Invincible Weed? I hope not!

I have been fighting a weed for a few years now, all to no avail. It
is sometimes called 'wiregrass'. sometimes 'witchgrass', I think.
It grows long 'stringers' below and above ground, and when I pull one
up, sometimes the 'stringer' is a foot or two long! Terrible stuff.
I have tried a few weed killers, such as Weed-B-Gone, and weed killers
in Turf Builder. I think the danged weed feeds on that.
The local nursery tells me that you can't kill it except by using a
vegetation killer, which of course would kill grass and everything.
I hate to think of doing that.
I guess I have a few questions. First, is a vegetation killer my only
choice? If not, what else can I try? If so, when do I apply it? In
the Fall? Second, how soon after something as drastic as that can I
then plant grass seed? Seems to me that the killer would exist in the
soil for a while. Maybe years?
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Unfortunately, common names for plants make them very hard to identify. Without proper identification, it's even more difficult to find a remedy or control. Photos of the plant would be most helpful. Posting them online somewhere, and linking here, would be best. Your geographical location is helpful information, also.
Looking for "witchgrass" turns up Panicum capillare. Do a search on Google for the Latin name, and see if that's the plant.
"Wiregrass" turns up another plant altogether (Cynodon dactylon (syn. Panicum dactylon, Capriola dactylon)), which is actually Bermuda grass.
It depends on the plant. If it's C. dactylon, timing is everything with a non-selective herbicide. It spreads by stolons (the runners across the surface), rhyzomes (underground), as well as seeds. You need to apply glyphosate (ex. Roundup) at the END of the plant's growing season, when the plant is sending food back down to the rhyzomes for storage during it's dormant season. If you apply it during it's growing season, you'll kill the top-growth, but the rhyzomes will send up new stolons in no time. Applying at the end of the season, it will take the herbicide down to the rhyzome, and effectively kill it.
If it's P. capillare, and it's in your lawn, you should apply a pre-emergent. It's an annual. If the seeds can't sprout, the plant can't grow.
Mow higher, seed in the fall to get the turf thicker so the "weed" can't compete, and try not to overwater.
Apply glyphosate in the fall. Water, heck, even fertilize the invasive pest. Make it feel welcome, get it growing and producing sugars, then ZAP it with the herbicide. It'll never see it coming. =)
Pre-emerge in early spring.
Glyphosate won't affect the seeds. It's a contact killer. It's absorbed through the leaves of the plant. If you're really worried, wait 7 days before seeding.
Reply to
Eggs Zachtly
I'm a "do it myself" kind of guy, but I will admit that I do not have a green thumb and don't know beans about lawncare. I do my part, mowing and watering, but I leave chemical applications to the pros. Maybe you have a good professional outfit in your area that could help?
Reply to
J.A. Michel
I bought a 'Weed Dragon' and it seems to work fine. So far. It is a God-awful flamethrower type of device however. Must be careful so I don't fulfill my wife's prophesy that I will burn the house down!
Thanks again. -GECKO
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i generally don't do a lot of week or bug killers but i've got similarly tough (but unrelated weeds) and get the same advice even from folks at the Ag station; either live with it, or else kill the lawn completely and start over.
i'm just going to live with it, but honestly, killing the lawn and starting over doesn't seem that out of the question; roundup or another glyphosate product is gone very quickly, and you can seed like the next day. i've used the stuff seriously once where i hadn't gotten to my "garden" in time to either plant something or mulch it, and had a gorgeous crop of 4 foot tall weeds, and it killed most everything off very quickly; but, month later, new weeds were indeed growing there. so there is apparently no real residual activity.
some folks appear to be sensitive to it; but in fact that appears to be sensitivity to the "inert carrier" whatever it may be, rather than the glyphosate itself. me, i just like to avoid routine use of chemicals and invest my cash/time/energy more in building self- sustaining healthy lawn, etc. but for the occasional real emergency cases like my localized bumper weed crop i'll use some products if my research on them doesn't produce any real red flags.
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