Control of Goosegrass in Lawns
Control of goosegrass in lawns relies upon proper maintenance first and pre-emergent or post emergent chemicals for flare ups. One simple way to help prevent the weed is by aerating. Aeration increases the porosity of the ground and discourages the formation of goosegrass.
If you have identified the splayed tufts of grass with numerous finger-like blades in your lawn, you will need to investigate how to kill goosegrass. The plant can become established even in hard, compacted soils and is very resilient. The thick leaf blades are difficult to cut with a mower and even after a close trim, lawn grass will look ragged and unkempt if goosegrass is present.
If you are using a spray application for control of goosegrass in lawns, apply it on a windless day to prevent drift that can kill non-target plants.