Monday, 7 December 2015 09:56:54 Europe/London

Lawn weeds: annual meadow grass

How to treat annual meadow grass

If you’ve spotted annual meadow grass in your lawn, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it can be dealt with and removed; the bad news is that it really isn’t easy.

leaves and flower head of annual meadow grass

Poa annua will look coarser than the surrounding turf grasses
photo credit Matt Lavin

Lawn weedkiller

Since there is no selective chemical for annual meadow grass (poa annua), there are no treatments which can be applied to kill the annual meadow grass without also killing the rest of your lawn.

Instead, if the grassed area isn’t particularly large, and the weed grass not too pervasive, you can spot treat the offending plants with round-up or a similar product. Naturally, be careful when doing this as all plants treated, whether a weed or not, will be killed by the chemical. If you’d rather not use chemicals, cutting through the base and roots of the plant with a sharp knife will also kill the plant.

Removing annual meadow grass from large lawns

This information is of little use for those with bigger gardens or if the problem is more widespread and, in this case, annual meadow grass becomes even more difficult to remove, if possible at all without replacing the lawn. There are a few techniques to get rid of the problem.

Firstly, you should feed your lawn well in March when the turf grasses will be coming into growth. This helps thicken up the lawn which can prevent the problem from worsening making the existing annual meadow grass easier to deal with.

fertiliser spreader on lawn

A regular lawn feeding regime will help lawn grasses to out compete annual meadow grass

Since the roots of annual meadow grass are shallower than most turfgrass species, not watering your lawn often over summer can be an effective way of treating it. By waiting until your whole lawn looks to be suffering during a drought before watering, it’s likely that the weed grass will have died due to its shallower roots.

Preventing an infestation of annual meadow grass

As with most things, the best way of treating annual meadow grass is to prevent it infesting your lawn in the first place.

  • Be sure to source turf from a reputable supplier to ensure that it isn’t already present when laying your lawn.
  • If seeding your own lawn, be sure to check the seed mixture for poa annua.
  • Once established, keeping your lawn healthy, lush and dense will make it harder for any seeds introduced by birds or on the wind to establish themselves.
  • If you do begin to spot annual meadow grass, dealing with the problem early is vital. Since it seeds all year round, even when cut short, left unchecked the problem will worsen quickly and potentially get out of hand.

Related articles

Guide to seasonal lawn care

Common lawn diseases


Posted in Types of grass
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