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Dealing with dallisgrass

June 18, 2020 -  By
Dallisgrass trial (Photo: Ryan Lawn & Tree)

Ryan Lawn & Tree took photos of turf treated for dallisgrass seven days after an application (left) and 14 days after an application (right). (Photo: Ryan Lawn & Tree)

Thick bladed, low growing and laterally spreading are a few terms Micah Boswell, turf manager of Ryan Lawn & Tree in Tulsa, Okla., uses to describe dallisgrass.

“It’s a big, gnarly clump and can have a bald center,” Boswell says. “It can have some gnarly black seeds that will come off the end of it in the summertime.”

Ryan Lawn & Tree provides lawn care services to a primarily residential clientele from its five branches in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Todd Brown, president and owner of Southern Classic Landscape Management in Flowery Branch, Ga., adds, “It’s a flat perennial grass that starts out on the ground and grows up from these nasty little seedheads that ruin the look of any lawn two days after you mow it. It’s got a wide blade and a big crown that just gets bigger and bigger.”

Southern Classic Landscaping provides maintenance, lawn care, design/build, hardscape and irrigation services to a primarily residential clientele.

Dallisgrass (Photo: Ryan Lawn & Tree)

Ridding turf of dallisgrass may take several seasons, so it can be helpful to make applications in both the spring and fall. (Photo: Ryan Lawn & Tree)

Brown and Boswell share their advice for defeating dallisgrass, a summer perennial that can be found in both warm- and cool-season grasses.

Battle plan

First and foremost, Boswell suggests maintaining healthy turf with regular mowing and fertilizer applications to help prevent the spread of dallisgrass.

“Standard thick, healthy turf can choke out a lot of it in the beginning stages,” he says. “We see dallisgrass in neglected lawns that haven’t been on a weed control program or maintained properly, so there’s usually very little turfgrass to begin with.”

If a lawn does become infested with dallisgrass, Brown says it typically starts to emerge in spring.

“Most of the turf is Bermudagrass, but it’s in a lot of other turf types as well,” he says. “It’s a warm-season perennial where it’s only active from spring through fall.”

For control, Boswell says he applies a combination of dicamba and foramsulfuron in the spring at the suggested label rate and applies pinoxaden one time in the fall at a rate of 0.5 fluid ounce per 1,000 square feet.

“Dallisgrass is a stubborn one,” Boswell says. “Since the use of MSMA has been gone, it’s been tough for the turf managers to find solutions. Persistency in reapplication seems to be the deal breaker. If you can stay on top of it, hit it multiple times, you’ll have better results with it.”

He adds that it’s important to educate customers that eradicating dallisgrass is often a multiseason process.

“Put those expectations on the front end,” he says. “The more mature those plants are in the beginning, the longer of a process it’s going to be. Setting those expectations on the front end, clients are usually patient with it. When they see it pop up again the next year, we’re hoping they see less every time, and eventually it should get out of there.”

Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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