Act now to control winter grass!

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 19 February 2018 

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 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, it 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. 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. There are products that you can apply such as Embargo ( for buffalo lawns) and Pendi Pro (for couch and Kikuyu ) that stop the seed from germinating.  The best time of year to do this is when there are no wintergrass weeds present – eg January to March and if done properly will result in very little to no wintergrass seed popping up in your lawn come winter. Pre emergent control is by far the best way to control wintergrass. If you've been battling with it for a few seasons, try Pendi Pro. Its an absoulte weapon against winter grass. 

Comments (11)

Kill buffalo but not santa anna

By: on 13 January 2019
I have bufffalo grass in my santa anna lawn. Is there a selective killer that will kill the buffalo but not harm the santa anna?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Paul, There is no herbicide that I am aware of that will specifically control buffalo in couch. Having said that, buffalo is sensitive to a chemical called dicamba which is present in most selective broad leaf herbicides (weed and feed style products). You could apply that to your Santa Ana and it would most likely knock out the buffalo as a side effect without harming the Santa Ana

tall fescue /perrenial ryegrass lawn

By: on 29 October 2018
Hi Guys, can I use Pendipro to stop winter grass on my tall fescue/perrenial ryegrass lawn. I was thinking of applying it next March, would this be correct. Thanks for your help, Sheralyn

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Sheralyn, Pendi Pro can be used on perennial rye grass however the label does not specifically mention tall fescue therefore I can't recommend it for your lawn. Neither of the two pre emergent herbicides we stock (Pendi Pro and Embargo) can be used on Tall fescue. Apologies that I cant be of more help.


By: on 17 October 2018
Hi there Just wanted to check which product best for Santa Ana to kill winter grass seed. Embargo or Pendi Pro.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Rosemary, Either will do the job for wintergrass in Santa Ana but the Embargo will last longer in the soil meaning it has a longer control window. Regards, Stefan

Sir Walter Buffalo

By: on 26 September 2018
Hi Paul, Can emargo be used on Sir Walter buffalo? The winter grass is in flower, will mowing this low with a rotery mower catch the seed heads?

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Steve, Yes, Embargo can be used on Buffalo. The best time to use it is in March. With regard to mowing, be careful how low you mow buffalo - it doesn't like being scalped.

Wintergrass treatment

By: on 22 September 2018
Hi, we are in Albury, its mid-late sept and we have just purchased Winter grass killer as we have winter grass throughout our lawn. It says on the instructions apply Autumn and Winter - have we missed the boat to treat it? Thanks

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hey Julie, Yes - It would be too late in September to apply wintergrass killer. You'll find that as the heat increases through the spring, the winter grass will die out by itself. There will be a stack of seeds in the soil ready to germinate next autumn so save the spraying till then. Alternatively, you can spray during March with a chemical product call Emargo. This will kill the seeds in the soil before they have a chance to germinate.

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