How to Kill Dallisgrass Without Calling a Professional (2018 Update)
When you are trying to maintain a beautiful lawn, the last thing you want is dallisgrass invading your yard. It is difficult to control, but you can learn how to kill dallisgrass with a few tips and tricks.
Dallisgrass wasn’t native to the United States. Originating in Uruguay and Argentina, dallisgrass was purposefully introduced into the area because it is fast growing. It is a great foraging plant for southern, warmer climates. The name dallisgrass came from A.T. Dallis who was a supporter of its use and importation. Unfortunately, the usefulness of the plant is forgotten, replaced with thoughts of an annoying weed.
If you live in an area with a lot of dallisgrass, you probably have no issues identifying the weed. It grows in private and public places. Dallisgrass grows in circular clumps. The clumps can get so large that the inner circle ends up dying as the outer leaves continue to grow.
The bad thing about dallisgrass is that it will smother your grass underneath as it extends and grows. The roots grow and spread easily in moist soil, so most homeowners have a hard time controlling its growth. Other plants struggle to grow in sandy or clay soils – not dallisgrass! The growth rate is twice as fast as your normal grass, so it takes over your yard easily.
Learning How to Kill Dallisgrass
There isn’t a single method that will kill all of the dallisgrass in your yard. Instead, you have to take multiple steps to control and reduce its growth.
Dig Up Dallisgrass
Your first step is to dig up any clumps of dallisgrass in your yard with shovels and trowels. You want to get their entire root system. That is key to slow its return because it will return! If you leave any pieces of the root in the ground, it will pop back up quickly
Create a Healthy Lawn
After you dig up the dallisgrass in your yard, you want to spread a heavy layer of seeds or sod, which stops the germination of the dallisgrass weed seeds. You don’t want any bare spots in your yard at all because it gives an opportunity for the weeds to take back over your yard. Water your grass seeds and add fertilizer to encourage thick growth. A thick lawn makes it hard for the dallisgrass to germinate and grow.
Another good tip is to cut your lawn frequently for a healthy lawn. You don’t want to cut it too short; 1/3 inch is the ideal length. It ensures your grass doesn’t die. Healthy grass needs to be taller, and it prevents the spread of dallisgrass.
Add Mulch to Garden Beds
Dallisgrass doesn’t just grow in your yard; you will find it in any garden bed as well. You need to pull all of the clumps out of your garden bed as well. Then, add a thick layer of mulch over the top. The mulch should be at least three inches thick to stop any dallisgrass seeds from growing through. Mulch also stops birds from getting to the dallisgrass seeds and spreading them places you don’t want them to go.
Try a Pre Emergent Herbicide
Once you do all of these steps, you still aren’t out of the woods. Dallisgrass produces hundreds of seeds on a long spike. Each spike can have anywhere from two to ten spikelets. Each spikelet has at least two rows of seeds. All that needs to happen is a gust of wind, and the seeds are spread throughout your yard.
You will want to find a pre-emergent herbicide that you can use to spray your lawn. If it says it works for crabgrass, it should work for dallisgrass. These herbicides will help to stop the germination and growth of those seeds spread by wind or animals.
Post Emergent Treatments
Sometimes, dallisgrass will continue to grow no matter the methods we take. In those cases, you will need to continue to dig out the weeds as soon as you find them in your yard. This method is physical, but it will help the spread.
The other methods involve using post-emergent herbicides. You can find ones meant for crabgrass removal; they work great. However, you have to apply the herbicides in multiple intervals, two to three weeks apart, several times to ensure the dallisgrass doesn’t grow back
Your last option is to use a non-selective herbicide for spot treatments. The only negative about this option is that it will kill any plant that comes in contact with the spray. So, if it is in your lawn, you will kill your grass in that spot as well as the dallisgrass. You want to make sure that you pull out the dead weeds quickly and spread sod or grass seeds in those bare areas.
If you are wondering how to kill dallisgrass in St. Augustine, non-selective herbicides tend to be the top recommended choice. You may have to replant plugs of St. Augustine grass in the areas that are dead to stop the spread of dallisgrass.
Learning how to kill dallisgrass in Bermuda lawns is a bit different. You have a specific window of time to spray the dallisgrass with an herbicide, typically Roundup. You can use Roundup on Bermuda grass that is dormant. There is a specific window of time in early winter when Bermuda grass is dormant, but dallisgrass is still alive. You should spray it then. The results are visible in the spring.
Dallisgrass is one of the most invasive and difficult to control weeds you will encounter. Effectively learning how to kill dallisgrass requires a lot of your time and effort. If you take the right steps and diligently watch for signs of regrowth, it is possible to get rid of dallisgrass forever.
Remember, it is important to maintain a healthy lawn and cover any bare spots. Use pre and post emergent herbicides on the weeds, as needed. Remove any clumps you find. Don’t forget those roots! If you use the steps correctly, your lawn will be free of dallisgrass soon!
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