Annual Meadow Grass in Lawns
It’s the scourge of greenkeepers and lawn lovers throughout the northern hemisphere. Poa Annua, otherwise known as annual meadow grass.
What Is Annual Meadow Grass?
It’s an incredibly successful plant that seems to grow almost anywhere. Between cracks in the pavement, in gutters, on the side of the road and unfortunately – in lawns.
What does Annual Meadow Grass Look Like?
It’s actually quite a pretty grass. It grows close to the ground, has pale green leaves that are soft and smooth and the flowers are delicate and feathery.
If it weren’t for the fact that it can sometimes be lighter in colour than cultivated lawn grasses, you probably wouldn’t even notice it in a lawn. On a golf green it sticks out like a sore thumb because the grass blades are coarser, thicker and faster growing than the fescues and bent grasses surrounding it; which also makes for an uneven playing surface.
Annual Meadow Grass is more prone to disease than the hardier cultivated grasses which means that it can sometimes look rather sickly compared to its neighbours. Nothing looks odder than a lush green lawn spotted with pale green AMG.
How to get rid of Annual Meadow Grass
It’s virtually impossible to find a herbicide that will kill one type of grass without damaging other grasses – so if you want to get rid of AMG chemical sprays are out of the question.
The only three options you have are either
- Dig it out
- Treat each individual plant with systemic weed killer
- Disguise it
My personal favourite method is to keep the lawn in really good condition so that the Annual Meadow Grass is harder to spot.
Digging out AMG plants leaves baldy patches of disturbed soil for new weeds to establish into. Spot treating with glyphosate (Roundup) gel also leaves brown patches on the lawn.
Some people recommend taking a sharp knife and slashing through the leaves and roots of each AMG plant. I find it time consuming and it needs to be repeated several times before the plant dies.
In really bad cases, it’s easiest to remove the affected section of the lawn and either re-seed or re-turf. But there’s no guarantee that the AMG won’t grow back again.
Good Lawn Care Overcomes Flaws
If your lawn is well fed, the soil beneath it is in good condition and you mow it regularly, Annual Meadow Grass is less likely to be a problem for you. Make no bones about it, it’ll probably still be there, but you won’t notice it.
Mowing regularly and removing the clippings – especially when AMG is in flower – is a good way to stop unwanted grasses from springing up elsewhere on the lawn.
Regular feeding makes sure that the AMG leaves stay darker green and blend in with the lawn grass plants.
Aerating, topdressing and scarifying your established lawn every year will keep the soil in good condition and make sure that the desirable lawn grasses are robust enough to outcompete AMG.
For more advice on treating Annual Meadow Grass