How to Kill Dallisgrass in Easy Steps

In the quest to maintain a beautiful lawn, dallisgrass can destroy your plans. It is hard to control, but possible. Learning how to kill dallisgrass involves just a few simple steps. Once you have mastered the steps, these frustrating plants will never damage your lawn again.


What is Dallisgrass?

You may be lucky enough never to experience these annoying weeds. The dallisgrass, known as Paspalum dilitatum, originates in Uruguay and Argentina, arriving in the 1800s.

Initially, southern inhabitants relied on dallisgrass as a fast growing forage plant. Those who lived in southern climates often struggle to grow enough food to survive.

It loves sandy and clay soil, high in nitrogen. Golfers struggle with this weed because it grows faster than turf grass.

Named after a strong supported, A.T. Dallis, people soon realized that dallisgrass enjoyed its new terrain. Along with other weeds in its family such as field paspalum and thin paspalum, it grew out of control quickly.

Over the southern United States, dallisgrass has naturalized. Unfortunately, farmers dislike this weed because it can harbor a fungus that is dangerous for livestock.

What is the Difference between Crabgrass and Dallisgrass?


Crabgrass (above) and dallisgrass (below) are qutie confused. Via

These are two of the most common weeds in the southern United States. They both grow in warm temperatures, but they are different. Crabgrass is annual so that it won’t return each year. It has hairy blades. Dallisgrass has spikes full of seeds that spread and cause the plant to grow continually. To the touch, it feels coarse.

A significant difference is in their growth patterns. Dallisgrass is a fast grower that can shoot up within a few days. Because it is thick, it smothers and kills the surrounding grass. You have to control it quickly to prevent the destruction of your grass.

Items You Need to Kill Dallisgrass

Steps to Getting Rid of Dallisgrass

Typically, killing dallisgrass is a three step method. The first step is maintaining your yard properly. A healthy lawn is key to the prevention of dallisgrass. Then, you focus on the pre-emergent herbicides methods. Finally, post-emergent herbicides can be used.

Let’s break down these three steps to see how to kill dallisgrass.

#1. Identify Dallisgrass Weed

You want to make sure you correctly identify the weed you are struggling to kill in your yard. Across the southern states, this weed has a rough texture that grows in circular clumps. These clumps can be gigantic!

Often, the center of the plant will die as the outer parts get larger. As it grows, the grass around the weed suffocates and dies. You can see ways to identify in this short clip.

#2. Healthy Lawn Management

The first step to killing dallisgrass is learning how to maintain your yard properly. Your goal should be dense and healthy by using proper watering, mowing, and fertilization.

Bare spots in your yard should be covered with new seeds quickly. Dallisgrass will take over the area within a few days. Thick grass doesn’t give dallisgrass space to take root and germinate.

Practicing proper mowing technique for a healthy lawn is necessary. Never cut more than 1/3 inch of the blade height. You might like grass to be very short, but taller blades are healthier. Their root systems are strong, allowing them to fight the invasion of the dallisgrass.

If you want to learn some mowing tips, check out this video.

#3. Use Pre-Emergent Control Methods

Homeowners should use pre-emergent methods to stop the growth and spread of dallisgrass. This annoying weed has long spikes, over several feet long, containing significant amounts of seeds. Each spike has two to ten spikelets. Each spikelet has two rows of seeds along its entire length.

It is rather difficult to stop the spread of seeds once the plant is full grown. Birds and animals contribute to the spread. The wind blows seeds across the yard. When you cut the grass, your lawn mower blades send tiny seeds all over your lawn.

Some people have successfully used pre-emergency herbicides, designed for crabgrass, to stop the spread of dallisgrass. You have to water them properly into the soil for them to work properly.

Here the short video to show you how to how to apply pre-emergent weed control.

#4. Manual Labor

If you don’t feel comfortable applying herbicides to your lawn, the best method for post-emergent weeds is manual labor. Yes, you may end up on your hands and knees for hours in your yard. However, it is an effective way to kill dallisgrass. You have to be sure to get the root system out entirely, or the weed will just continue to grow back.

Preventing the establishment of new plants is key to learning how to kill dallisgrass. Homeowners need to stay vigilant and remove all young plants. Digging them out before they set seed is the most efficient method of control.

You can get some tips on how to get rid of weed by hand in this video.

#5. Spot Treatments

Infestations require more than spot treatments, but if you only have a few weeds in your lawn, it is the way to go. However, there is one major downside; non-selective herbicides kill anything it touches. Your grass will die along with the dallisgrass. Buy grass seed or sod to lay down in this bare spots quickly to avoid another infestation.

A common choice for spot treatment is herbicide glyphosate known as Roundup. You can find it in almost any store. You will need to apply the treatment a few times for the full effect as they do in this video.

#6. Clean Your Lawn Mower

Did you know you can bring dallisgrass with you if you move to a new home? Seeds are often transported by mowers used on a contaminated lawn. So, if your new yard is dallisgrass free, you must clean your mower to prevent a new invasion.

If you’ve never done so before, here is an easy how-to video.

#7. Mulch Flower Beds

Luckily, dallisgrass doesn’t typically focus its attention on our ornamental beds. Unfortunately, it does happen at times. The best way to remove them from flower beds is to dig them out with a shovel. Then, add a thick layer of mulch over top of the area to prevent the spread of seeds throughout the area.

Check out this video on how to apply mulch to prevent weed​.

#8. Spray with Post Emergent Herbicides

You can purchase some herbicides to control clusters of dallisgrass. It would be best to try to find a spray that is selective, but you need to apply it two to three times for three-week intervals. They spread rapidly during the summer; dedication is required.

Before you spray the weeds the first time, leave the grass to grow for a minimum of two weeks without mowing. You want the most amount of leaves and spikelets available during application. No irrigation should take place before 24 hours after application.

It is best not to apply post-emergent herbicides when it is scorching outside. Each label should tell you the ideal temperatures for use. You can see how to apply herbicide in this short video.


Learning how to kill dallisgrass is important for homeowners that live in the southern states. This invading weed, once loved for its taste and health benefits, takes over lawns, destroying well-maintained lawns in a few weeks. Homeowners need to remember the three step approach.

You should always take care of your yard, focusing on proper techniques and fertilization. Apply pre-emergent herbicide and remove new shoots as soon as possible. For mature weeds, use post-emergent herbicides to kill them fully.

I hope this post was helpful! If it was, be sure to share it with your friends.

About the Author Laura Bennett

Hello, I’m Laura Bennett. I love nature especially when it comes to flowers and different kinds of plants. I started a very small garden behind my house and I named it Humid Garden. So, I created this blog to provide aspiring and inspiring thoughts about gardening for gardeners and anyone who has the intention of keeping a garden.

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