Goosegrass is a warm-season weed.
Photo credit: Goosegrass image provided by Dr. Shawn Askew to FMC Turf Wire
If you’re in the south, chances are you have encountered some Goosegrass. The warm-season weed—which is also often called Silver Crabgrass, Crafwfoot or Wiregrass—is often present in areas where the turfgrass is thin and the soil is compacted. These conditions are commonly found in areas with a lot of foot traffic, like sports fields or golf courses.
According to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, “Goosegrass is a prolific seeder and, in most cases, has three to seven finger-like racemes on a single stem. Often, 15 to 20 stems are produced by a mature plant and as many as 50,000 seed can be produced by a single plant.”
Once this grass with leafy tufts takes root, it often returns each season. The blades of the grass are a tough chore for mower blades. They often fray when mower blades are not at their sharpest.
These are some key Goosegrass identifiers:
- Stems fleshy at base
- Flattened stems grows in a low rosette
- Collar broad and sparsely hairy at the edges
- Auricles absent
- Sheaths compressed, flattened, white near the base, sparsely hairy along the edges
- Mature plant can spread to about 2-1/2 feet
Tips for prevention and control
Lush turf – Maintaining a full grass cover will help minimize the presence and spread of Goosegrass. Increase fertilization to fill bare areas and keep turf healthy and growing.
Relieve compaction – Aerate frequently and limit foot traffic when possible to relieve compacted soil.
Deck height – A greater mowing height is less conducive to Goosegrass growth.
Moisture – Goosegrass thrives in excessive moisture. Limit irrigation and consider using an irrigation sensor like this one to monitor moisture.
Preemergence – With preemergence herbicides like Echelon from FMC, you can prevent Goosegrass before it starts. Echelon is also effective for early postemergence treatment. With the active ingredient Sulfentrazone - Prodiamine, Echelon is exclusively formulated to be both root- and shoot-absorbed, Echelon controls weeds from the foliage down and from the root up.
Postemergence – FMC says late-season Goosegrass control can be effectively achieved with a tank mix of Dismiss (at the 8 oz. per acre rate) and the Bayer Revolver product (17 oz. per acre rate) herbicides. The company explains that when applied alone on Goosegrass, Dismiss provides a fast visual response, but the tank-mix combination provides faster and better long-term control.