Tips for Controlling Poa Annua

Poa Annua

Poa annua, also known as annual bluegrass, is one of the most common weeds on lawns. With an appearance very similar to Kentucky bluegrass, Poa annua germinates in late summer through early fall. It will then die off during hot summer temperatures, leaving behind bare patches in your lawn and seedlings that will grow that season or the following year. 

If left unattended, Poa annua will quickly spread and eventually take over your entire yard. For this reason, it’s important to understand how to get rid of annual bluegrass and the proper techniques for preventing it. In this article, we’ll dive into the top tips on how to kill Poa annua for a healthy, weed-free lawn. 

What is Poa Annua?

Poa annua is a grassy weed that can grow and adapt to numerous locations throughout the United States. It is undesirable to homeowners due to its annual life cycle, which leaves behind bare patches on lawns. 

This cool season weed germinates in the fall, generally when soil temperatures drop to 70 degrees or lower. The following spring it will rapidly grow before it dies in the summer. 

Before it completes its life cycle, however, the annual bluegrass produces flowers and seeds that will scatter throughout your lawn that may germinate again. Thus, it is crucial to identify and control Poa annua immediately before it overtakes your yard. 

Why is Poa Annua Difficult to Control? 

Although originally native to Eurasia, Poa annua can now be found in nearly all climates and regions in the United States. It is a hardy plant that will survive extreme temperatures and heavy foot traffic, making it somewhat difficult to control. 

As previously mentioned, Poa usually germinates in the fall, but most don’t visibly see the weed until it’s already established and difficult to control. Thus, it’s usually best to prevent the weed in place of treating it once it appears. We talk about doing this with a pre-emergent herbicide farther down in this article.

Because a single plant of annual bluegrass can produce hundreds or even thousands of seeds, Poa annua can quickly overtake a lawn before you may even realize it’s there. Fortunately, with the correct tools and methods, it is possible to obtain a weed-free lawn even after Poa annua has spread throughout your grass. By following the practices listed below, you can successfully kill Poa annua without harming your lawn. 

How to Control Poa Annua Through Cultural Practices 

If Poa annua hasn’t yet spread throughout your turfgrass, cultural control may be the best option for your lawn. Although the weed is hardy, it has a fairly shallow root system, making it easy to pull out by hand. Be sure to remove Poa annua down to the roots to prevent regrowth.

Additionally, maintaining a healthy, thriving lawn will greatly reduce the risk of Poa annua growth. As with many other lawn diseases, Poa annua typically infests lawns that already contain bare spots and are lacking vital nutrients. 

Overwatering lawns can contribute to a wide range of diseases as well as the appearance of weeds. Poa annua is one such weed that prefers damp locations, particularly in shady areas. For best results, irrigate your lawn deeply and infrequently, giving your lawn about 1-inch of water per week. Avoiding overwatering will prevent Poa annua’s shallow roots from receiving the amount of water it needs to thrive.

A thick, healthy lawn will also prevent Poa annua from finding the room it needs for seeds to sprout. To promote healthy growth, it is a good idea to fertilize your lawn regularly, spacing feedings 6–8 weeks apart.

Oftentimes, Poa annua overtakes lawns because the turf is cut too low. When you set your mower blades high, you allow the grass to choke out any Poa annua seedlings. Raising the blades also prevents other issues associated with grasses cut too low.

How to Stop Poa Annua Before Before the Seeds Start

One of the most effective practices for controlling Poa annua is using a pre-emergent herbicide. Unlike post-emergent weed killers, pre-emergent herbicides kill weeds before they appear above the soil. A pre-emergent herbicide is best applied in the fall when new Poa annua seedlings begin to grow. We recommend using 0-0-7 with 38% Prodiamine to control winter weeds including Poa annua. To guarantee no Poa annua grows next spring, homeowners may apply a second round of pre-emergent herbicide 30 days after the first application.

Contact your local Carolina Fresh Farms outlet for questions or product information..

How to Kill Poa Annua 

Although a pre-emergent herbicide may be enough to prevent Poa annua in your lawn, the seeds may survive many seasons before germinating. If you happen to notice Poa annua in the spring, or your lawn is already severely infested with it, a post-emergent herbicide is the best option for controlling it. 

Rather than treating weeds before they appear, post-emergent herbicide kills weeds currently existing on your lawn. Even if you applied a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall, it is still a good idea to apply a post-emergent herbicide to any Poa annua that grows. 

Contact your local Carolina Fresh Farms outlet for product recommendations.

With the proper methods, it is possible to control and prevent Poa annua on lawns. By following these tips, you can ensure your lawn maintains a healthy, weed-free appearance for many years to come.

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