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witchgrass

How To Get Rid of Witchgrass From your Lawn or Garden  

There are a lot of different weeds that can emerge onto your lawn. Some can be beautiful, some very grassy and others just plain ugly. One such weed is the aptly named witchgrass. This wicked weed was coined as such due to its appearance: the hairy stem and large puffy seedhead resembles the features of a storybook witch.

When witchgrass is ripe, the seeds burst out and can sail into the wind for long distances where it will eventually set up shop wherever it lands. This makes controlling witchgrass quite difficult to deal with. However, there are some solid methods that can effectively control this weed that doesn’t involve black magic.

Before arming yourself with sprays and tools to address witchgrass on your lawn, it would be wise to first arm yourself with knowledge about the weed so you can know what conditions witchgrass thrives in as well as what conditions give it a disadvantage and then based on the information, approach with an effective control strategy. 

Here at Solutions Pest and Lawn, we’re dedicated to serving you with not only the best professional-grade products in the lawn and pest control industry but also via helpful detailed information and advice to empower you with the confidence to tackle any issues you have on your yard or home yourself, without hiring a professional.

 

By using Solutions Pest and Lawn’stop-notch professional productsand heeding our how-to advice, you can get rid of witchgrass and not be able to resist singing “Ding-dong the wicked witchgrass is dead!”

View our selection of products we recommend for getting rid of witchgrass and then scroll further to learn how to eliminate witchgrass in depth using our solutions 4 step process.

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How To Get Rid of Witchgrass: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step 1: Identification. If you are not experienced with lawn care and DIY weed control, there is a large chance you can run into the problem of incorrectly diagnosing or misidentifying weeds like witchgrass or what you believe to be witchgrass with another weed. This can muddy up the goal of controlling the weed you're targeting. Identifying the unwanted plant that is growing on your lawn is vital because once you can correctly ID the weed, you can then research and find out what active ingredients, herbicides and cultural techniques work best to tackle that weed and which products are specifically designed to target it. Improperly ID'ing a plant may result in waste of time and effort purchasing herbicides which won't work against it.


Witchgrass is a grass that is tufted at the base and sends up multiple leafy culms from the same crown which are light green and can vary from hairless to hairy. Witchgrass has a seedhead which is a fuzzy panicle which can rise above the rest of the plant and contains a point that resembles a witch's broom, hence how the weed earned its name. 

When you’re unsure or can’t quite determine exactly which kind of weed you are encountering in your yard, turn to the experts to ID the weed for you. We recommend taking a high resolution photo of the unwanted weed with your phone and shoot it over to our email address at Identification@solutionsstores.com. We will respond back to you quickly with not only the correct ID of the plant, we will also give you expert recommendations of products and techniques to apply to remove that weed from your lawn.

 

Step 2: Inspection. Conduct a thorough inspection of your lawn or landscape to see where the downy brome is growing. Witchgrass has a preference for areas with full sun where the conditions are dry and arid. Witchgrass tends to grow on barren soil that contains sand, gravel, or hard-pan clay. 


Most growth and development takes place during the summer and early autumn. Periods of hot dry weather are readily tolerated. 


Habitats include disturbed areas of prairies (including sand and gravel prairies), limestone and sandstone glades, chert and granite glades, gravel bars near rivers, gravelly areas along railroads (including the limestone ballast), fields, construction sites, and barren waste areas.


Once you have scanned your landscape and seen how severe of a witchgrass problem you have, you can then move forward to control.

 

 

Step 3: Control. Witchgrass is best removed manually but if you have a large infestation of witchgrass you are dealing with, you may not have the time or the energy to be pulling or cutting down all thewitchgrass. This is when chemical control would be best. A couple of herbicides we suggest RoundUp QuikPro Herbicide or Rotary 2 SL Forestry Herbicide.There are somepre emergents (such as Nitrophos Barricade Granular Pre-emergent Herbicide) you can also use which can keep witchgrass from springing up on your lawn and becoming an eyesore.

 

Read all labels and instructions carefully with whatever herbicide you choose to use. If you have desired grass around where the witchgrass is growing, you can choose to spot treat. Either way, be careful when using herbicides in general around your desired plants as they could potentially kill your wanted turf. Also, please be sure that when handling any type of herbicide, you are properly protecting your skin and eyes with safety equipment. Goggles, gloves and long-sleeved clothing should suffice.


For best results, make sure to apply herbicides at the right time. Witchgrass should be treated with herbicides when it is in active growth. Apply post-emergents in the springtime when the growth is less than 6 inches in length or apply pre-emergents in the fall or early spring to keep their seeds under control. Repeated applications may be necessary depending on the species, the persistence and the age or maturity of the plant.


Step 4: Prevention. You can prevent the return of witchgrass after it has been controlled with cultural practices that will hinder the redevelopment of this invasive grassy weed. A lush and healthy lawn is less prone to invasion by the witchgrass plant. Witchgrass grass grows best in poor soil and disperses an allelopathic chemical that keeps wanted plants from growing.


Properly fertilize your landscape 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. Witchgrass does not grow well in landscapes that have high nitrogen in the soil.

 

Not the Weed Problem You Have? Check Out Our Other Weeds On Our Grassy Weed Control Page.

 

Learn More About Witchgrass

Witchgrass (Panicum capillare) is a hairy, tufted annual grass that can range in height between 20-80 cm tall and has single spikelets on an open head which can grow quite large-- roughly up to half the size of the plant and has its base enclosed in the top sheath until maturity when it breaks off and blows around from the wind. Witchgrass is light green and purplish in color and has slightly compressed sheaths.


Witchgrass is a weed that is predominantly located in the eastern part of the United States. Witchgrass tends to enjoy taking over disturbed areas of land and any undergrown soil area like fields, and dry ditches. The plant reproduces by seed and by rhizomes. Handpulling these weeds are not an effective means of control as the rhizomes break off into the ground, eventually resprouting the weed once again.

Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials

WITCHGRASS CONTROL OPTIONS

Recommended pre and post-emergent products: ROTARY 2 SL FORESTRY HERBICIDE , NITROPHOS BARRICADE GRANULAR PRE-EMERGENT HERBICIDEIMAZAPYR 4 SL HERBICIDEROUNDUP QUIKPRO HERBICIDE

 

Witch grass 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 merest shred of root (underground stem, actually), the plant practically regenerates immediate. 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.


There are a number of good post-emergent herbicides that we carry which can eliminate witchgrass. The best one to select would depend on your personal preference and whether you want a selective herbicide or a non-selective herbicide. RoundUp works really well to get rid of witchgrass but since it’s non-selective, you would either have to be real careful spot treating so you don’t damage your desired vegetation or spray everything and reseed your yard. Selective herbicides will only kill targeted weeds sparing your desired turf and ornamentals.

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

 

WITCHGRASS CONTROL TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

  • • We recommended mixing your selected weed-killer with a surfactant. This will help the herbicide break through the surface tension and penetrate the plant better.

  • • As always when using a pesticide, read and follow label instructions carefully, and try to target only areas where the witchgrass is present in the lawn to reduce unnecessary pesticide use.

  • • Regardless of the herbicide you select, may require more than one herbicide application. Refer to the product labeling to determine when to make follow-up applications, if needed.

  • • Always wear the proper safety equipment any time you handle herbicide chemicals. We recommend wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt along with gloves and goggles.

  • • Need more guidance when it comes to mixing and applying herbicides? Browse our knowledge base or view our helpful How-To Videos. These resources are free for you to use and learn from so you could carry out a control program with confidence.

For more information on how to remove witchgrass and other stubborn weeds in your yard or to receive free expert assistance over the phone, send us an email at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

 

Additional Resources On Witchgrass

Witch Grass (Panicum capillare capillare) - Illinois Wildflowers

 

Plants Profile for Panicum capillare (witchgrass) - USDA

 

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