What Does Dallisgrass Look Like?

Many amateur gardeners and homeowners are always on the lookout for new ways to keep their lawn and garden looking their best. And if you’ve ever seen a strange weed that you couldn’t identify, you might have wondered what it was and how it got there.

It’s crucial that you are able to identify any potential weeds that may spring up, so that you can remove them before they cause any issues.

Well, you don’t have to worry anymore! In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the weed Dallisgrass – what it looks like, where it grows, how to get rid of Dallisgrass, and other information. We’ll help you to learn everything you need to know about this annoying and invasive weed!

So, what does Dallisgrass look like? Come with us and find out!

What is Dallisgrass?

Dallisgrass, also known as Sticky-heads, Dallas Grass, or Paspalum dilitatum, is a warm-season perennial grass native to Brazil and Argentina. It has spread all over the world since its inception in Brazil and Argentina’s rainforests. Dallisgrass can be found in the southeastern regions of the United States, including Louisiana, Mississippi, and Eastern Texas

Dallisgrass comes in a variety of cultivars and colors, ranging from light to dark green. This plant primarily reproduces via seed or vegetatively (stolons).

Where Does Dallisgrass Grow?

Dallisgrass is an invasive species that can be found almost anywhere in the world.

It thrives in warm, sunny conditions with a high level of fertility, for example clay and sandy soils, although it can also be found in direct shade. It may be difficult to handle or prevent from spreading rapidly throughout your yard, mainly because it has small rhizomes that root well in moist and well-cultivated soil.

The seeds of the Dallisgrass weed can survive for up to 5 years, and it can sprout and grow very quickly (up to 2-6 inches per day).

How to Identify Dallisgrass

Now that we know all about where Dallisgrass grows and what it is, let’s learn up on what it looks like. Here are some tips on what to pay attention to so that you can identify Dallisgrass if it’s growing in your yard.

Visual Characteristics 

This perennial grass produces dense, rigid clumps in the earth and spreads outwards. The inflorescence is made up of a few branches with neatly aligned green to purple spikelet-like units.

The leaves and stalks of Dallisgrass are glabrous (smooth) with a purplish tinge on less mature plants. The leaf sheath feels like it has a sandpaper-like texture when you rub it, hence the nickname Sticky Heads.

Dallisgrass seeds are long and slender, with bristly spikelets that are elliptical in form. Each seed has a somewhat shorter awn of around ½ inch length.

Growth Stages

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.

Other Unique Traits

The long-tailed widowbird and many other bird species consume Dallisgrass as a food source.

Plants That Look Like Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass is often confused with other clumping grassy weeds found in yards, such as Crabgrass. However, Dallisgrass has more unique rhizomes that have short internodes and look somewhat like concentric rings on the ground surface, which you can use to tell it apart from these other weeds.

How to Get Rid of Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass may be killed in a variety of ways. The best approach for you to utilize will be determined by the size of your lawn and how quickly you want results.

You may kill dallisgrass in your lawn using a selective herbicide that contains glyphosate as an active component (e.g. RoundUp). This is best done in the early spring with a pre-emergent herbicide.

Another approach to the dallisgrass in your grass is to spot-treat with a weed killer that includes 2,4-D in the Late Spring/Summer when the weed is actively growing. This would be a post-emergent herbicide.

The most ecologically friendly method of eradicating dallisgrass, though unfortunately also the most laborious, is to remove it from the ground before it flowers and multiplies (vegetatively or through seed). If you don’t have the ability to dig the weed out by hand, employ a weed eater or a hoe.

Dallisgrass can also be killed with boiling water. First, cut the weed as close to the ground as possible. The, bring a pot of water to the boil and pour the boiling water over top of the dallisgrass. Repeat this process several times a day until all of the weed is gone.

Ending Thoughts

The best way to avoid Dallisgrass is by knowing exactly what it looks like. If you can identify it before it overtakes your garden, there are multiple ways to get rid of this weed so it won’t become a problem.

We hope this article helped you learn a little bit more about Dallisgrass, and particularly how it will appear to you if you stumble across it, and its growth and flowering pattern and comparing it to other weed species. There are some general characteristics that can help you identify this weed if you see it in your garden or landscape.

If you’re not sure whether a plant is Dallisgrass, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help. We want to make sure we keep this pest under control so it doesn’t cause any damage in our community. Thanks for reading!