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Annual bluegrass control in Atlanta lawns


Is your Atlanta lawn infested with annual bluegrass?  Do you have a grass growing in your lawn that two days after mowing is already putting up white seedheads? Is it a lighter green color that the rest of your lawn? You probably have annual bluegrass or poa annua.  In some parts of the country poa annua is used for certain turfgrass applications.  Here in the Atlanta area, it is just a weed.  An annoying weed.  A tricky to control weed.

Poa annua will typically become visible in your lawn between mid-Winter to early Spring time frame, however the seeds germinated back in late Summer, early Fall.  Therefore, it is a tricky to control weed.  Furthermore, once it shows up, it is hard to get rid of.  To compound even further, it puts up seed heads almost immediately after being mowed. Hundreds of thousands of seeds being spread across your lawn.

The good news is that once overnight ambient temperatures rise, it will die off (being and annual). However, at that point the damage is done.  There are gaps in your lawn where it was growing, and all those seeds are now laying there getting ready to do it again, maybe worse, next year.

So what are we to do?  Below are a few action items to follow:

  • Apply pre-emergent herbicide in August.  This can be tricky if you have a Fescue lawn, as August September is when you want to be overseeding.
  • A professional lawn care company may be better able to balance the timing of pre-emergent effectiveness curve, poa annua germination, and Fescue grass overseeding.
  • Keep your lawn generally thick and healthy. (browse my other articles for specifics)
  • Avoid overwatering, as the runoff will spread the seed load.
  • Mow you lawn weekly.  I have not found bagging poa annua clippings to help. The key is to keep it.
  • Keep a keen eye out beginning around Christmas, and apply a specific herbicide, listed for poa annua, as soon as possible.  The longer the plants are established, the harder they'll become to spray out.
  • Be patient. Any plants that do grow will die when it heats up. Be sure to fill in the gaps they leave in your lawn.

Abdurrahim is the lead designer at metro-Atlanta based, award-winning Proudland Landscape, LLC.
You can contact him with question via email at
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