Barnyard Grass is an annual grass (meaning it has a one year life cycle), which is primarily grown as a cereal or fodder crop. It is a broadleaf grass that often resembles crabgrass. In recent years it has found its way into many lawns throughout our region. This spreading of the seedlings occurs through various means such as birds or nearby crop tilling, etc. Because it thrives in hot, dry weather, Barnyard grass begins to emerge around the middle of summer and remains active until the fall. The good news about Barnyard grass is that it can be controlled through chemical means without harming surrounding Bluegrass.
Crabgrass is a warm season annual grass which grows best in the heat of midsummer when desirable lawn grasses are often semi-dormant and offer little or no competition. Crabgrass overwinters as seed, comes up about mid-May or later, and is killed by the first hard frost in fall. It is very often confused with Fescue or Quackgrass. Crabgrass grows best in full sun. It does not grow in shady places. Crabgrass can be controlled in several ways, but the best defense against crabgrass is a thick vigorously growing lawn that is mowed no closer than 2 3/4 inches short.
Quackgrass is an undesirable, cool season, perennial grass that reproduces by seed or underground rhizomes and can reach 3 1/2′ high. It can appear in new as well as older established lawns. Most times it simply blends together with the various other grasses in the lawn, but when it clusters together in thick clumps it can cause some very unsightly areas. These intrusions detract from the overall uniformity of a “well maintained” lawn. Quackgrass is one the most troublesome perennial grassy weeds found in our region’s lawns. It is more complicated to control than other weeds because it is a grass and therefore it acts like a grass. While many weeds can be controlled with “selective” herbicides—ones that kill specific plants and leave all others unaffected. Unfortunately, there is no selective herbicide available to control Quackgrass in lawns. To control Quackgrass chemically, a “non-selective herbicide” is required. A non-selective herbicide will kill all growth it contacts and therefore is not usually an option. Sometimes digging out the clusters of growth is the only option.
Another undesirable grass that can infiltrate a bluegrass lawn and cause unsightly clusters of turfgrass. Tall fescue is a cool-season grass that is well adapted to sunny or partially shady areas. It tolerates warm summer temperatures and stays green during cool, but not severe winter conditions. With its coarse-textured medium to dark-green grass tall fescue has excellent tolerance for heat stress and drought, which is one reason that it will grow faster than the bluegrass in the same lawn. Its quick growth, inability to blend with bluegrass and unsightly leaf composition are reasons for tall fescue being on the list of undesirable grass. Like Quackgrass, tall fescue is a grass, and only non-selective herbicides can chemically control them.