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Over the Garden Fence

Where gardeners come to find out what's happening out in the yard.

Weed of the Week – Nimblewill in the Lawn

Posted by Richard Hentschel -

Down the Garden Path

Richard Hentschel Extension Educator

The warmer weather has had our lawn grasses turning green and with that a grass weed that prefers even warmer temperatures of summer going. This past week Extension Master Gardeners have seen quite a few samples of Nimblewill. Nimblewill is a warm season perennial grass that creeps by above ground stems in a loose matt among the other lawn grasses. Each node that forms a leaf can also form roots and that helps it spread. Some homeowners have described it over the phone as looking wiry. Right now those patches are light tan in color or sometimes described as straw colored and clearly stand out in the greener grass. It likes shady or wet areas in a lawn to get established. Many of our cool season grasses are dormant or slow down in growth while Nimblewill marches ahead without any competition.

Nimblewill is very different in appearance than Zoysia grass, our other warm season grassy weed that can be found in the lawn. Right Zoysia is a golden tan color in the lawn and grows very slowly as it moves into the lawn.

For many years, a homeowner had little to use against this weed. In recent years, non-selective herbicides have been used to manage the weed and any desirable grasses in the area treated. Later, over seeding or sodding was done. A homeowner would have to spray out an area larger than expected to be sure that the weed was eliminated. The other choice was making sure proper cultural practices were done to make the lawn more competitive and prevent Nimblewill from establishing.

Commercial Lawn Care companies now have a product that will selectively control this grass weed in our lawns. The treatments need to take place while the weed is young and actively growing in the late spring to early summer. It will not necessarily be a one-time treatment like dandelion control. It can take 2 or 3 treatments to get good control and there are side effects too. There can be discoloration to the desirable lawn grasses. Spot treatments are often done to lessen this discoloration. If Nimblewill is a big enough concern in your lawn, consider having the weed professionally treated or take on the weed as you have in the past, by improving the lawn through healthy practices and spot treatments while the Nimblewill is actively growing in late Spring.

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