Suggestions for controlling stray grass in my nice turf? Grower says "use Roundup".

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by itllgrowback, May 1, 2013.

  1. itllgrowback

    itllgrowback LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi folks - last Fall I had a turf lawn installed (Celebration Bermuda, zone 9b) and I let it go dormant over the winter. Early this Spring I de-thatched it, and it's been coming up nicely.

    But the last two weeks or so, I've noticed little tufts of what I think is grass seed sticking up above the height of the turf grass, all through the yard.

    The Celebration Bermuda grass is sterile, and only spreads through rhizomes, and my site had been bare clean tilled dirt for over a year when I had the sod installed. So I'm pretty sure this stuff has blown in from neighboring yards (that are not always maintained well or mowed often).

    I mow every week, and when I do, the new tufts appear within a day or two, so they're essentially always outpacing my turf grass.

    Here are a few pics of the way it looks (click on any of these for bigger versions):




    I was questioning whether to let it go longer between mowings (to choke out the stray grass), or to cut it closer. But the first option is no good, because that might give the seed time to propagate and make it worse; but the second option isn't good either, because this other grows so fast, it would always be above the height of the turf.

    The only solution I can see right now is cutting it more often, but it would have to be every three days or so which isn't sustainable in practice.

    I did cut it shorter last evening (with a used reel mower I bought because my rotary doesn't cut any lower than what you see in the top three photos), and I took this pic this morning:


    (I took the mower in to get the blades sharpened today because it left the furry stalks while cutting the turf.)

    I called the grower to ask their advice and they suggested to spray the areas of seedy grass with Roundup - that doing so would kill everything I sprayed, but that the turf grass would bounce back faster. I'm just not convinced that nuking my lawn with Roundup is the answer.

    Any suggestions for how to encourage the growth of the desired turf grass while choking out the strays?
  2. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 826

    Just because it's sterile doesn't mean it won't produce seed heads. That just means the seeds are sterile. My Tif419 is sterile but I still get seed heads sometimes (usually in June-ish)
  3. itllgrowback

    itllgrowback LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Oh, no kidding? I didn't realize that.

    It would almost make sense because it's all throughout the lawn.
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  4. TCW

    TCW LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    What height are you mowing it? It's possible that your rotary mower either cut the very top of the seedhead off and left the stem, allowing it to reproduce seed quicker, or it laid the stalks over and never really got rid of the seedhead. The sharp reel mower should take care of that easily, especially if you are mowing at 1/2" to 1".

    Also, if Celebration is anything like Tif419, the seed production should slow way down once you get a little further into spring. Coming out of dormancy, it's the nature of the turf to try and reproduce as much as possible, and then it settles into its growth pattern as spring progresses. After mid-May, the only time we see any seedheads on our Tif419 yards is when they get extremely drought stressed and go into survival mode.
  5. itllgrowback

    itllgrowback LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thanks for the reply - I'm not really sure what height I'm mowing - it was the lowest of six settings on the rotary but I've never known really how to measure...

    On the McLane I can already tell it'll go much lower - I was one hole from max drop on the rough adjustment, and about the middle of the range on the fine adjustment if that makes sense, and that took a good bit off of what I had previously been able to do with the rotary. I think as the lawn gets used to it, I'll drop that a bit further.

    You guys helped ease my mind a lot - I didn't realize sterile grass would still put out seed heads, and so I suspect that's all this is.

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