Act now to control winter grass!

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 27 February 2019 

Did you know that there is a herbicide that you can apply now which will stop winter grass from coming up in winter? Sounds hard to believe doesn't it!

Winter grass (otherwise known as Poa annua or annual blue grass) is that annoying light green coloured grass that comes up in your lawn every winter.

If you have it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. It produces lots of seeds and has a white cotton like root zone. It’s easy to pull out but there is always so much of it and more often than not, as soon as you pull it out, more seems to grow back. The most annoying thing about this weed by far is that it gets worse every year! This is because wintergrass produces large amounts of seed, which fall to the ground ready to germinate next year. If each wintergrass plant produced 50 seeds, you can see how quickly this plant can get out of control.

Now that we know what we’re dealing with, the big question is how do you get rid of it and how do you successfully keep it out. There are 2 methods for controlling winter grass. The first is post-emergent control and the second is pre-emergent control.

Post emergent control is where you selectively poison out the weed after it germinates (ie during the autumn and winter months). There are products such as Kerb and David Grays Wintergrass Killer that are designed to selectively control wintergrass in couch during winter, when you can see the weed. These products only work if they are applied exactly as directed and can take a considerable amount of time to work. Control can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months which can frustrating because there are often successive waves of wintergrass that will germinate giving the impression that your control measures are not working. If applied too late into the winter, it can be hard to get a result at all. 

Pre-emergent control works on the principle that you control the seed before it germinates which I have to say is a far better way to approach to this problem. There are products that you can apply such as Embargo and Pendi Pro that will literally stop the wintergrass seed from germinating meaning you won't see it come winter.  

Pendi Pro:

Pendi pro is a pre emergent herbicide combined with a granular fertiliser. It comes in a 20kg bag and can be applied with a spreader: Suitable for Couch, Kikuyu, Zoyzia and kentucky bluegrass. Do not use on buffalo. Apply every 6 weeks from feb/march through to August. Covers 600m2 


Embargo is a liquid pre emergent herbidice which is sprayed on. Suitable for couch, kikuyu and buffalo. Covers 1000m2. Apply every 16 weeks from feb.march through to August.

The best time of year to do this is a few months before the weeds start to germinate – i.e. February to March.  The chemical stays in the soil for between 6  and 16 weeks (depending on which product you use and literally stops the wintergrass seed in the soil from germinating.  If you've been battling with it for a few seasons, try Pendi Pro or Embargo. While they are expensive to buy, they are an absoulte weapon against winter grass. 

Comments (25)

David Grays wintergrass killer

By: on 15 September 2019
Hi Team - is this safe on Kikuyu? If not, what are my next steps to rid my lawn of this now that Spring has started in Melbourne?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Evan Unfortunately you can't use David Grays Winter Grass Killer on Kikuyu lawns. However, we do a product called Embargo which is a pre-emergent spray that prevents Winter Grass (Poa-Annua) from germinating in Winter next year. Time to apply this is around February. Thanks for your query

Wintergrass control in fescue

By: on 3 September 2019
Hi - what would you recommend to control wintergrass in a fescue blend?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Rowan thanks for your question Unfortunately there isn't any selective product to control Wintergrass (Poa-Anua) in a Tall Fescue blend. All you can do is hand pull it out. Good luck!

Cool season grass and embargo

By: on 20 August 2019
Is embargo safe to use on all grass types? Fescue, rye, bluegrass blend?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Jack, Embargo is only recommended for couch, kikuyu and buffalo lawns. It should not be used on tall fescue, rye grass and blue grass blends. Regards, Stefan

Help my Kikuyu lawn

By: on 26 July 2019
Wintergrass in Kikuyu. Please where can I purchase either the Pendi pro or the Embargo? Which one would give the best results on my kikuyu lawn please?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Di, You can buy both Pendi Pro and Embargo from our webstore. Embargo is definitely the better of the two. It comes in a 500ml bottle (covers about 1000m2) and can be shipped Australia wide at competitive rates

Winter grass

By: on 6 July 2019
Is it too late to use Embargo in July?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Helen, If your using Embargo to control winter grass, then yes - it is too late to apply in July. The best time to apply is in February to stop next seasons seeds from germinating.

Winter grass

By: on 24 May 2019
I’ve just sprayed embargo knowing the winter grass has started to germinate. I will persist again in 16-18 weeks. If this isn’t successful is there a selective weed killer that can knock it out whilst established ?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Adam, Even though you were late in applying Embargo, it was the right thing to do and it will round up most of the seeds. If you have couch or buffalo, you can use a selective herbicide called David Grays Wintergrass killer to knock off the ones that have already germinated. If you have Kikuyu, there is no selective herbicide that you can use meaning you'll have to hit it again next year in March with Embargo to prevent further germination

Starting now 13 April

By: on 13 April 2019
Hi there.... coming a little late to the party... is there any point to starting the pre-emergent now? i.e. halfway through April? Also wondered if it would be worth applying directly to soil where I want to grow some grass (planting spring /summer potentially). why does it come in such large amounts? I only have small areas of lawn and the area I want to plant lawn is also quite small.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Deborah, April is late to be applying pre emergent herbicides. Ideally you should start in February or March but having said that, it is an unusual season this year with its dry and hot conditions persisting late. This means that weeds like wintergrass are also late in germinating. If you have not had any germination of wintergrass yet, then it is still OK to apply Embargo. You can use Embargo directly on the soil to prevent certain weeds from germinating however it has a 16 week residual effect in the soil meaning you couldn't sow any grass seed for at least that period. To be safe, I would allow 20 weeks between application and re-seeding or turfing. The reason that these types of chemicals cover such large areas is that they are produced for commercial / large scale areas rather than domestic lawns. Having said that, until 6 months ago, Embargo (one of the better pre-emergents) was only available in 5L pack sizes or larger! The release of a 500ml bottle has made it accessible to domestic customers. While it is still expensive to buy, it is a the only truly effective way to tackle winter grass.

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