Witchgrass Control

Most Effective Products

Barricade Granular Pre-emergent Herbicide
Granular
As low as $28.99
Prodiamine 65 WDG (Barricade Herbicide)
Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)
As low as $79.41
Eraser 41% Glyphosate
Emulsifiable Concentrate (EC)
As low as $14.98
Keith's Pro Tips

"Witchgrass is one of the most noxious of weeds. It's invasive, powerful and almost indestructible when not using herbicides. If you dig it out and leave behind the smallest shred of root (underground stem, actually), the plant practically regenerates immediately. If you can use a pre-emergent before they have sprouted you will have a better time controlling this pesky weed. However, if the weeds have already sprouted, you will have to turn to post-emergent means of control."

Witchgrass Control: How To Get Rid of Witchgrass

This page is a general DIY guide for controlling witchgrass. Using the products and methods suggested you get control of witchgrass. Follow this DIY article and use the recommended products, and we guarantee 100% control of witchgrass.

Witchgrass, also known as panicgrass, ticklegrass, tumble panic, tumbleweed grass, witches hair, common panic grass, old witch grass, and fool hay is a common summer annual grass weed. This problematic weed gets its name due to its appearance: the hairy stem and large puffy seed head resemble the features of a storybook witch.

Compared to other weeds, witchgrass is a poor competitor in areas with existing vegetation, but can still make its way through if needed. Once established, this weed can cause allergens in people and cause toxic levels of nitrate if the soil is fertile. 

If you notice a witchgrass problem on your lawn, the following guide can help. Our lawn care experts have put together this DIY guide to show you exactly what needs to be done to remove Witchgrass from your lawn using our professional herbicide recommendations. Follow the step-by-step instructions below and you are guaranteed to eliminate Witchgrass fast and at an affordable price.

Identification

Before proceeding with a treatment program, you will need to be certain that you are dealing with a witchgrass infestation. Careless identification can lead you to using the wrong treatment methods which can be a waste of time and money. Below are the following characteristics to know what witchgrass looks like.

Witchgrass growing on a landscape

  • Witchgrass is a warm-seasoned annual grassy weed that reaches about 1-3 feet tall when mature. This erect plant can easily be identified by its sprawling or spreading stems emerging from the same collar, otherwise it is unbranched. 
  • In its early stages, witchgrass’s leaves, sheathes, and collar possess dense, green hairs that become a reddish purple as the plant matures.
  • The leaf blades can grow to be 4 to 10 inches in length and up to three-fifths of an inch wide. Each leaf has a distinct, white midrib. They will also roll in the bud and lack any auricles. Often they appear limp in appearance, becoming more ragged as they age. 
  • Each stem forms a large open panicle shape, also called spikelets, from the upper portion of the plant. The spikelets from these plants produce a single seed at the tip, which makes it appear fluffy. This spikelet can grow to half the length of the entire weed. The root sytem of witchgrass is fibrous. 

Use our description and image above to help you to identify witchgrass on your lawn. If you are having trouble identifying the weed, contact us and we will properly ID the plant for you as well and offer herbicide product recommendations for control.

Inspection

Once confirmed that you are dealing with witchgrass, you can then move on to inspection. During this phase, you will locate areas where witchgrass is thriving and observe the conditions that are allowing it to thrive. This information will help you in knowing where to focus your herbicide application.

Where to Inspect

Witchgrass can be found in most soil types, but it grows the best in sandy to loamy soils that sees full sunlight throughout the day. It also grows well in areas that get partial sun. 

Common areas for this weed to grow in are croplands, gardens, lawns, landscapes, beaches, ditches, empty lots, railroads, waste areas, and other disturbed areas. 

What To Look For

As mentioned in identification, you're going to want to look for grass that has a hairy stem and a large puffy seedhead. Witchgrass will be hard to miss on a lawn or landscape because it will stand out amongst uniform grass.

Treatment

After identifying witchgrass and inspecting where it is most active in your lawn, you can begin to treat your area. Be sure to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) before handling or applying any type of product.

Post-emergent herbicides containing the active ingredient glyphosate is most effective against witchgrass. Eraser 41% is a glyphosate-based product that is non-selective, killing all plants that come in contact with it. 

We recommend using a barrier like a cardboard box during applications to avoid spray drift onto desired plants thus preventing death of desired foliage. 

Step 1: Measure and Mix Eraser

Mixing in Eraser in Sprayer

Determine how much Eraser 41% Glyphosate to use by measuring the square footage of the treatment area. To do this, measure the length and width of the treatment area in feet then multiply them together (length X width = square footage). 

For spot treatments, use 2 1/2 oz. of Eraser 41% Glyphosate per gallon of water to treat an area approximately 300 sq. ft. 

Mix and apply this product with a handheld pump sprayer. Be sure to label your sprayer specifically for non-selective herbicides to help prevent cross-contamination in the future. 

To mix, simply pour in half the amount of water, add measured amount of Eraser 41% Glyphosate, then add in the remaining half of water. Close the tank lid and shake until the solution is mixed. 

Step 2: Spot Treat the Witchgrass

Spot treat the witchgrasses you found during your inspection. Adjust the sprayer nozzle to a fan or cone spray setting then spray the weed leaves until wet, but not to the point of runoff. 

Best to make applications when the weather is warm, sunny and above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus weed control is accelerated during warm sunny weather. 

Most treated weeds usually show initial symptoms in 2-4 days and complete kill in 1-2 weeks. Hard-to-control weeds may require a second application if not completely dead in 4 weeks. 

Prevention

Once witchgrass has been eliminated from your property, you will need to implement some preventative measures which will ensure that this weed does not return.

Applying Nitrophos Barricade to prevent Witchgrass

  • To stop witchgrass from growing in your property, apply a pre-emergent herbicide when soil temperatures reach about 55 degrees Fahrenheit or higher - typically this is about April to October. Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide Prodiamine Granular is a prodiamine based pre-emergent granule herbicide that prevents variuos weeds, including witchgrass from emerging in residential turf. To use Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide Prodiamine Granular, apply 1.5 to 4 lbs. of product per 1,000 sq. ft. depending on the turf type. A push or broadcast spreader is preferred if you have a large property to spread the granules on while a hand spreader is better for more precision and control over where you want to spread the granules. Broadcast the granules evenly across your lawn in two perpendicular passes. After broadcasting the granules, water them in with at least 0.5 inches of water to activate them. Make an application in the fall to stop seeds from germinating in spring. An additional application may be made after 6 months for year-round weed prevention.
  • For larger treatments areas, a pre-emergent such as Prodiamine 65 WDG would be best for witchgrass prevention. Unlike Barricade, Prodiamine 65 WDG is a water dispersible granule that can be mixed with water then applied with a backpack sprayer or spray rig. General applications in turf will use 1.00 lbs of Prodiamine 65 WDG per acre with enough water to provide good even coverage such as 20 gallons. In smaller applications, use 0.4 oz. of product per 0.5 gallons of water per 1,000 sq. ft. Fill the sprayer with half the amount of water, then add the proper rate of product, and pour the remaining half of water into the tank. Agitate the solution until well-mixed. After mixing is complete you can broadcast your mixed solution. For best results, the soil in the treatment area should be free of clods, weeds, and debris such as leaves and mulch. Perform a over-the-top spray over the treatment area until wet, but not to the point of runoff. After application, water the treated area with 0.5 inches of irrigation or rainfall. This must be done at least 14 days after the previous treatment. 
  • A lush and healthy lawn is less prone to invasion by the witchgrass. Witchgrass grass grows best in poor soil and disperses an allelopathic chemical that keeps wanted plants from growing. Properly fertilize your property at the best time recommended for your particular grass.
  • Mow your grass regularly and at the right height. Witchgrass thrives on sunlight so keeping a lush lawn shades out weed seeds which hinders the growth of the weed. Reseed thin patches of turf in the lawn as an effective means of witchgrass control. Part of effective witchgrass control includes proper fertilization so take a soil test to determine which amendments are necessary for thick, healthy turfgrass on your lawn.

Key Takeaways

What is Witchgrass?

  • Witchgrass is a prolific grassy weed with a unique puffy seedhead and the ability to spread quickly via seed disbursement by the wind.

How to Get Rid of Witchgrass

  • Our top recommendation to treat witchgrass is a post-emergent treatment of Eraser 41% Glyphosate. 

Preventing Witchgrass Reinfestations

  • Prevent witchgrass reestablishment by maintaining a good lawn care schedule which involves mowing, watering, and fertilization at optimum times. Be sure to apply Barricade Pre-Emergent Herbicide Prodiamine Granular for residential lawns or Prodiamine 65 WDG for larger treatment areas before witchgrass appears to help prevent them. 
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