How To Get Rid Of Dallisgrass: A Complete Guide

If your lawn is full of dallisgrass, you may be wondering how to get rid of this pesky weed. Dallisgrass can take over a lawn and it won’t disappear without some hard work on your part. Your first step should be to learn about the best ways to kill dallisgrass in your yard so that it doesn’t return for another season.

This article will show you how to get rid of dallisgrass from your lawn by using different techniques and products that will help make your yard look well-maintained again. You’ll find out what it is exactly and how to identify it, why it’s bad for your garden/lawn, and how to get rid of it.

If you are tired of fighting against dallisgrass, here are some tips to help get rid of this pesky weed for good! 

What is Dallisgrass exactly?

Dallisgrass, also known as Dallas Grass, sticky heads, or Paspalum dilitatum, is a warm-season perennial grass. It originated in the rainforests of Brazil and Argentina, but currently can be found all over the world. In the United States, it is found throughout the southeastern regions, which includes east Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

There are several cultivars of Dallisgrass that range in color from light to dark green. This weed can reproduce both by seed and vegetatively (stolons).

How Can You Identify Dallisgrass?

Both the leaves and stems of this weed are glabrous (smooth) with a purplish coloration on younger plants. When you rub the leaf sheath, it will have a sandpaper-like feel to it which is where the name Sticky Heads derives from.

Dallisgrass grows in a circular clump pattern with stems that are typically upright or leaning. Stems can grow up to one foot tall, but it is more common to see clumps around 6 inches in height.

The seed heads of dallisgrass are long and slender with bristly spikelets, which are elliptical in shape. Each seed has a slender awn that is around ½ inch in length.

Where and How Does it Grow?

Again, Dallisgrass can be found almost anywhere in the world as an introduced invasive species.

It thrives in full sun and moist conditions with high fertility, and particularly sandy and clay soils, but it can also be found in full shade. Due to its short rhizomes, which root well in moist soils, it can be difficult to control or prevent from spreading quickly throughout your yard.

The seeds are viable for up to 5 years and can grow rapidly (up to 2-6 inches per day).

How To Kill Dallisgrass

There are multiple ways to kill dallisgrass. The best method for you to use will depend on the size of your lawn and how quickly you want results.

Timing is also a crucial element when it comes to killing dallisgrass in the garden, so be sure to take that into consideration before you go through with any treatment.

Killing Dallisgrass With Chemicals

You can use a selective herbicide that has glyphosate as an active ingredient (e.g. RoundUp) for killing dallisgrass in your lawn.

If you notice any desirable vegetation in the area, you will want to be sure to spray the spot with a small amount of water or cover that section with cardboard before spraying. This will help prevent any damage to other plants in the area.

You can do this in the early spring with what is called a pre-emergent herbicide.

Another way to kill dallisgrass in your lawn with chemicals is through spot-treating with a herbicide that contains 2,4-D in the Late Spring/Summer months when the weed is actively growing. This would be a post-emergent herbicide, because you’re using it after the weed has emerged and started growing.

Again, you will want to water any surrounding desirable vegetation before applying chemicals and be sure to read all product labels for additional instructions.

Killing Dallisgrass With Natural Methods

It’s best to pull dallisgrass out of the ground before it has a chance to flower and multiply (vegetatively or through seed). If you cannot pull the weed out by hand, use a weed-eater or hoe. This is the most environmentally friendly option for getting rid of dallisgrass, but it is unfortunately also the most labor intensive.

Boiling water is an effective method of killing dallisgrass as well. To do this, you will need to cut the weed as close to the ground as possible and bring a pot of water to a boil. Once at a full-boil, pour the boiling water over top of the dallisgrass. Repeat several times throughout each day on the entire infestation until it has died.

Vinegar and table salt are also natural ways of killing dallisgrass, as well as environmentally friendly. Apply white vinegar to the weed and immediately follow with a healthy sprinkle of table salt. There is no need to cover this with plastic or anything else, but you will want to keep children and pets away from the area before it dries.

How Do You Control and Prevent Dallisgrass?

One way to help prevent this weed from growing in your garden or lawn is to plant grass that out-competes dallisgrass for nutrients and water.

For example, fescue grass can be a suitable replacement for many types of weeds because it grows quickly and strong, while remaining short enough to avoid shading other desirable vegetation.

By planting vegetation that out-competes the dallisgrass, you can help prevent or reduce unnecessary weeding in your garden.

Another natural method for keeping dallisgrass away from your lawn is to add organic matter such as top soil/compost, manure, grass clippings, etc., to the area where you’ve seen the weed. This will keep your lawn thick, healthy, and full of desirable plants and grasses, so the dallisgrass will have no space to thrive.

In Summary

We hope that this article has helped you identify and gain an understanding of dallisgrass, and as you can see, there are many ways to combat and prevent it from growing in your garden. Whether you are looking to kill it once for all or prevent it from returning, we’ve provided information on how to do both with chemicals and natural methods, and now the power is in your hands.

Keep in mind the conditions which make your lawn susceptible to Dallisgrass before hand so that you can take steps to avoid these conditions if possible. With a little time and care, you should be able to get rid of this pesky weed from your lawn once and for all!