How To Kill Dallis Grass in Easy Steps
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Dallis Grass: Description and Background
Dallis grass is a perennial grass with the scientific name of Paspalum dilatatum. It used to be native to South America, but has now spread to temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. This grass is tufted, leafy and coarse-textured. It is named after A.T. Dallis who was an enthusiastic supporter of its use and import during the 1900’s.
Once grown, it easily spreads and grows in diameter through its fast growing rhizomes or underground stems. By looking at its rhizomes, Dallis grass can easily be distinguished from other more common clumping grasses. Its rhizomes have short internodes that look like concentric rings, which is absent in other grasses. Its thick and fibrous roots reach down to 1 meter deep in the soil, making it hard to pull the grass out.
Its leaf is blade-shaped and grows up to 25 cm long and 15 mm wide. Each leaf blade has a collar on its base connected to a membranous ligule. Attached below the collar is the leaf sheath. The stalk is tall, growing up to 65 inches, while the inflorescence consists of 2 to 10 dangling small branches or spikelets.
Flat, egg-shaped seeds can be found on each spikelet. These seeds are usually pale green to purplish in color. These seeds, which Dallis grass produces in abundance, are its primary means of propagating. Through humans, birds, insects, wind or water, these seeds are brought to other places and germinate during spring and summer.
Dallis grass, though of a lesser quality, is valuable forage for pasture. It thrives in both sandy and clay soil, and is resistant to drought and even tolerant to frost. However, in sports fields like golf courses, as well as in parks and home landscapes, Dallis grass is considered a weed.
The unsightly clump and coarse texture present a hazard in play areas and may cause people to fall. The inflorescence is often not removed even after mowing and grows again on top of other turfgrass, giving an uneven appearance to lawns.
Effective Ways of Killing Dallis Grass
As in any other problem, prevention is still the best option to avoid going through the long and tiring process of killing unwanted grass. In landscapes and backyards, Dallis grass, if it is still in its young stage, can be removed by digging up the roots.
Pulling out the grass will not always do the trick because of the possibility of leaving roots underground, which will soon grow into another plant. However, in cases where there is already plenty of Dallis grass growing in the area, cultural practices or herbicides can be implemented.
An effective method of eliminating the pesky weeds is to ensure that the lawn or planting area is healthy and densely planted with turf. Dallis grass is known to be persistent and will grow on bare areas if not managed right away.
Overseed bare areas to prevent Dallis grass’ seeds from germinating. Giving it no space to germinate will surely kill the unwanted weeds. Moreover, lawn mowers used to mow Dallis grass should be cleaned to eliminate seeds that may be left clinging on the mower.
Pre-emergent Control Methods
Pre-emergent control methods are also a surefire way of eliminating Dallis grass for good. Once the grass is full grown and is already bearing seeds, it would be difficult to kill Dallis grass.
Pre-emergent herbicides for crabgrass are also effective for Dallis grass. However, these herbicides need to be applied several times with 2 to 3 weeks interval to completely kill the grass and prevent it from growing again.
Post-emergent Control Methods
If clumps of Dallis grass are already present, the last resort is to use post-emergent control methods. Glyphosate-only herbicides are effective in killing Dallis grass. It is recommended to use a pump sprayer in applying herbicides to ensure precise application. However, using glysophate may also damage other grass in the area, but they will eventually grow in.
Post emergent herbicides MSMA and CMA are also recommended for controlling the growth of Dallis grass in lawns. Irrigation should be withheld for 24 hours after applying herbicides to avoid washing out the herbicides and spreading them to other areas in case of targeted application.
Another method is through manual labor. This method is recommended if the area is not yet densely populated with Dallis grass. It does sound tiring and you might end up getting dirty, but it will get the work done. Clumps of Dallis grass should be dug up completely along with its root system to kill it the sure way.
Otherwise, the remaining roots will just find a new spot and grow again. After digging out the clump, a thick layer of mulch should be used to cover the area to prevent remaining seeds to grow. Avoid using organic mulch as these are ineffective in controlling mature Dallis grass.
During summer, solarization can be done using clear plastic to control the germination of seeds and the regrowth of rhizomes.
Having a working knowledge on how to control and kill unwanted weeds such as Dallis grass is essential in maintaining a healthy lawn or a sports playing field. Keep these tips and methods in mind so you are prepared the next time you encounter those pesky weeds.