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How to Get Rid of Wiregrass in Your Lawn Full Guide of 2023

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how to get rid of wire grassYou’re beyond frustrated with the wire grass taking over your lawn. No matter what you do, it keeps spreading faster than you can dig it up.

After years battling wire grass on my own property, I’ve got proven techniques to share. Arm yourself with the right knowledge and tools to stop wire grass in its wiry little tracks. With some elbow grease and the proper chemical or mechanical treatments, you can get rid of it for good.

Stick with me over the next few sections, and I’ll walk you through everything I’ve learned after many wire grass wars of my own. This article has the exact steps you need, from understanding why it spreads so fast to how to banish it forever using either a natural, organic approach or targeted herbicide application.

Let’s get started beating back the wire grass invasion for good.

Key Takeaways

  • Spreads fast via roots, rhizomes; digging spreads pieces
  • Glyphosate is best for homeowners
  • Takes weeks/months to fully eradicate; persistence is key
  • Proper mowing, seeding, and digging with glyphosate and fenoxaprop are needed

Understanding Wire Grass

Understanding Wire Grass
You’ll need to be patient and persistent to manage wiregrass in your yard. This persistent weed, also called bermudagrass or cynodon dactylon, spreads rapidly via its extensive root system. Digging is ineffective as tiny root pieces generate new growth. Wiregrass’ history shows how it hitched rides with early settlers and spread rapidly across pastures.

While it provides erosion control, its environmental impact can be significant in crowding out native species. Natural controls like crop rotation to shade out wiregrass may help. But for most homeowners, chemical control is the best option.

Removing wiregrass takes dedication over weeks and years. With vigilance, you can reclaim your yard.

Lawn Care Practices

Lawn Care Practices
Battling wiregrass requires diligent lawn maintenance. Mow your lawn high, at the highest recommended setting for your grass type; seed any bare spots to maintain a thick, competitive stand; and collect clippings when you mow to prevent reseeding the weed.

Proper Mowing Techniques

Mow high when it’s growing to help subdue the wiregrass without making it spread.

  • Set mower height to 3-4 inches when wiregrass is actively growing.
  • Mow frequently to prevent seedhead formation.
  • Overseed bare spots in fall to crowd out wiregrass.

Keeping your lawn tall blocks light from reaching wiregrass foliage. Mowing higher selectively favors turfgrass over prostrate wiregrass growth. Adjust the mowing schedule based on growth rate and seasonal conditions to prevent wiregrass from thriving.

Seeding Bare Spots

To keep wiregrass at bay, seed bare spots in your lawn immediately so desirable grass crowds it out. I know it seems pointless when the wiregrass will likely return, but thick, healthy grass inhibits its spread and improves your lawn’s appearance until the next battle.

When overseeding for wiregrass control, proper fertilization, aeration, topdressing, and moisture management are key. Overseed in fall when temperatures drop but existing grass is still actively growing to ensure good germination and establishment before wiregrass resumes spreading in spring.

Avoiding Mulching Clippings

Prevent spreading wiregrass by not recycling clippings when you mow. Wiregrass can easily spread through routine mowing practices if the clippings are left on the lawn. Instead, dispose of them properly to avoid introducing wiregrass seeds into other areas of your yard.

To further prevent its spread, consider soil improvement techniques such as aerating and adding organic matter to promote healthier grass growth that will outcompete the invasive weed. If wiregrass continues to be a problem in your lawn, explore alternative groundcovers or seek guidance from lawn care resources for effective solutions in managing this persistent weed without harming ornamental beds or desired foliage roots exposed to full sun.

Mechanical Management

Mechanical Management
You’ll want to hand dig out small areas of wiregrass, carefully removing all the roots by hand. Avoid tilling or cultivating infested areas, as that will simply spread pieces of the roots around and worsen the problem.

Hand Digging Small Areas

Dig out that sneaky wiregrass completely – every last bit of root and rhizome – if you want any hope of controlling its spread in your garden beds. Slip on sturdy work gloves and arm yourself with a digging fork, shovel, or even a heavy-duty weeding tool.

Dig deep to extract those wiry white hair-like rhizomes. Bag up every last bit – nothing can be left behind.

Be prepared to retreat this invasive grass in mid-to-late August or early October. Removing wiregrass takes determination, but with persistence, you can control its spread and reclaim your garden.

Removing All Roots

You’ll need to be thorough and remove every last bit of those pesky wiregrass roots when hand-digging areas in your yard, as research shows that even a tiny rhizome fragment left behind can generate a new infestation.

Coordinate with neighbors to routinely deep till and solarize soil on the same schedule, maintain drainage holes, and re-establish competitive vegetation to prevent wiregrass from returning via seeds or remaining bits.

Avoiding Tilling

Tilling spreads pieces, so avoid it. Instead, try raised beds with landscape fabric beneath to block rhizomes from emerging. Choose competitive ornamentals and mulch pathways. Installing barrier edging also prevents encroachment.

With persistence and smart prevention, you can gain the upper hand against wiregrass without resorting to tilling.

Chemical Treatment in Lawns

Chemical Treatment in Lawns
When dealing with wiregrass in your lawn, chemical treatment is often the most effective option. To get rid of it, use fenoxaprop to suppress growth in the existing turf, while spot treating patches or renovating bare areas in late summer with glyphosate before reseeding in the fall.

Fenoxaprop for Suppression

Fenoxaprop suppresses wiregrass in lawns, but it won’t eradicate it completely. Apply fenoxaprop in the fall when it is actively growing to suppress its growth. Avoid fertilizing or mowing too low, as this encourages spreading. Plan naturalized areas to reduce the usage of chemicals.

When renovating, use glyphosate non-selectively first. Wait until spring to seed new protected turfgrass. Mow high and seed bare spots in the fall to prevent spreading without tilling. Focused chemical suppression, proper cultural practices, and accepting some wiregrass aid in control.

Glyphosate for Spot Treatment or Renovation

Paint glyphosate carefully on the stubborn grass before reseeding the bare spots so it’s gone for good. This non-selective herbicide kills everything, so shield desirable plants. Wait 1-2 weeks for the wiry grass to die back before disturbing the area.

Then, till the dead roots, rake smooth, and sow new seed in early fall when conditions favor germination. Mow high and reseed any thinning turf to crowd out reemerging shoots. With spot treatment and proper cultural practices, you can reclaim your lawn.

Renovating in Late Summer and Reseeding in Fall

You’ll wanna renovate that pesky wiregrass late summer when it’s actively growin’, then quickly reseed with a nice fescue in the fall for a lush new lawn.

  1. Apply glyphosate in late summer when wiregrass is actively growing.
  2. Dethatch to remove dead material and improve seed-to-soil contact.
  3. Aerate compacted soil for better root development.
  4. Spread a thin layer of topdressing sand to fill aeration holes.
  5. Overseed with desired grass seed in early fall when temps cool.

Timing matters for effective chemical treatment and successful reseeding. With diligent prep work, the pesky wiregrass will soon be outcompeted by your thriving new fescue lawn.

Further Information

Further Information
While chemicals can help control wiregrass in lawns, more aggressive measures may be needed to fully remove it from gardens and landscaped areas. You’ve likely realized by now that wiregrass is a formidable foe. But don’t lose hope – with some elbow grease and persistence, you can beat it back and reclaim your yard.

The nuclear option is sod removal. Strip back the turf to bare soil, taking care to remove all wiregrass roots and rhizomes. Replacing with fresh sod or reseeding is necessary to crowd out any remaining wiregrass.

Controlled community burns were once used to manage wiregrass. Regular aeration helps competing grasses fill in. It’s frustrating, but with diligence and multiple control methods, you can stay on top of wiregrass.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are some natural or organic methods for controlling wiregrass?

Hand dig small patches, removing all roots and rhizomes. Solarize infested areas using clear plastic sheeting. Maintain a thick, healthy lawn by mowing high and seeding bare spots to outcompete wiregrass.

For spot treatment, paint undiluted vinegar or natural herbicide on wiregrass leaves.

How long does it take for wiregrass to be completely eradicated from an area?

You’re looking at weeks, even months of persistence to fully eradicate wiregrass. It spreads aggressively underground, so digging up visible growth is just the start. Repeated herbicide applications to regrowth are essential over time to exhaust the root system.

Can I plant anything on top of wiregrass to smother it out?

To smother out wiregrass, you can plant landscape fabric or apply a thick layer of mulch. This will prevent sunlight from reaching the grass and inhibit its growth. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure effectiveness.

Does wiregrass spread more quickly in certain soil types or conditions?

In certain soil types or conditions, wiregrass spreads like wildfire, taking over your landscape with its aggressive growth. It’s as if it has a voracious appetite for domination, quickly colonizing every inch of available space.

What is the most cost-effective way for managing wiregrass on a large property or farm?

Consider striking a balance with spot treatments and natural deterrents, such as native, competitive plantings, to keep the cost manageable on a substantial property.


Like a weed choking out your prized roses, wiregrass can quickly overtake a lawn. Arm yourself with patience and persistence to beat back this creeping menace. Employ a multi-pronged attack – proper mowing, seeding, and digging – alongside chemical controls like glyphosate and fenoxaprop.

It will take time and diligence to fully get rid of wiregrass, but with the right lawn care practices, you can reclaim your yard from its grip.

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.