January's weed of the month is annual poa grass (aka annual bluegrass), a weed in the grass family. Those of you with warm season lawns will be vexed by this weed right now - it's bright green, making it highly conspicuous in dormant lawns.
Annual poa ID Features:
- thin, grassy leaves that are bright green
- forms clumps
- short growing clumps
- the grassy flowers start green, turning white as they age
This little annual weed grows fast, has several lifecycles during winter/spring, and produces thousands of seeds. To make matters worse, it won't stop growing until heat comes in spring/summer and it is showing resistance to post-emergent herbicides. Early in the season you can stay on top of it by mowing to keep the flowers from setting seed, in this way breaking the lifecycle. It's also one of the easiest weeds to pull by hand.
Our CEO Ben Copeland Jr. says, "Treat it or pull it; don't ignore it." The following are his tips and trivia.
- Mowing helps, but it doesn't fix it - as the days lengthen in the spring, it starts to bolt and will go to seed at 1/2" tall, making it impossible to mow.
- Pull it! Especially bigger clumps that are in flower - just pull them by hand.
- Pre-emergent herbicide is the best control (post-emergent herbicide treatment is not very effective). Come by for products or check out our new Lawn Coach subscription.
- Annual bluegrass proliferates in compacted and/or wet areas, so if you have an annual bluegrass problem, consider aerification in the spring after your lawn has greened up. This practice will reduce the problem for the next year.
- The healthier and denser your turf, the less annual bluegrass you'll have.
- Poa annua has one of the widest adaptations, from Arctic to tropics.
- You've heard of Kentucky bluegrass, yes? It's a common lawn in the north, but that's a different species called Poa pratensis.
Poa Pulling - By Hand
Do you believe us when we recommend pulling weeds by hand? You should!
Pro Tip: Make it fun and fill a sled with hand-pulled weeds. Might as well use the sled for something.