Wintergrass is another ugly and unsightly weed in buffalo grass and all other lawn types as well. Its bright green leaves and clumping characteristics can quickly overtake a lawn transforming what would otherwise be a beautiful lawn into a complete mess of weeds.
Wintergrass will begin germinating underground in May, and will start emerging from the soil and in our lawns in late May and June. Wintergrass will continue to germinate, grow stronger, start clumping, and spreading as the winter months continue into July.
By the time August and September roll around, the wintergrass is in full growth, easily outgrowing the buffalo lawn and sitting above it in stark contrast to the lawn around it. This is also the time that wintergrass will begin going into full seed, making the wintergrass weed even uglier.
This same seeding will be planting out thousands of new wintergrass seeds into our turf for emergence in the following year. So if we have wintergrass this year, it will be worse next year, worse the year after, and so it continues each year getting worse.
So if we have wintergrass in our buffalo lawns, it must be treated as soon as possible.
Killing Wintergrass In Buffalo Lawn
Wintergrass is actually a very easy weed to kill, but only if its done at the right time.
Wintergrass weed killer is diluted with water in a watering can or spraying bottle as per manufacturers guidelines, and applied to the entire lawn and not just to the area which appears most affected.
Be sure to measure the lawn before treatment to ensure the correct dosage is applied.
Once the wintergrass killer is applied to the turf, the lawn is then lightly watered, which takes the poison down to the roots of the wintergrass where it does its work.
We should then begin seeing the wintergrass die off within 2 weeks.
When To Kill Wintergrass
Wintergrass must be treated at the right time of the year, otherwise the herbicide will have no effect whatsoever in killing the weed.
We have explained that wintergrass begins germinating underground in May, and that wintergrass killer acts on the root of the weed, also underground.
With this in mind, wintergrass is best and most easily killed in May, pre-emergent and before we can even see the weed. Past this time and we can still kill wintergrass in June and sometimes into July.
However, the later we go into winter and the more mature the wintergrass becomes, the more difficulty we will have in killing it. Treatments done as late as July may not even have a good effect, while wintergrass treatments in August or September simply will not work… the weed is just too strong and will easily outcompete the herbicide, resulting in no effect whatsoever.
A Plan To Kill Wintergrass
So the questions are… how can we kill wintergrass before we can even see it in our buffalo lawn, and what should we do if we were too late in the season to apply the herbicide?
If we missed the window to kill wintergrass in May, June and possibly July, then do not attempt treatments, it will only waste our money.
Mark down MAY in your diary for next year to kill the wintergrass.
Because if we had wintergrass in our buffalo lawn this year, its a guarantee it will be worse next year, and so it must be planned for and treated properly.
Once the wintergrass begins to go into massive seeding towards the end of winter, the best thing we can do here is to mow the lawn with a rotary mower and catch the clippings. A rotary mower uses a sucking action to pull clippings off the turf and into the catcher, and will thus do the same for many, but not all wintergrass seeds. So we are actually making the problem a little less worse for next year.
Mow more regularly when necessary to ensure that no wintergrass is left to seed for too long between mowings, otherwise we'll be allowing more seeds to fall back into the lawn for more weeds next year. Once the catcher is full, be sure to empty into the bin and not into the garden bed… because we don't want to be moving our wintergrass problem from our buffalo lawn and into our gardens.
Multiple Wintergrass Treatments
We will notice that not all the wintergrass will die in the buffalo lawn after a single treatment of wintergrass weed killer.
If this is the case then a second treatment can be undertaken after 3 to 4 weeks if we are still in the safe time period for killing wintergrass which is best between May and June, but can also have good effect in July.
We will also notice that even if we had wonderful success in killing wintergrass this year, that it will still emerge next year, and the year after. This is because not all weed seeds will germinate in a single year, but will instead stagger their emergence over several years as this gives the weeds their greatest chance for survival.
So be aware of this fact, and give another simple wintergrass treatment in the following years if necessary, and we'll have our problem of wintergrass in our buffalo lawn completely under control.