Keeping Your Lawn Healthy in a Drought
It’s one of the most challenging weeds to control in the Bay Area, and requires lots of water to keep green, its invasive and spreads by seed in the summer months reemerging later in fall- winter months; it has been identified as one of the most difficult weeds to manage in a drought, “its name is annual blue grass “Poa annua”.
When In The Lawn The Nature of this weed requires lots of water:
it re-seeds itself prolifically in the fall during the cooler seasons! Annual bluegrass is outwardly attractive in the winter but just wait until spring! The thick mat of bluegrass chokes out the better turf underneath and requires rediculous amounts of water to keep green.
Every blade (of which there are thousands) seems to be covered with seeds. When hot weather arrives, the bluegrass dies out, leaving a large bare spot and a legacy of thousands of seed for next fall to cycle all over again.
“Cultural and Mechanical Controls are proven to help reduce it”
Cultural programs must be designed to change the environmental conditions favorable to poa growth.In the hotter months, deep watering at infrequent intervals to cause drought stress to the poa and raise the mowing height at 3-inches or more to shade the poa may help. In the fall, Aerate the lawn to reduce soil compaction that poa favors, it may also be helpful to rake in organic amendment after aeration to help improve water infiltration. Poa annua thrives in the shade-part shade and likes wet, soggy and compacted soil conditions, so water management is key.
“Chemical Controls can be effective, but timing is critical”
In addition to cultural control measures, commercial lawn care companies should consider a more aggressive approach by controlling with a pre-emergent weed chemical in the late summer-early fall along with a light lawn aeration. Timing of the chemical application is absolutely critical to get the most effective control.
There are special blended pre-emergent products on the local market that suppress poa annua, specifically formulated for our local Bay Area climate, resulting in improved control and is safe to use in apartment landscaping.
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