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Get Rid Dallisgrass: Simple Prevention & Control Methods – 2023

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Are you looking for a way to get rid of dallisgrass? This weed is notorious for thriving in warm, sunny weather and can quickly spread throughout your lawn. But with the right knowledge and techniques, it’s possible to control this invasive species.

In this article, we’ll discuss simple prevention strategies such as mulching and avoiding standing water. We’ll also cover manual removal methods like pulling out the weeds by hand or using chemical controls such as pre-emergent herbicides.

In some cases, non-selective herbicides can be used on hardy clumps of dallisgrass.

With help from these tips, you’ll be able to reclaim your lawn in no time!

Key Takeaways

how to get rid of dallisgrass

  • Dallisgrass is a warm-season perennial weed that spreads quickly in warm, sunny weather and can be mistaken for crabgrass.
  • Prevention strategies such as mulching, avoiding standing water, and correcting drainage issues can help control dallisgrass.
  • Manual removal methods like hand pulling and digging out mature plants can be effective in managing dallisgrass.
  • The use of pre-emergent herbicides in early spring and selective or non-selective herbicides can also be used for chemical control of dallisgrass.

What is Dallisgrass?

What is Dallisgrass?
You already know that Dallisgrass is a troublesome warm-season perennial bunch grass, but did you also know it’s related to knotgrass and can be mistaken for crabgrass?

It was introduced into the United States from South America in the 1800s and has since spread throughout California except at high elevations.

To identify dallisgrass, look for wide leaf blades compared to most desirable turfgrasses as well as distinctive rhizomes. Additionally, flower stalks grow rapidly on dallisgrass with racemes alternating along the stem in groups of 2-10; seeds are large and black, which is another key identification feature.

Dallisgrass tolerates both sandy or heavy clay soils while being drought resistant and frost tolerant.

Control methods include removal of young plants before they form rhizomes or set seed.

Preemergence herbicides help manage existing populations by preventing new ones from germinating. However, non-selective herbicides may damage lawns, so barriers should always protect areas you don’t want damaged when applying such treatments.

Finally, cultural practices like thick layers of mulch around beds combined with healthy lawn care habits will suppress many instances where this weed takes hold over time without chemical intervention being necessary!

Prevention Strategies

Prevention Strategies
One of the most effective ways to prevent dallisgrass from taking hold in your landscape is through proper mulching and lawn care. Applying a thick layer of mulch around beds helps to suppress any instances where this weed might sprout, while also maintaining healthy standing water levels so that you can keep it away before it starts.


Thick layers of mulch around beds can help suppress dallisgrass and keep it from taking hold in ornamental landscapes, providing a natural solution to keeping your lawn healthy and free from this pesky weed.

To further prevent weedy lawns, proper drainage should be maintained along with using post-emergent herbicides on tall fescue grasses. Cultural practices such as thick mulch aid in preventing infestations while chemical control is also an option.

Special thanks go out to Greg Nichols, Michael Noctor, and Brandon Eubanks for their tips on how best to combat this aggressive weed:

  1. Spread pre-emergent herbicide in February.
  2. Use thick layers of mulch.
  3. Correct standing water problems.
  4. Mow regularly before weeds go to seed.
  5. Apply non-selective herbicide multiple times if necessary.

By following these preventive measures, you can successfully reduce or eliminate the presence of dallisgrass without resorting only to chemical intervention!

Standing Water

Correcting standing water problems in your lawn is essential to prevent dallisgrass infestations, so don’t let puddles linger! Dallisgrass belongs to the poaceae family and thrives in wet areas, preferring full sun exposure.

While it’s drought-resistant compared to other grasses, large numbers of dallisgrass plants can be a sign that an area has problems with drainage or overwatering.

Cultural controls are one way of managing its growth. Application of a large amount of water, such as deep irrigation, may also help control existing populations by drowning out seedlings before they take root.

Additionally, using pre-emergent herbicides will help reduce new seedlings from germinating each year but won’t get rid of established weeds already present on your property.

To identify this species, look for wide leaf blades and distinctive rhizomes. These will grow slowly larger over time if not managed properly. These characteristics are key indicators that you have dallisgrass in your yard, rather than crabgrass or goose grass, which often resemble it closely when young.

Taking preventive measures now against this pesky weed is sure to save headaches down the road!

Manual Removal

Manual Removal
If you happen to find dallisgrass in your landscape, manual removal is one way to tackle it. Cultural and physical control methods can help manage the weed without resorting to herbicides.

  1. Hand pulling – If plants are still young, you can hand-pull them out before they form rhizomes or set seed.
  2. Digging out – For mature plants that have already formed rhizomes, you need to dig them out with a shovel for complete removal.
  3. Rhizome Removal – Before disposing of the plant material, remove any large black seeds by hand. This will prevent new growth from occurring in other areas around your lawn or garden beds.
  4. Golf Courses – When dealing with dallisgrass infestations on golf courses, it is important to employ manual removal techniques such as picking up big black seeds by hand.

The best approach for managing this aggressive grass is through persistent prevention practices combined with regular monitoring and early detection.

Chemical Control

Chemical Control
If you’re looking to get rid of dallisgrass, chemical control is an option. Pre-emergents can be used to prevent germination in the early spring, and selective herbicides will target existing plants without damaging the surrounding turf.

Non-selective herbicides should also be considered as a last resort for large infestations or complete renovation of lawns and landscapes. Knowing which type of chemical control method best suits your needs is key when tackling this weed problem.


Preventing the return of dallisgrass can be achieved by applying pre-emergent herbicides in February and ensuring that your lawn is strong with no standing water issues. Mowing habits, weed control, soil preparation, and fertilizer application are all important steps to take for successful management of this plant.

Water management should also be considered, as dallisgrass flourishes in moist conditions. If necessary, non-selective herbicide applications may need to be used. However, these must always follow publication pest notes guidelines due to its introduction from South America as a forage plant many years ago.

To ensure success against future infestations, you must make sure previous year’s growth has been removed properly so it does not regrow again next year! With the right approaches taken consistently over time, dallisgrass will eventually become easier and easier to manage each season!

Selective Herbicides

Using selective herbicides can be an effective way to manage dallisgrass in lawns and landscapes without damaging the surrounding turf. It’s important to make sure that all pre-application requirements, such as soil type and temperature control, are met for successful control of this grass weed.

Reapplications may be required at least every four weeks depending on weather conditions. Spot treatment will help if bare spots appear from time to time. These herbicides have been approved by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension for use against dallisgrass because they target only members of the grass family while leaving other plants unharmed.

Pre-emergent herbicide treatments applied before germination help prevent a new generation of seedlings from controlling Dallisgrass seed production during seasons with ample rainfall or irrigation events.

This contributes towards its spread in areas where it has become a troublesome weed species since being introduced into the United States from South America centuries ago.

Non-Selective Herbicides

Non-selective herbicides can provide an effective solution to controlling dallisgrass, however, it requires patience and persistence – as well as a bit of luck. When using these products, it’s important to understand the application rates and safety precautions that need to be taken when dealing with dangerous chemicals.

To avoid damage from drift or overspray, cover protection for nearby specific weeds should always be used when applying non-selective herbicides. These products are most successful in controlling dallisgrass spread if they are applied directly onto a clump of the weed rather than broadcasting over larger areas.

This helps reduce potential weed resistance issues due to repeated applications in certain spots.

The correct use of non-selective herbicide products will help ensure an effective dallisgrass treatment without damaging desirable plants such as turfgrasses, which have good forage qualities but no defense against broad-spectrum chemical treatments like glyphosate or glufosinate ammonium-based formulations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does it take for dallisgrass to die after herbicide application?

The amount of time it takes for dallisgrass to die after herbicide application depends on the type and concentration used. Generally, you can expect visible results within a few days; however, complete eradication may take weeks or even months depending on the size of the infestation.

Is there a natural way to get rid of dallisgrass?

Yes, there are natural methods to control dallisgrass. Hand-pulling young plants, mulching thickly, and regularly mowing can help prevent its spread. Applying pre-emergent herbicides in early spring also prevents it from germinating.

How can I prevent dallisgrass from coming back?

Prevent dallisgrass from returning by utilizing pre-emergent herbicides during the early spring, consistently mowing your lawn, and establishing a dense layer of mulch around flower beds. Be cautious not to introduce it through tainted seed or sod. Address any issues with standing water to guarantee the effectiveness of prevention methods.

Are there any risks associated with using herbicides to kill dallisgrass?

Yes, herbicides can be risky for the environment and people when used to kill dallisgrass. Always use protective gear and follow label instructions carefully to minimize risks. Be aware that some herbicides may damage surrounding plants or cause health problems if inhaled or ingested.

Is there a difference between treating dallisgrass in a lawn versus treating it in a bed?

Yes, there is a difference. In lawns, you can prevent dallisgrass seed germination with pre-emergent herbicides and control existing plants by digging them out or using non-selective herbicides. Whereas in beds, mulch thickly to stop its growth and use non-selective herbicide multiple times for complete eradication.


Getting rid of dallisgrass requires a combination of prevention and management techniques. The key is prevention: mulching, correcting standing water problems, and mowing regularly can help reduce the spread of dallisgrass.

Hand-pulling isn’t effective, so chemical control may be necessary for large infestations. You can use pre-emergent herbicides, selective herbicides, and non-selective herbicides to control dallisgrass.

However, the best option is usually the non-selective herbicide applied multiple times for maximum effectiveness. In the southern United States, dallisgrass affects over 10 million acres of turf grass and reduces yields in agricultural fields by up to 40%.

With the right approach, though, you can manage dallisgrass and keep it to a minimum.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is a published author and software engineer and agriculture expert from the US. To date, he has helped thousands of people make their yards lush and thick.