Does your lawn appear to be full of off-colour grass patches? This might be an early sign you have a coarse grass infestation. Robust and healthy, the different types of invasive grass weeds give gardeners a small window of time to react before they fully overtake the lawn. Early identification is as crucial as the correct control methods afterwards.

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But before we go any further, let’s identify the three most common types of coarse grass.

What are the different types of weed grasses that invade UK lawns

  • Annual meadow grass – also known as poa annua, it’s a low-growing and small type of grass and, with a pinch of favourable conditions, it can spread all over the lawn. Poa annua is most commonly used on golf courses and domestic greenery alike. Even though it’s called annual, some of the sprouts can live for two or more years. Unfortunately, meadow grasses easily catch various diseases and are drought-intolerant, leaving you with big splotches of the bare lawn after they die off.
  • Yorkshire fog – this grass has a broad leaf surface covered with small hairs. Yorkshire fog grows in tufts so you can spot it without difficulty once it grows up. Another sure-fire sign the weed is slowly making itself comfortable is the predominant pale green colour in your lawn. Yorkshire fog remains pale even after considerable time has passed and your fine grass gets a darker-green hue. Sometimes this weed is wrongly mistaken for couch grass – which is its American cousin.
  • Rough meadow grass – this is arguably the most horrendous type of weed grass in the UK. Luckily it’s the least occurring and it’s very easy to identify. The grass grows in so-called “whorls” (solid tufts of weed). Its leaves are rough, hardened and dark-green in colour. If you feel adventurous, however, you can spruce up the shady areas in your garden with it. However, rough meadow grass is a very cheap alternative to other popular decorative options. It’s not that attractive and is hard to breed.

How to identify weed grasses in your garden

Now that you are familiar with the different types of invasive grass in lawns, let’s proceed to make it easy for you to spot them on the crime scene.

  • If you have a patchy lawn, chances are, weeds have messed it up. Most of them die out quickly when the conditions are not ideal and leave you with a desert-like area. The surviving ones have differently coloured leaves and texture to the rest of the grass.
  • If your lawn has a burnt-like outlook, it’s likely due to died out coarse grass. This usually happens during a period of drought, especially if your soil is clay.
  • If you look at your lawn and see little bright seed heads, it’s highly likely that meadow grass has infested your green space and you are seeing its flowers.

Next up…

Causes for coarse grass to creep in

Before you unleash your mayhem on those pesky weeds, you should get to know why this happens in the first place and use more effective methods to prevent it in the future.

  1. Weed seeds present in fine grass seed mixtures. Be wary that cheap unsterilised top-dressing material can also contain rogue seeds.
  2. Extreme weather conditions. The gardening communities state that extensive periods of rain or drought are the reason why some coarse grasses thrive better than decorative lawns.
  3. Lawn compaction. Generally caused by excessive walking or vehicle driving,  compaction stresses the turf and not only makes it susceptible to weeds, but also to pests and diseases. Aerating or top-dress the area to diminish the compaction.
  4. Seasonal changes. Freezing temperature causes some types of fine grass to go dormant, hence weeds take over.

Getting rid of coarse grass in the lawn

Even though many sources out there advocate the use of weed killers, we’d like to give you a different perspective. Especially in the case of homeowners, you don’t need to resort to chemicals to tackle coarse grass. There are simple cultivar methods that can help you get rid of the weeds in a few months time with a fair share of determination.

Materials to use:

  • Spring lawn fertiliser;
  • Lawnmower;
  • Spring tine rake;
  • Weed fork;
  • Garden gloves.

Depending on the severity of the infestation, choose one of the two methods described below.

Dealing with mild to moderate coarse grass weeding

Here’s a step-by-step process of how to get rid of mild to moderate coarse grass infestation:

  1. Apply a spring lawn fertiliser. Choose one rich in nitrogen. Best time to implement it will be in March as you will accelerate the fine lawn grass’ growth.
  2. Mow frequently. Decorative grass cultivars benefit and grow stronger when mowed, whereas coarse grasses decline. Make sure your mow on medium height to get a better cut.
  3. Rake lightly. Use a spring-tine rake to push the coarse grass tufts up and away, so that you can mow them out easily afterwards.
  4. Weed out by hand. Remove the leftover stubborn weed patches manually or by using a weed fork.

Severe coarse grass infestation

Here’s the best way to eliminate drastic weed grass damage:

  • Cut out the problematic lawn. Rent or buy a sod cutter and start removing the infested lawn patches or the entirety of the grass.
  • Introduce topsoil. Spread topsoil on your ex-lawn area – as much as 2 inches of depth.
  • Roll in the topsoil. Use a decent water drum, go over the ground and roll the topsoil mix.
  • Lay new turf patches. Get a quality sod and lay it on top.
  • Keep the area wet. Water the area regularly, as you will need two weeks before the grassroots set in.
  • Mow on high setting. Now that the lawn sod has settled in, use your lawn mower on high setting (3 inches) and go over the area.
  • Apply rich in nitrogen fertilizer. Make sure it contains bacteria and michorrhyza. Why? Because mycorrhizae and plants benefit each other by sharing food resources, thus enhancing a healthy ecosystem.
  • Rinse and repeat the process. Water the lawn deep, mow on a high setting, fertilise the soil and do that over the course of the next year.
  • Aerate once per year.

Next spring coming along, your regular lawn maintenance efforts will be awarded a well-rooted lush lawn. The above step-by-step process works in the majority of cases. However, if you want to be extra sure, here are a few specific methods tailored to each of the main weed grass culprits.

Removing poa annua

  • Lift up the biggest tufts in autumn.
  • Add soil to level out the area.
  • Reseed with a fine lawn seed mix of your choice.
  • Alternatively, you can lay patches of new turf.
warning

Avoid excessive watering in periods of drought. Due to its shallow roots, meadow grass will die out.

How to remove unwanted Yorkshire fog

To get rid of Yorkshire fog, you have two options – either cut it out completely and replace it with turf or seed or weaken it by abrading with a spade or a spring-tine rake.

Getting rid of rough meadow grass

Rough meadow grass is generally more invasive than Yorkshire fog, and you should deal with it as soon as you spot it, otherwise, you risk the well-being of your garden. Pull out individual plants or smaller weed tufts. The rest you can cut out with a knife and replace with turf or new fine grass seed.

Professional maintenance with Fantastic

We know how important a regular lawn cut is, and overall lawn care is what you need to effectively deal with coarse grass in the long run. No two lawns are the same, this is why our expert grass mowing and care service comes with a custom-tailored treatment plan.

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Takeaways

Reality check – it’s not that easy to get rid of coarse grass completely. It’s invasive and in most cases, it might go unnoticed for a long time before it gets out of control. So, bear in mind that:

  • Coarse grass remains pale green even after growing completely;
  • Invasive meadow grass doesn’t thrive in unfavourable conditions, such as acidic soil or excessive drought, however, it’s more vigorous in colder temperatures that fine grass;
  • If left unchecked, coarse grasses can leave you with a patchy and bare lawn;
  • Regular lawn maintenance is key to dealing with this type of weed effectively;

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Have you ever dealt with coarse grass infestation at home? Did you manage to successfully overcome it? Share your experience below so we can update our article on a regular basis.


  • Last update: June 18, 2019

Posted in All About the Lawn, Garden Advice

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