What Is It?
What Causes It?
So you’re out enjoying your lawn but notice a large amount of seed heads on the grass blades. Of course the first question that comes to mind is, “this can’t be normal. can it?” While this may be a normal site in Ohio lawns; it is by no means a welcomed one. This “seeding” grass is a lawn invader named “Poa Annua,” and is quite difficult to control, and even remove. In today’s blog, we’ll look at this common lawn care issue and how to deal with it.
Lawn Aeration – this annual grass is prone to growing in thin, or bare areas of lawn because there is little to compete with. Having a lawn aeration performed in the spring and fall keeps your soil un-compacted, allowing your lawn’s root system to “choke” out weeds and other invaders. The less compacted your soil is, the thicker your lawn will be, naturally eliminating this problem.
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Poa Annua, otherwise known as Annual Bluegrass, is a lawn care invader that is commonly mistaken with typical Kentucky bluegrass. Its blades are thin and short, but its identifying feature is the short seed heads that contain thousands of seeds. While this “grass” is commonly found in spring, it dies off quickly in the warm summer months, leaving large “gaps” of brown or dead areas in your lawn.
It is also important to mow your lawn at the highest recommend level for your specific grass type. This will shade the soil and make germination more difficult. Many cool season turf grasses can be mowed at a height of 3 to 4 inches. Depending on your grass type, see the Cool Season Grasses or the Warm Season Grasses Warm Season Grasses sections of this site for helpful mowing and planting information.
Preemergents are an added ingredient in many spring fertilizer. The bags will be labeled “with Crabgrass Control” or “Crabgrass Preventer”, etc. Make sure you spread the fertilizer at the correct nitrogen (N) level for your grass type. For help developing a sound fertilizer program, read the page on Developing a Fertilizer Program.
Cultural Practices that Help Prevent Grassy Weeds
Foxtails are known for their characteristic seed head that has a foxtail-like appearance. The seed head is at the end of the stalk and usually extends several inches above the leaves. Mature plant can have a dozen or more seed heads and can produce thousands of seeds each year. Seeds germinate when temperatures reach 68 degrees and will continue germinating through most of the summer. Foxtails will die at the first killing frost.
There are usually three to seven spikes that can either be folded up like a funnel or spread out in a whorl pattern. Each plant can produce as much as 150,000 seeds a year. Crabgrass germinates from seed each year when soil temperatures reach 55 degrees for five consecutive days. The blooming of forsythia in your area closely coincides with the germination of crabgrass seeds.
Crabgrass was originally introduced into this country as a possible forage crop. However, it easily escaped cultivation and is now widespread throughout the country. It is one of the most common and problematic weedy grasses in home lawns. It is also found on golf courses, parks, flower and vegetable gardens, athletic fields and any other place that seeds are able to germinate.
White Clover grows in a creeping manner and will develop roots wherever a stem node touches the ground.
Pre-emergent control works on the basis that you control the seed before it germinates which is an easier way to manage the problem. Application is usually going into winter.
Nut Grass is a long-lived grass-like plant that is a member of the Sedge family and can be found in your lawn year-round.
About the weed
myhomeTURF suggests using OxaFert, a combination fertiliser and pre-emergent herbicide that can be purchased through our Partner Lawn Pride.
Some gardeners occasionally grow Oxalis for groundcover but for most of us it is an annoying weed.
Oxalis also forms a fleshy taproot and an extensive branching root system which can make it challenging to manage.
myhomeTURF suggests using Indigo Halo-Force, a selective herbicide that can be purchased through our Partner Lawn Pride.