Eradicating dallisgrass in bermuda

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 2, 2005.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    We've tried MSMA with poor results to eradicate dallisgrass in bermuda. Basically, the MSMA burns the leaf blades back a bit, but it almost never actually kills the roots.

    We are going to try pulling it for a new customer. Anyone have experience with this? Will it work in heavy clay soils?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    Pulling? - It would be more like digging. I would not have the time or patience if it is like most new accounts that have abundant dallisgrass.

    MSMA apps - there is an art and some luck to dallisgrass control. It is not always consistent, but if you follow these guidelines you will succeed more than fail.

    1) temperature minimums - day temps are near 90 and nights near 70. Generally after May 20 in your area.
    2) thorough coverage - the more water the better. this is where I often have to park the zsprays and pull hose. 40 gpa will work, but result in some burn. 80-120 gpa (2-3g/1000) is much better with less burn.
    3) use full rate- 3#/ac or 1.5 oz/1000.
    4) apply N to push bermuda to compete
    5) plan on a second treatment in 2-3 weeks.
    6) hold off water for 48 hours after treatment
    7) it usually takes 2-3 seasons to erradicate fully if infestation is severe

    Based on my experience and others, a consistent ability to control dallisgrass seems to impress clients and gain customers more than any other practice I perform. Good luck.
  3. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    We are charging by the hour to pull the stuff. My concern is that if we don't get all the hairy little roots out, will they come back to produce another plant?

    Also, left untreated, will dallisgrass eventually die out? I know some perennials only last two years and then they don't survive the winter. Is dallisgrass this way?

    DFW Area Landscaper
  4. mcambrose

    mcambrose LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    No Dallisgrass will not die out after a few years. It will be worse. A fellow sprayer recently told me he had best results when the dallis grass was cut a couple of days after application. He thought it might be the effort put into regrowth. I have also heard that Revolver will help on dallis grass control. I have tried spraying some, but the temps have retreated too much to get any results yet. Revolver is expensive, so it would just be for spot spraying. I'll tell you one other secret. If you have bermuda, you can cover an area with a tarp for 2-3 weeks and then remove the tarp and fertilize. The dallisgrass should be gone. I learned this trick by noticing a lawn which had brush piled on it after a summer storm. The front yard was 95% dallis grass, until the brush was piled up. The dallis grass disappeared and the bermuda filled in.
  5. tjgray

    tjgray LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Absolutely good advice greenerpastures but my husband tells me that we tell our customers to water in 24 hrs. for effectiveness with less chance of burning. Everything else is absolutely the way we treat this pesky problem. DFW if you applied MSMA and the tips only yellowed then your temps. or rates were probably off. Plus he says make sure you mow at least two days afterwards. Mcambrose is correct when he says that it is the effort put into regrowth that pulls the chemical down into the root.

    He also says to be real careful with the Revolver as if not applied correctly it can cause severe damage.
  6. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    Dr. McAfee @ the Renner Exp. station performed the Revolver tests on dallisgrass. In 2003 it did control dallisgrass fairly well. In 2004 it only performed when mixed with msma (kinda defeats the purpose). He said he will probably look at it again this year. Current pricing prevents its use anyway on any type of blanket-spray job.
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    The thing I don't like about the MSMA treatment is there are so many things that can go wrong. If the customer doesn't follow the watering directions, it might not work. If the customer doesn't follow the mowing instructions, it might not work. If the temperatures are too high or low, it might not work. If your concentration is too high or too low, it might not work.

    If you're going to bill a customer for a treatment, and charge the prices we need to be charging, the tretment had better work, or your gonna be doing the treatment for free.

    At least with pulling the weed, no on can argue about whether or not it was pulled. My concern is having the stuff come back from the roots that aren't getting pulled and getting blamed for not knowing what I was doing. We charge $36 per man-hour, so a heavy infestation of dallisgrass could cost a lot of money to pull.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. greenerpastures

    greenerpastures LawnSite Member
    Messages: 160

    Like I said, there is an art to dallis control and a little luck too. ----But to address your question:

    You absolutely have to uproot the "kernel" of the dallisgrass plant or it will return. In our clays, it is nearly impossible to pull. A sharp hoe will do the trick.
  9. Triple R

    Triple R LawnSite Member
    Messages: 244

    I thought MSMA was a contact herbicide not a systemic and that was why it works better with at higher spray volume and also why a lawn could quickly recover from a MSMA burn. Is it a contact or systemic?
  10. southernsprayguy

    southernsprayguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 129

    In order to control Dallisgrass and Crabgrass with MSMA, I believe the label(s) says to repeat the application in 10-14 days. Sometimes up to three treatments are necessary. There will probally be some yellowing of the turf but is the customer willing to live with that for a couple of weeks to eliminate the Dallisgrass? It's important to educate the customer on watering and mowing.

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