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Controlling coarse weed grasses in lawns

Controlling Weed Grasses in Your LawnWe often get asked by lawn owners the best remedy of controlling weed grasses in lawns. Just because it is green, it does not mean that it is a grass or grasses you want in your green sward.

A lawn should have nothing in it except good healthy desirable turf grasses but this is often not the case. Weed grasses will react violently to changes in climatic conditions such as drought or fertilisation or selective weed control or a change in soil moisture.

Clumps of weed grasses of which there could be many are very unsightly, and more often than not, the weed grasses will colonise into large clumps across a lawn.

Annual Meadow Grass is probably the worst enemy of every professional turf manager, especially Golf Course Green Keepers and those is in charge of other fine turf areas such as croquet lawns, bowling greens and tennis courts.

It is not quite so tuft and matt forming unlike Yorkshire Fog and Creeping Soft Grass and Brome Grass that will quickly develop into a large irregular circle in a lawn.

My Granddad would say "Slash the weed grasses with a metal Bill Hook, so that you give them such a beating that they will die back and disappear." The concept of Verti Cutting and Scarifying will help prevent the natural build up of weed grasses, especially Annual Meadow Grass as the action of the Verti Cutter will lift the flower stalks and seeds and deposit them into the lawn mower collector box.

Weed grasses could be Yorkshire Fog, Colt’s Foot, Brome Grass, Creeping Soft Grass and Annual Meadow Grass to name a few!

The best method of getting rid of small patches of weed grasses is as follows -

Let the lawn grow up a little by missing a mower cut one week.
Put on your chemical protective clothing and gloves.
Cut the base off of a plastic flower pot or plastic container, one that is large enough to cover the average size of the weed grass clumps.

Use a ready to use or self mixed translocated weed killer based on Glyphosate and spray within the flower pot or container which will act as a shroud to protect and spray drift onto the rest of the lawn.

Spray each clump in turn, until you have sprayed them all. You could pre mark them beforehand with a small bamboo cane or a dab of emulsion paint. When you mix up the spray solution, you could use a spray indicator dye that will leave a coloured stain on the area you have just sprayed before you head off onto the next spot.

Mow the lawn normally while you wait for the patches to die back, but wait a couple of days otherwise you run the risk of spreading the weed killer around the lawn. Do not walk on the lawn for a couple of days either until the weed grasses absorb the weed killer.

I have heard the suggestion of popping out the roller ball and putting some weed killer in one of the common roll-on deodorant bottles and rolling this over the weeds and weed grasses. It works fine in principal but you are not really meant to decant pesticides into applicators that are used for some other function - like rolling under your arm! So long as you clearly mark it as total weed killer and place it in the garage or garden shed away from the bathroom, you should be okay!

Wait two to three weeks, you will end up with a polka dot pattern of dead grasses where the weed grasses have died back. Use a three pronged cultivator or corner of a 14" metal soil rake or a Weasel or a lawn tool called a Hedgehog to rough up the dead grass areas.

Get a garden Trug, mix up a soil based compost, like John Innes number 3 or a lawn dressing mixture that you can purchase from the local Garden Centre or DIY outlet with some new grass seed and then put a couple of handfuls over each newly raked dead weed grass area and work in with a Trulute or back of the metal soil rake.

Always over seed a little wider in circumference than the size of the dead grass patch so as to 'flash' in the dead spot - like flashing in the paintwork on your rusty old Mini all those years ago - to blend it in. The smaller areas you over seed, the more likely you are to have a more severe polka dot effect of new grasses covering your lawn - the reverse of what you had before you started this process. If you are planning to renovate your lawn, you should perform this task ahead of any mechanical scarification or aeration and over seeding takes place. If you have large areas of weed grasses, you should consider killing off the lawn and maybe starting again.


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