Weedy Perennial Grasses

Many lawns have been invaded by coarse, weedy grasses. The two types of weedy grasses are annual and perennial grasses. Naturescape® will control your annual grasses such as crabgrass and foxtail with a preemergent that prevents the seeds from germinating each year. Unfortunately, lawn care services can not control the perennial grasses because there isn't any reliable selective control of them. The two most common perennial grasses are quackgrass and tall or coarse fescue.


You can identify quackgrass by its bluish-green blades, which may be up to a half-inch wide, and its spreading growth habit. This perennial grass has fast-growing underground stems, called rhizomes, which allow it to cover a large area in a short time. Quackgrass prefers thin, dry lawns and will out-compete desirable turf grasses under droughty conditions.

Tall Fescue

Tall or coarse fescue on the other hand, is a darker green perennial grass which grows in small patches or clumps approximately one foot in diameter. The blades of tall fescue are about one half-inch wide, while the stems have a reddish-purple color just above the soil. Like quackgrass, tall fescue is quite tolerant of drought.

Controlling Weedy Perennials

The basic problem in controlling these weedy grasses is that any product which will kill them will also kill the desirable grass species in your lawn. Therefore, eliminating weedy grasses requires action by the homeowner.

Because both of these weedy grasses prefer thin, dry lawns, keeping the lawn thick, healthy, and well irrigated will often do much to squeeze them out. Among the ways you may control tall fescue are these:

1. Dig it out. After the blades have grown to three or four inches, rake the patch toward the center to determine its size. Use a shovel to undercut the patch, going about two inches deep. Remove the entire patch and shake off as much soil as possible. Re-sod or seed the area. This method can be used in the spring or fall.

2. A time-consuming but effective way of controlling tall fescue is to use a small paint brush to apply a non-selective herbicide, such as Round-up. Be VERY CAREFUL not to get the herbicide on other plants (including desirable grasses) because they will be killed if you do. Paint a small amount of the herbicide on the tall fescue blades and, in a few days, the plant will begin to die.

These tips are designed to help inform you about proper cultural practices such as mowing and watering and common basic lawn problems that may arise. If you ever have any concerns about your lawn or our services please call us.

The Naturescape® Guarantee

Your Naturescape® specialist is committed to making you happy with our service and your lawn and landscape. If you are not completely satisfied with the results of our services or you have any questions or concerns, please call your area branch office and we will be happy to take care of them free of charge within 72 hours.

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