barnyard grass

How to Control Barnyard Grass in Your Lawn and Garden

How to Control Barnyard Grass in Your Lawn and Garden

Barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) is a common weed that can invade your lawn and garden. It is a fast-growing annual grass that can produce up to 40,000 seeds per plant. Barnyard grass can compete with your desired plants for water, nutrients, and space, and can also harbor pests and diseases. Therefore, it is important to control barnyard grass before it becomes a problem.

In this article, we will show you how to identify barnyard grass, how to prevent it from spreading, and how to get rid of it using various methods.

How to Identify Barnyard Grass

Barnyard grass can be easily confused with other grasses, such as crabgrass or foxtail. However, there are some distinctive features that can help you distinguish barnyard grass from other weeds. Here are some tips to identify barnyard grass:

  • Barnyard grass has flat, smooth, and hairless leaves that are usually green or purple-red in color. The leaves are arranged alternately along the stem and have a prominent midrib.
  • Barnyard grass has a thick and erect stem that can grow up to 5 feet tall. The stem is often branched at the base and has nodes that are swollen and reddish.
  • Barnyard grass has a panicle-type inflorescence that consists of many spikelets arranged along a central axis. The spikelets are green or purple in color and have awns (bristles) at the tip.
  • Barnyard grass usually flowers from July to October in the northern hemisphere and from January to April in the southern hemisphere.

How to Prevent Barnyard Grass from Spreading

How to Identify Barnyard Grass

The best way to control barnyard grass is to prevent it from spreading in the first place. Here are some preventive measures that you can take to keep barnyard grass at bay:

  • Maintain a healthy and dense lawn by mowing regularly, watering deeply, fertilizing appropriately, and aerating periodically. A healthy lawn can outcompete barnyard grass and prevent it from germinating.
  • Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring or late fall, before barnyard grass seeds germinate. Follow the label instructions carefully and choose a product that is safe for your lawn type and other plants.
  • Mulch your garden beds with organic materials, such as wood chips, straw, or compost. Mulching can suppress barnyard grass seeds from germinating and also improve soil health and moisture retention.
  • Remove any barnyard grass plants that you see by hand-pulling or hoeing. Make sure to remove the entire root system and dispose of the plants in a sealed bag or trash bin. Do not compost barnyard grass plants as they can re-sprout or spread seeds.

How to Get Rid of Barnyard Grass Using Various Methods

How to Prevent Barnyard Grass from Spreading

If barnyard grass has already established in your lawn or garden, you may need to use more aggressive methods to get rid of it. Here are some options that you can try:

  • Use a post-emergent herbicide that is selective for barnyard grass and safe for your lawn type and other plants. Follow the label instructions carefully and apply when the barnyard grass is young and actively growing. You may need to repeat the application several times to achieve complete control.
  • Use a non-selective herbicide, such as glyphosate, to kill barnyard grass and any other plants in the area. This method is suitable for areas where you want to clear all vegetation, such as driveways, sidewalks, or fence lines. Be careful not to spray the herbicide on any desirable plants or nearby water sources.
  • Use a flame weeder or a torch to burn barnyard grass plants. This method is effective for small patches of barnyard grass or for spot treatment. Be careful not to start a fire or damage any desirable plants or structures.
  • Use solarization or smothering to kill barnyard grass plants and seeds. This method involves covering the infested area with clear plastic or black tarp for several weeks during the summer. The heat and lack of oxygen will kill the barnyard grass and any other weeds in the area.


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