Act now to control winter grass!

Author: Stefan Palm   Date Posted: 19 February 2020 

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 preventitive treatment and literally stop the wintergrass seed from germinating meaning you won't see it come winter.  


Embargo is a liquid pre emergent herbidice which is sprayed on. Apply every 16 weeks from feb through to August. Embargo is effective against all 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 feb/march 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 (27)

Embargo on couch.

By: on 21 February 2020
I’m taking it that when you say you can use Embargo on couch for winter grass. You mean all couches. I have Santana.

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Ken Yes, you can use Embargo on Santa Ana Cheers

winter grass 2020

By: on 15 February 2020
Hi when do I spray for winter grass I have a santa anna couch lawn, and can I get a hose attachable spray thanks for any help. kev

Paul Munns Instant Lawn Response
Hi Keven Thanks for your query You can apply products now to stop Winter Grass from germinating in Winter. We have Pendi Pro (Fertiliser and Pre-Emergent in-one) or Embargo which is a liquid. Both do a great job. Unfortunately they aren’t available as a spray/hose attachment. For further info please look at our website Regards.....Andrew

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.

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