Act now to control winter grass!

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 10 February 2021 

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!

Wintergrass is probably far from your mind now, but you might be surprised to know that now is the best time of year to knock it out. 

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 -  It's an annual weed meaning it only lives for a short time and only comes up at a certain time of the year. For wintergrass, its season is typically from April through to September.

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 of the weed 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 act as a preventative treatment and literally stop the wintergrass seed from germinating meaning you won't see it come winter.  


Embargo is a liquid pre emergent herbicide which is sprayed on. Apply every 16 weeks from February through to August. Embargo is effective against major annual grass weeds in turf during winter and summer.  Being an unscheduled chemical, it's safe for use in public areas. 

  • A 500ml bottle covers 1000m2
  • Safe for use on Couch, Kikuyu and Buffalo lawns
  • Apply every 16 weeks

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: Apply every 6 weeks from February through to August. 

  • 20kg covers 600m2
  • Safe for use on Couch, kikuyu and zoyzia lawns. Do not use on buffalo
  • Apply every 6 weeks

The one you choose will depend on the type of lawn you have (eg, you can't use Pendi Pro on buffalo). It will also depend on whether you prefer spraying a liquid over your lawn or spreading out a coated fertiliser. My preference is the Embargo. It's cheaper to buy, lasts longer in the soil and covers a larger area.

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 Embargo or Pendi Pro. While they are expensive to buy, they are an absoulte weapon against winter grass. 

Comments (36)

Mixing rate and coverage

By: on 18 February 2021
What is the mixing rate for Embargo when using a domestic 9litre hand sprayer for winter grass in a fine leaf kikuyu lawn? What is the coverage of 9 litres of spray?? Thank you.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Liz Thanks for your enquiry The whole 500ml bottle of Embargo will cover 1000 sqm In your 9L sprayer mix 50ml of Embargo to 100 sqm of area. Adjust accordingly if the area is smaller Thank you

Windsor Green

By: on 17 February 2021
Hi can I use Embargo on Windsor Green

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Cheryl Thanks for your enquiry Yes, Embargo can be used on Windsor Green Couch

Pet & Child safety - embargo

By: on 17 February 2021
Hi team Is embargo safe to use on a lawn frequented and often eaten by my dog and child? Thanks Josh

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Josh Yes, Embargo is safe around kids and dogs. Just keep them off for a day until the chemical is dry


By: on 16 February 2021
Will any spray drift from Embargo hurt other plants ie roses, salvia, ficus

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Wendy Yes, Embargo may hurt your plants so please avoid any spray drift

Dog/cat_kid safety with Embargo.

By: on 14 February 2021
How safe is embargo with kids and animals?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Brian Embargo is safe around kids and dogs. Just keep them off for a day

Mixing ratio

By: on 12 February 2021
What is the mixing ratio for Embargo when using a domestic spray unit (electric pump operated) in a 45 litre tank? Targeting winter grass in Sir Walter Buffalo. Cheers Rob

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Rob Thanks for your query The mix rate on the Embargo 500ml is 50ml per 5-10 Litres water to cover 100 sqm. The 500ml bottle therefore would do 1000 sqm Thank you


By: on 12 February 2021
I have free range poultry in my back yard, can i use the pre emergent spray and let them out when dry? They eat the grass... Thank you

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Frances Thanks for your question I wouldn't let them on straight away. I would recommend reading the label or contacting the company who make it and enquire when it is safe for them to go back on Thank you

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