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How To Control Creeping Signalgrasscreeping signalgrass

There can be a number of weeds that can grow on a lawn that can be baffling to most. One of the most baffling is a weed known as Creeping Signalgrass (also known as broadleaf signalgrass). This weed is not only confusing to landowners who see this weed creep up on their turf but even that name can make people scratch their heads in bewilderment as to what the name means.

Creeping signalgrass is actually a kind of grass that often gets confused for crabgrass. If your lawn has an outbreak of creeping signalgrass, there is an answer to control it with the help of tips and herbicide recommendations from Solutions Pest & Lawn.

Once you learn that creeping signalgrass on your property, you shouldn't equip yourself with weed killers just yet. The best weapon in your arsenal for controlling weeds like creeping signalgrass is knowledge. You need to know what makes this weed tick and what it's weaknesses are. Once you are armed with information, you can then confidently move on to addressing this weed with the proper techniques and herbicides.

Solutions Pest and Lawn is your trusted advisor and provider for professional grade do-it-yourself lawn maintenance and weed control products and information. Our exclusive lawn care and weed killing products include premium grass seeds and professional-grade fertilizers. We also have highly-trained and industry-certified representatives that are ready to answer your call or email about any lawn, weed or pest control questions.

Browse our creeping signalgrass products below and then scroll further to learn more about creeping signalgrass and what steps you should take to address this weed and get it removed from your lawn the right way. As always, feel free to email us or give us a call and one of our friendly representatives will assist you with your order or with any lawn care problems you have.

How to Get Rid of Creeping Signalgrass

Step 1: Identification. First you need to be absolutely sure that the weed you have growing on your lawn is indeed creeping signalgrass. It is important to properly ID the weed you want to be removed because herbicide selections depend upon what type of grass or weed you have growing. We have specific herbicides which target creeping signalgrass and if what you see isn't creeping signalgrass there's a chance the herbicide you bought may not successfully remove the undesired plant.


Creeping signalgrass is often mistaken for crabgrass which is understandable because they do share similar traits, however creeping signalgrass is a little darker green in color and has a much more coarse texture to it. Leaves are smooth, flat, and wide. Seedhead branches spreading like "signal flags" with seeds on underneath side, which is why they earned their name. 


If you aren’t able to identify it from the image we have posted or the descriptions provided, contact us via identification@solutionsstores.com. Send us a clear photo of the plant and we will properly identify it and then give you a control plan with herbicide recommendations.

Step 2: Inspection. Once you are certain it is creeping signalgrass it is time to carry out an inspection. This grass may be pretty easy to suspect since due to its creeping, prostrate growth habit, it will stand out amongst your desired grasses. What you're going to want to determine in this step is how severe of a problem you have and what areas they are concentrated in so you know where to focus your chemical treatment. 


Step 3: Control. Creeping signalgrass has trouble establishing as seedlings if they are regularly tilled in the soil. However, if they are already well-established, controlling the grassy weed via herbicide may be necessary.  While hand pulling is an effective means of control for those wanting to go the organic route, if there is a lot of creeping signalgrass on your land that might be too much work to do so manually. Fortunately, we have some recommendations below which will take care of the creeping signalgrass problem quickly and efficiently.

We recommend using a pre-emergent herbicide early in the spring to prevent the weed from establishing itself on the lawn with Celsius WG. However, if signalgrass is already established on your lawn this won’t do any good and post-emergent herbicides would be necessary.

Use a post-emergent herbicide like RoundUp Quikpro  or Eraser 41% Glyphosate as this is when the plant is still young and isn’t fully developed yet, making it more vulnerable to chemicals. Be forewarned that these are non-selective herbicides meaning it will kill all plantlife it touches so be careful when applying it around desired plants. Follow the label for recommended rates and application methods. 


If your field or area suffering from heavy signalgrass presence, you will need a tandem attack of both pre-emergence and post-emergent herbicides. We recommend using a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring to kill seedling weeds and then follow up with a post-emergence herbicide that is systemic like glyphosate.

Step 4: Prevention. Creeping signalgrass will take a bit of persistence in order to completely get rid of it but if you do manage to be successful in removing it, you don't want it to return. Prevent creeping signalgrass from growing with the help of a pre-emergent. This will prevent the creeping signalgrass seeds that have survived from growing when spring arrives.Timing is key, however, if you want pre-emergent to make a difference.

Aside from this, your best defense is a thick, nutrient-rich turf that will choke out creeping signalgrass and block seeds from receiving sunlight. Mow at a height grass height between 2 to 2.5 inches. Water less frequently but more deeply and fertilize properly and at the right times for your lawn.

Have Some Grassy Weeds You Want Gone? View Our Grassy Weed Control Section

Learn More About Creeping Signalgrass 

Creeping or Broadleaf signalgrass (Brachiaria platyphylla – syn. Urochloa platyphylla) is a warm season weed that often emerges in ditches, disturbed areas and fields. It looks very similar to large crabgrass, but is actually a species of its own. The way to differentiate between the two is to check for the presence of a membranous ligule. Crabgrass has these while creeping signalgrass does not. Another way to tell the difference is to check for hairs on the leaf, which crabgrass has while creeping signalgrass doesn’t.

Creeping signalgrass weeds primarily a problem in agricultural areas, especially where corn is being grown and can significantly reduce yields. On a residential lawn, creeping signalgrass tends to spread very quickly and can overtake a lawn with their presence.

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Creeping Signalgrass Origin and Behaviors

Creeping signalgrass, also know as koronivia grass, is a warm season perennial grass which originally was discovered in to Africa. Four types of creeping signalgrass were brought over to the United States from Swaziland and South Africa between 1964 and 1971. It was originally viewed as a valuable forage plant and would be tested for its value in Florida up until 1998. 

In 2014, creeping signalgrass was reported to have reached high densities in disturbed areas around the southeastern United States (especially in Florida) and started to encroach on natural areas in Florida and beyond. 

Creeping signalgrass grows vigorously from May to October, and flowers continuously during this period. In the cooler months, growth slows and it is reportedly sensitive to freezes. It tends to grow in nearly monospecific patches, with a thick layer of thatch accumulating under the grass. Studies in Brazil demonstrated its ability to displace native species, and it is also considered invasive in Australia. The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas has rated creeping signalgrass as having a high risk for becoming invasive in Florida and neighboring states.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


◘ A great complement to your herbicide application is mixing your selected weed killer with a surfactant. This will help the herbicide to stick better to the plant so you see the best end results.

◘ Please read the manufacturer’s label carefully and follow directions. Application rates vary depending on the type of herbicide you are using so make sure you don’t overmix.

◘ Handling herbicide chemicals can harm or irritate when contacted. Protect your eyes, skin, mouth and nose by wearing protective equipment any time you use herbicide chemicals.

◘ For more detailed guides and demonstrations on how to use herbicides and remove other problem weeds, please check out our knowledge base or view our informative How-To Videos


Additional Resources On Creeping Signalgrass


Urochloa plantaginea – UF/IFAS Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants


Urochloa distachya (signal grass) - CABI


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