How to Kill Dallisgrass – A Complete Step-By-Step Guide – Gardener Corner

How to Kill Dallisgrass – A Complete Step-By-Step Guide


Dallisgrass is one of the most troublesome weeds and a big concern for both public and private lawn. This grass has always been listed as a difficult-to-control grass. However, killing Dallisgrass is not necessarily something impossible. In fact, learning how to kill Dallisgrass involves some certain know-how and practices in following a step-by-step grass management plan. Once you mastered these steps, there should not be any worry about this obnoxious grass damaging your lawn again.

Identification of Dallisgrass

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Dallisgrass is a fast-growing weed. It has another name as Paspalum Dilitatum, having its origin in Argentina and Uruguay since the 1800s. This grass creates not only unsightly tufts to the planting site but also brings hazardous fungus to other plants in the area. Below are the major identifications of Dallisgrass.

  • It is a perennial, coarse-textured, and clumping grass spreading from short, thick rhizomes and seeds.

  • It has a grayish-green color, a few sparse hairs on the leaf collar and at the base of leaf blade, and a membranous ligule.

  • Its leaves roll in vernation and protruding mid-rib.

  • It usually grows in an enlarging circular clump, and its rhizomes can root easily into the moist soil.

  • It thrives fast in clay or sandy soil, and it really enjoys nitrogen fertilizer, making it difficult to control.

How to kill Dallisgrass in easy steps

Phase 1: Healthy yard maintenance

What you need

  • Seeds

  • Gardening gloves

  • Lawnmower

  • Shovel


Identify Dallisgrass

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It’s crucial to identify the grass that you are trying to get rid of. The identification guide above may help you with this. The most remarkable identification is that this grass has a rough texture growing in circular clumps.

Sometimes it grows so large that the center begins to dry out and die, while the outer rings still keep growing and smother the turf grasses that they encounter. Thus, more than often you will see them growing in huge clumps. And the older they get, the more difficult to control. The earlier you can identify the Dallisgrass, the easier it is to control them.

Maintain the yard

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Before you actually kill Dallisgrass, it’s important to know how to maintain the yard properly. The ultimate goal of this task is to keep the yard healthy and endurant enough to fight back the grass.

It’s of great necessity to cover the bare spots with new seeds quickly. Otherwise, the Dallisgrass will soon take over the area soon. Select the new seeds you want to grow in the planting site and don’t give the Dallisgrass space to take its roots and germinate. And remember to test the soil before deciding which seeds are compatible to grow in your lawn.

Besides filling the yard with seeds, it’s advisable to practice power mowing techniques. It’s ideal to cut less than 1/3 inch of the blade height. You may want the grass to be short, but in fact, taller blades are much healthier. Thus, their root systems are strong enough to fight back the Dallisgrass’s invasion.

Last but every not least, ensure your yard receive proper watering. Watch this video to know more watering tips for your lawn.

Phase 2: Pre-emergent treatment

What you need

  • Rubber gloves

  • Hose-end sprayer

  • Pre-emergent


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Mix the solution

Take about half a canister of water, then add about one cup of the pre-emergent chemical to that water. And add the other half of the jar until it’s full. Remember to secure the cover tightly and give it a good shake.

Apply on the Dallisgrass

First, mark a section of about 20 by 25 feet. Then, implement the chemical to every portion of that 500 square foot section until the content of your jar is empty. When spraying the pre-emergent, sweep it from side to side.

Water the soil

After applying the chemical, water it into the ground to ensure the chemical reaches the soil so that it can actually start affecting the weed. The pre-emergent will stop the seed from growing and prevent the grasses from growing up to six months.

Phase 3: Post-emergent management

What you need

  • Herbicide glyphosate

  • Mulch

  • Gardening gloves


Spot treatment

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Spot treatment can be done with herbicides or manual labor. Please note that selective herbicides are not really powerful, it may not help to kill Dallisgrass. However, non-selective herbicides can be dangerous to other plants in the yard because these herbicides kill anything it touches.

Thus, a common choice for spot treatment is herbicide glyphosate, which is available in any gardening store. It’s advisable to apply the treatment a few times for the optimum effect.

But if you don’t feel comfortable using the herbicide, another method is manual labor. Even though this way is the fast way to get the grass out of sight, the effect is highly dependent on how you do the task. When pulling off the weeds, make sure you take the whole root system out. Otherwise, the weed will grow back even more intensely.

Clean your lawn mower

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When using the lawnmower to cut the grass, there are many seeds getting stuck inside. Thus, the next time you use it, you may be spreading the seeds on the yard. And the vicious circle of growing-killing will never stop. However, cleaning the mower is not difficult. Some quality lawn sweepers come with quick and easy leaf cleanup features.

To clean the lawnmower, first, stop the engine and lower cutting height to the lowest setting. Then, remove the back and attach the garden hose to the port. Next, turn the water on and start the engine and stay behind the handle.

Keep your eye on it until you see no more clippings come out under the machine. After that, stop the engine, shut off the water and disconnect the hose. Finally, start the engine again and engage the blades for a few minutes to dry off the underside of the mower.

Mulch flower beds

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The Dallisgrass does not really focus its attention of the ornamental beds. However, this may happen sometimes. And to remove the Dallisgrass from the flower bed, dig them out using a shovel. After that, add a thick layer of mulch on the top of the area.

Spreading the mulch on the flower beds does not only help to eliminate the growth of the Dallisgrass. It also contributes to preventing this grass from penetrating into this area. Thus, when you are choosing seeds to add onto the bare spots on the planting site, it’s ideal to add some more flower seeds on them.


Knowing how to kill Dallisgrass is crucial for those living the area that this grass easily thrives. And when removing the Dallisgrass from the lawn, don’t forget to follow the three-phase approach above. To wrap it up, you need to take care of your yard, apply pre-treatment and manage the post-treatment. This step-by-step treatment plant hopefully helps you to get rid of the Dallisgrass in the long term. If snails and clovers are also a problem in your yard, see more at 9 Ways to Get Rid of Snails and Slugs from Your Garden and Excellent Ways to Get Rid of Clover.

James G. Craig

James G. Craig is a gardening enthusiast who splits his spare time between growing vegetables, preening his flower gardens, and blogging about his experiences at the Gardener Corner.

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