Dallisgrass is no less than a nightmare for avid gardeners or landscape professionals who like to keep their property weed-free.
This stubborn grass is native to South America but was brought to the US as a forage plant. But now that most of us no longer have cattle to feed, they have turned out to be quite a headache!
If your garden or yard is also infested with Dallisgrass and you want to get rid of it once and for all, we here have shared not one but five ways of doing that.
What is Dallisgrass?
Dallisgrass is a common weed found in turfgrass. It can be commonly spotted in turfgrass that has a water stream next to it. So you can easily find them on wet roadsides, irrigation ditch banks, etc.
They are one of the most problematic weed grass variants in the southern United States, as they thrive in warm and moist conditions.
Why is Dallisgrass a Problem?
Apart from being very stubborn to get rid of, here are a bunch of other reasons why Dallisgrass can be a threat to your yard.
1. They are Highly Invasive
Dallisgrass is a highly invasive grass species that can quickly take over your lawn or garden. Its aggressive growth can crowd out desirable plants, reducing their nutrient intake and preventing biodiversity in the area.
So unless you want a lawn full of Dallisgrass, you would do well to get rid of them at first sight!
2. They will Compete with Your Main Crop
Being too invasive and quick growing, it is natural that they suck up all the moisture and nutrition from the soil essential for your other plants’ growth.
If you are trying to grow Bermuda, St. Augustine, or any other kind of turfgrass in your yard, this invasive weed will give them a tough time and stunt their growth. You might end up with a patchy lawn.
3. They can be Poisonous
The seedheads of Dallisgrass are susceptible to a fungus that can be toxic to livestock if ingested. So whether you have a farm or in-house pets, you need to be careful with these.
4. They can Cause Allergies and Infections to you too
Apart from being toxic to livestock, some people can also be allergic to Dallisgrass. Depending on their immunity, they can develop skin rash, respiratory problems, or even hay fever.
How to Identify Dallisgrass?
If you are trying to spot Dallisgrass in your yard, here are its identifications:
- Dallisgrass always forms a start-like clump.
- The stems are 2 to 6 inches long.
- The leaves are border and coarser than other turfgrasses, so they easily stand out.
- Mature Dallisgrass will have seed stalks with three to five finger-like segments with a furry texture.
5 Methods to Kill Dallisgrass
The only way to control this invasive weed is to kill it as soon as you spot it. So here are some methods of killing Dallisgrass.
1. Using Herbicides
Applying herbicides is the easiest way of getting rid of these stubborn weeds. You can use herbicides specifically designed to target Dallisgrass.
Such herbicides commonly include ingredients like quinclorac, fluazifop-p-butyl, or sethoxydim.
Or if you are unable to find anything like that, you can go for regular glyphosate-based herbicides that are nonspecific and used for killing the majority of the broadleaf weeds.
However, be extra cautious while using non-selective herbicides, as they might do more damage than good. So before using them, make sure you carefully read all the instructions and cautions and clearly know what kind of plants and weeds they kill.
2. Hand Pulling
If the spread isn’t that major yet, you can get away with manually uprooting the Dallisgrass.
But if you decide to do that, remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth.
Also, as mentioned before, Dallisgrass is a deep-rooted weed; you might need to put in some extra effort while hand-pulling them.
Pro Tip: Water the area at least an hour before to make it easy to work with, and use a trowel to loosen up the roots.
Plus, ensure you wear your rubber gloves as the flat leaves are sharp and pointed, which can cause minor cuts while tugging.
3. Mowing and Dethatching
That way, the Dallisgrass will be better exposed to the herbicides, making it more effective.
4. Try Home Remedies
If you are someone who is sceptical about applying chemical herbicides in your garden or you have pets or children and don’t want to risk their exposure to it, you can try some home remedies like vinegar solution.
Spray a mixture of white vinegar and water (with a small amount of dish soap) directly onto the Dallisgrass. The acidity of vinegar should kill the weed, but make sure you are spraying enough, as the home remedies may not be as strong as chemical herbicides.
Also, this process takes quite long to complete, so try this method only if you have enough time.
5. Do Soil Solarization
If a large portion of your yard is infested with Dallisgrass and you don’t have the resources to invest in costly herbicides, you can use the soil solarization method.
In this method, you take a plastic sheet and cover the entire infested area in a way that traps the heat and solarizes the soil. In simple terms, solarizing increases the soil’s temperature, making it difficult for the plants to survive.
Plus, if you have soil-borne pests, this method will help you with that, too.
How to Prevent Dallisgrass From Coming Back?
Dallisgrass can be quite a pain to get rid of, especially if your garden has been infested with it for quite some time now; there’s a good chance it’ll keep growing back.
So, the process of making your garden/yard Dallisgrass-free will be a proactive and long-term one. Here are some best practices you can include in your lawn care to prevent Dallisgrass from coming back.
1. Use Pre-emergent
It may appear that herbicides have killed all the Dallisgrass, but most of the time, you will notice the regrowth of such deep-rooted weeds right after a few weeks.
So, to stop that from happening, you need to apply pre-emergent during the right season. The timing differs with different pre-emergents, so follow the recommended timing for the best results.
2. Regularly Inspect and Remove Weeds
Even if you apply pre-emergent, you can sit back and relax. At least for the first couple of months, you must keep a close eye to spot any signs of dallis regrowth.
3. Use Landscape Fabric or Mulch
After weeding, we don’t suggest you leave the area naked as it increases the chance of the weed returning. Instead, you can use a landscape fabric or organic mulch to suppress weed growth in flower beds and around trees, shrubs, and garden areas.
4. Select the Right Turf Grass
Dallisgrass is a quick-growing weed that is favored by heat and moisture. So it would help if you combated that by picking a turfgrass variety that is also quick growing and thrives in the same condition.
Suppose you are clueless about which one to pick. In that case, we recommend going with St. Augustine, as this hardy and low-maintenance grass also prefers hot and humid weather.
If you want to know more about St. Augustine grass care, remember to check out our other blogs.
Table salt is a popular home remedy for killing Dallisgrass. However, we don’t particularly recommend that since too much salt can mess with the soil composition of your garden.
Dallisgrass is a perennial weed that grows each year from the same root system. In contrast, crabgrass is an annual weed germinating from seeds and dying within the same year, which is why Dallisgrass can be hard to get rid of.
Dallisgrass roots can go as deep as one meter, which is quite deep for a weed. The weed re-grows every year from the same root system, giving it enough time to spread that deep.
So, if you notice new growth, the roots will be shorter. But even after weeding, if you notice them re-emerging from the same spot, it is probably deeply rooted. So, your hard work will be in vain unless you take everything out.
Dallisgrass is infamous for being stubborn as a mule, so you have no choice but to be patient with the process of removing them permanently. Here, we have mentioned all the effective ways of doing it. But you must choose the appropriate one based on the extent of the Dallisgrass infestation.
If the infestation is high, we suggest you combine two or more methods for the best results!