In the early 1900’s, paspalum dilitatum was introduced to North America. A native plant of South America, paspalum dilitatum is a fast-growing forage plant originally used by A.T. Dallis of LaGrange, Georgia.
The benefit of this South American plant was its ability to survive harsh southern climates, while providing a nutritional food source for livestock in pastures. However, Mr. Dallis probably had no idea that the food source for his cattle would one day turn into a troublesome weed for homeowners.
Dallisgrass is a hard to control perennial grass. Not only will it come back every spring, but it’s also a prolific seed producer – spreading seeds all season long with the help of wind, water, mowers, kids and pets. Pre-emergent applications can be effective when dealing with seeds, but they are totally ineffective in controlling existing plants.
So, if you can’t prevent the plant with a pre-emergent, how do you effectively get rid of it? There are really only four effective options:
- Dig it up. This is the most labor intensive option, but it does ensure that the plant is gone forever. It is recommended that you cover the newly bare areas with sod to prevent more weed seeds from germinating.
- Use a non-selective herbicide. Non-selective herbicides, commonly known as Round-up, will kill Dallisgrass, but it will also kill anything else it encounters, such as the existing turf around the plant. This option is effective, but will leave unsightly dead patches. Again, these dead patches should be covered over with sod to prevent more weeds from germinating and to keep a uniform appearance.
- Use a selective herbicide specifically labeled for Dallisgrass. This option is the most common, but chemicals only suppress Dallisgrass. Suppression will keep the plant growing lower to the ground so it’s less noticeable and unable to produce as many seeds. While reducing seed heads is beneficial, it’s not nearly as effective as eradicating the plant altogether.
- Call a professional. Lawn care professionals have stronger products available to them. LawnAmerica provides Dallisgrass protection for 6 and 7 step customers. Timing of the application is key to success (late summer into early fall).
Dallisgrass can be eliminated. But it will require one or a combination of all of the techniques above. Not to mention a healthy dose of persistence and patience.
If you find yourself needing help with Dallisgras this year, contact LawnAmerica. We have several locations in North Carolina, including Asheville, Charlotte and Spartanburg/Greenville.