How To Get Rid Of Goosegrass: A Complete Guide

Goosegrass is a pesky weed that can be found in lawns and gardens across the United States, as well as many other countries, but there are ways to get rid of it. This article will explain what goosegrass looks like and how to identify it, along with some tips on removing the weed. 

Goosegrass is often confused for crab grass; however, they are two very different weeds that cause problems in many lawns. Goosegrass is often known for its small burrs that can get caught on your clothes if you brush past it.

It can grow quickly and can overtake your entire yard if not dealt with right away so you’ll need to act fast! Read this guide for more information about identifying these pesky plants and getting rid of them completely.

What is Goosegrass?

Goosegrass is a weed that looks like grass but it can be identified by its jagged leaves. It grows in large patches and spreads quickly through the ground, making it hard to get rid of if you don’t take action at the first sight of it. It is called Goosegrass because it is a common food for geese.

There are multiple types of goosegrass, and the two most common ones are Galium aparine, also called Cleavers and Sticky Willy, and Eleusine indica, also called Indian Goosegrass and yard-grass. While the former is the one more common in the U.S., and is therefore the one we’ll be discussing in this article, both have been found in places all over the world.

Sometimes people can develop a localized, unpleasant rash at the area of the skin that comes into contact with Goosegrass, called contact dermatitis.

Where Does Goosegrass Grow?

Goosegrass can grow in many places, but it particularly likes disturbed ground. This means areas where the soil is turned over, such as gardens and lawns, are prime locations for these weeds to grow. Areas with loose dirt that is often watered are ideal for goosegrass, so take care if you want to avoid them growing in your yard or garden.

It can grow in moist soils as well as places with poor drainage, so aerating and providing good drainage for your lawn is a must. Goosegrass is most commonly found in hedges along roads and the perimeters of lawns and gardens, as well as in waste places and limestone scree.

How Do You Identify Goosegrass?

Goosegrass, or cleavers, are seen creeping along the ground with straggling stems that grow close to the ground or on top of other plants. These stems can grow longer than three feet, and are boxy looking and square shaped.

Goosegrass can be identified by its green leaves that grow outwards at a jagged edge. Each leaf has three parts and tends to curl inward slightly around the stem. The end of each leaf also has two lobes that almost look like small wings. Each plant sends up many runners.

The plant flowers in the early spring to summer, with tiny, star-shaped, white-green flowers. The flowers and usually clustered into groups of two or three, and have four petals.

How Do You Eliminate Goosegrass From Your Lawn?

If you notice goosegrass growing in your lawn or garden, there are several ways to get rid of it. You can use chemical means as well as organic methods.

Using Chemicals

There are different types of herbicides that will work on either annual weeds or perennial ones. Insecticide might be necessary for this worry as well to keep grasshoppers and other insects from eating the vegetation.

Goosegrass is relatively easy to kill with weed killer. You simply purchase the correct kind that will work for whatever type of goosegrass you find, then spray it on according to directions. Most herbicides are found at home improvement stores or garden centers.

Use a pre-emergent herbicide before the goosegrass has sprouted to stop it from growing. However, if it has already emerged, you will need to use a post-emergent herbicide. Be sure read the labels on the herbicides you purchase to determine how they work, and follow them accordingly.

Using Organic Ways

Because goosegrass is an annual weed, pulling it out of the ground by hand is often an effective way to get rid of it, as is using a hoe or small shovel to remove it.

Another organic option is to use vinegar, but you need to make sure the goosegrass is completely covered in it. You can then leave it on for a few hours before rinsing off with clear water.

You can also mix salt into a spray bottle along with a tablespoon of dish soap and use this mix to spray onto the weed. This mixture will kill both the goosegrass and the soil it is growing in, however, so be careful to not harm anything you don’t want to.

One of the best options is using corn gluten meal because this method won’t harm other plants in your yard. Corn gluten meal works because it prevents the seeds from sprouting, so you need to sprinkle it on your yard about four weeks before any other plants start sprouting.

How Do You Prevent Goosegrass From Growing?

To prevent goosegrass from coming back next season, make sure to rake up any dead plant material and keep your soil loose so new weeds can’t grow as easily. As goosegrass prefers wet soil conditions, aerating and adding vermi-compost is a great way to keep your soil healthy and to reduce goosegrass growing.

If you have chickens, geese or other birds in your yard, make sure they aren’t feasting on the grass along the perimeters of your lawns because this can lead to more goosegrass growing.

Mowing is not very effective at combating or prevent goosegrass, because it often grows so close to the ground. A thick mulching, however, in the early springtime or late in autumn will reduce its ability to grow from new seeds.


Goosegrass is a tough weed to get rid of, but it’s not impossible. There are many ways you can control and eliminate this pesky weed from your lawn. We hope this blog post has given you some helpful information for identifying goosegrass, controlling it with chemicals or organic methods, preventing its growth in the future, and how to kill it if need be.

The most important aspect of eliminating goosegrass is prevention. Take the necessary measures to keep it from turning into a problem later on for your lawn by mowing, fertilizing and watering properly. Do not wait until you have already developed an infestation before taking steps against this invasive weed!

However, if you are still struggling with getting rid of the weeds or have any other questions about it, please contact us!