Unwanted Warm Season Grasses Invading NOVA

Having a beautiful, lush lawn is our desired goal in the DC Metro area BUT warm season grasses have become an increasing problem.  These unwanted turf varieties are infesting the preferred fescue lawns with varieties that include:  Dallis Grass, Chain Grass, Goose Grass, Couch Grass, Devil Grass, Wire Grass, Dog Tooth Grass and Bermuda grass. These funny sounding invasive grasses attract pests, turn brown with the first frost, and make an ugly contrast with green turf.

Dormant in Fescue

What is Warm Season Grass?

Warm Season Grasses were introduced into the United States in the 1800s as fast growing forage plants that could survive in southern climates. They thrive in sandy or clay soils, prevalent in our area. They love nitrogen fertilizer and grow twice as fast as regular turf grasses, which can create unsightly tufts for homeowners. Dallis grass leaf appearance is very similar to crabgrass but much harder to control.

different grasses

With their aggressive spreading habits, warm season grasses gradually crowd out the desirable fescue grasses, creating an unsightly contrast between turf types. This has become the nastiest of turf weed problems to control.  Another issue is that it turns brown very quickly once any frost hits it, creating a sharp contrast particularly with tall fescue grasses which stay green all winter. They also attract serious insect pests that feed on it, even cockroaches (more cockroach facts).  These include armyworms, cutworms, sod webworms, Bermuda grass mites, and rhode grass scale (mealybug). The latter two insects cause damage by sucking juices from the stems and stunting the normal growth of the grass.  Nuisance type insects found on bermudagrass include:  chiggers, ants, and ticks.

Can Warm Season Grass Be Controlled or Prevented?

Due to its extensive root system, Bermuda grass is very difficult to control or even eradicate completely from a lawn where it has been growing vigorously.  The underground roots and the above ground runners spread everywhere.  As a result, even flower bed and other adjacent areas can become affected.  Post-emergent herbicides that are used to remove crabgrass can work, although they must be applied several times at higher levels to complete the treatment and prevent regrowth.

What Can Blade Runners Do About Warm Season Grass?

 As is the case with broadleaf weeds and crabgrass, annual attention is needed and complete eradication is not possible. Blade Runners makes a single application in the summer that service to slow and control infestation. We do have an enhanced service with applications  made in August, over 3 applications that are ten days apart. Aggressive seeding to follow is needed. Even with these efforts it is likely that the problem will return if the site is not irrigated.

It can be persistent and expensive to control.  In some cases, clients make the commitment for eradication and others are willing to accept the appearance result.  If you would like to make the effort in control, Blade Runners can provide you with a specific estimate.

Comments are closed.