Summer is the time of year where hot temperatures and lack of moisture leads to thinner lawns and the appearance of weeds. One such weed that thrives in these types of conditions is Barnyardgrass. Tough to get rid of, barnyardgrass can be prevented, and controlled using a few different methods.
What is Barnyardgrass?
Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli) is a summer annual very similar to crabgrass. It thrives in moist, thinner areas of your lawn. Unlike crabgrass, which sprouts around May, barnyardgrass makes its appearance around August. It has thin, hairless stems with "shooter" leaves off the main stem. When mature, fuzzy seed heads appear on the end, ranging from 2 to 3 inches. What makes barnyardgrass easy to spot is its unmistakable maroon base (as seen in the above picture).
Why Does My Lawn Get It?
Stressed from the summer heat, lawns thin out and diseases can form bare spots within the turf. Barnyardgrass seeds that lay dormant in your turf will begin to germinate. Without healthy grass to compete with for nutrients, barnyardgrass takes over. It is very common in both Cleveland and Columbus, and it spreads quickly from untreated areas of grass into treated ones. Seeds often travel through the wind and with birds.
How Can I Prevent Barnyardgrass?
There are three ways to prevent barnyardgrass.
- A well-planned lawn fertilization program will provide food to your lawn all season long, keeping your grass in top shape. If your lawn is thick and healthy, barnyardgrass is less likely to grow and compete with your turf for nutrients.
- A proper watering and mowing schedule also helps keep your turf strong. Watering your lawn properly throughout the season will ensure that your lawn does not go dormant, and it allows the fertilizer to do its job. Keeping your lawn mowed at 3 to 4 inches can help cut down on disease because mowing too short can put undue stress on the turf, inviting disease.
- Finally, applying your crabgrass pre-emergent too early can shorten your protection window from barnyardgrass. Products like Dimension not only prevent crabgrass, but if applied at the proper time can help control barnyardgrass, too.
OK, My Lawn Has It. Now What?
Recognizing the problem is the first step! After realizing that you have barnyardgrass, there are only a few products that can get rid of this pesky weed. Quinclorac is the product professionals use to treat and rid lawns of both crabgrass and barnyardgrass. Be careful when choosing a weed control product, as most available in home improvement stores do not contain this ingredient.
The Road To Recovery Starts With This Free Lawn Care Guide
Barnyardgrass is just one of the many problems that your lawn may have encountered over the hot summer. That's why fall is the perfect time to help your lawn recover, getting it healthy before the winter sets in. Weed Pro's Ultimate Fall Guide will walk you through this recovery step-by-step, with simple solutions and tips.
Shaun Kanary has been a part of the Green Industry for the past 15 years. As the Director of Marketing for Weed Pro Lawn Care, a Cleveland and Columbus Lawn Care Service Provider, Shaun is a regular contributor to the Weed Pro Blog, and other industry magazine and blogs.
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