Dallisgrass… what started as a good idea turned into a terrible outcome in no time. It was introduced to the U.S. from South America back in the 1800s as a foraging grass because of its hardiness and resistance to extreme heat.
However, things quickly took a turn for the worse when it began to overtake natural grasses, spreading far and wide as a perennial grassy weed.
It gets even worse.
The seed heads are susceptible to a type of fungus that can be toxic to livestock. It's an undesirable grass and one that must be dealt with preventively to curb future landscape infestations.
How Did I Get Dallisgrass?
Most turf sites in the U.S., especially the South, are infested with dallisgrass. So chances are your lawn or landscape has had this perennial weed for years, maybe even centuries.
As a perennial weed, it's hard to control once it's established in the area. It continues to persist and spread year after year. It's found on both public and private lawns and thrives very well in sandy or clay soils in the South.
What makes this weed even worse is how it grows even faster in nitrogen-rich soil. So if you were to add high-load nitrogen to a lawn infested with dallisgrass, it will grow even faster and smother the native turfgrasses in the area.
Dallisgrass looks a lot like crabgrass and gets mistaken for it often. Knowing how to identify it will help you to treat it correctly. After all, not all crabgrass control products will work effectively to get rid of dallisgrass. Here are just a few characteristics to help you identify it in the lawn:
- Yellowish green color with a white vein down the leaf front
- Hairy base with stiff leaves
- Grows in tufts or circular bunches
- Has two to 10 spikelets
- Black colored seeds compared to whitish crabgrass seeds
How to Get Rid of Dallisgrass
Dallisgrass seeds are easily dispersible by animals, the wind and your lawnmower. Once they've grown spikelets with seeds, it's going to be difficult to stop the weeds from spreading. Prevention is the key to eliminating this weed, and the best time to take preventive action is in the early spring before it's emerged.
Before you resort to using herbicides for dallisgrass control, it's important to identify your lawn type. Are you applying the herbicide to Kentucky Bluegrass or zoysia, fescue or St. Augustine? Applying an herbicide not recommended for your grass type could have damaging effects and ruin the turf.
Next step would be to determine whether you need to spot treat the weed or to catch it before it emerges from the soil.
For spot treatments, a glyphosate product would work quickly and effectively. Keep in mind, however, that glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will also kill other vegetation if it's applied improperly.
Try RoundUp QuikPro for spot treating the dallisgrass on your lawn.
For prevention, you'll want to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring and perhaps even through the early summer months.
Consider using Dimension 2EW for preventing dallisgrass on your lawn. It contains dithiopyr and halts the weed's growth before it emerges. It's a water-based herbicide and applies easily with standard spray equipment.
Another pre-emergent herbicide is Pylex, which contains topramezone and is also useful for crabgrass control. It can be applied to residential and non-residential properties.
Certainty herbicide is also useful for suppressing dallisgrass in warm-season grasses. As always, read the labels to make sure the herbicide is compatible with your turfgrass.
Dallisgrass Control Products with Heritage PPG
With the right products and know-how, you can beat dallisgrass and retain the beauty of your lawn. Taking preventive action in the spring will help to curb a summertime infestation, so be sure to apply pre-emergent herbicides early on to limit the amount of spot treatments you'll have to apply later.