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How To Get Rid of Orchard Grass in My Lawn

Posted by Nate Bahler on May 20, 2022 11:43:33 AM
Nate Bahler

How To Get Rid of Orchard Grass in My Lawn 

Also known as pasture grass, orchard grass arrived in North America in the 1700's and was used on farms for hay and feed. If you live in an old farming community, there's a good chance that many lawns in your neighborhood have orchard grass. 

While it's great in the fields, it’s often unwanted at home.  For many homeowners it's an eye-sore or an unwanted weed - this perennial grass flourishes in Spring and grows in clumps that will stand taller than other desirable grass types. The best way to control orchard grass is to keep it out of your lawn. 

How does orchard grass get in my lawn? 

There are few different ways orchard grass can get into your lawn:  

  1. Top soil from another site.
  2. Hay laid for a seeding  job 
  3. Contaminated grass seed
  4. Birds, other animals, orchard grass seeds reproducing.
  5. Contaminated mowers - if you use a mowing company, odds are that they are not cleaning their blades between lawns and they could be transferring the orchard grass seeds. This is more likely to happen when the lawn is wet.
  6. If property is aerated.  While aeration is great, orchard seeds can be viable in lawn for 7-10 years and can get stirred up through aeration.  

The Importance of a High QualityGrass Seed:

A high quality grass seed requires less maintenance and will be more resistant to weeds, drought and disease.  We always say - the best defense against weeds is a healthy lawn. 

What’s a forage grass? 

Orchard grass is used as a forage grass. A forage grass is intended for animal grazing on a farm.  It’s great for this use because of its heavy Spring yield and its drought resistant qualities.

How to Control Orchard Grass?

Once orchard grass is introduced to a property, the seeds that don’t grow in the first year can stay viable in the soil for 7-10 years.  If is does go to seed, it will reproduce and lay more seeds in soil that could be viable for another 7-10 years.  For this reason it's very difficult to control. 

There are no control methods or products that can neutralize the seed in the soil.  Unfortunately, most of the control methods out that that will kill orchard grass are also very damaging to our desirable grasses such as blue grass, fescue and rye grass. 

It’s a very specified class of chemistry that can take care of fully mature orchard grass - it is not something that would be part of a typical lawn care maintenance program.  There are ways to do it but it will typically take 2-3 applications.  For this reason, it will often be an additional service that a lawn care company would have to perform.  

How to keep orchard grass out of lawn?  

  • Know where you are getting your top soil from
  • Avoid hay for seeding or know where it is coming from.  Be sure that there are no noxious weeds in your straw. 
  • Use high quality grass seed.  Contractor mixes have to say by law noxious weed seed and what percent. We want this to be zero bc we can’t be sure what’s in there.

Related Articles from Green Meadow Lawn Care:

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Since 2007, Green Meadow Lawn Care has provided homeowners throughout the greater Tolland, Connecticut area with premium fertilization programs, tick control, mosquito management, seeding & aeration and tree & shrub care. 

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