If you live in the northern part of the US, this is the time of year when your grasses begin to turn green, spring bulbs begin to pop-up, early spring flowers are blooming and everyone is anxious for the warmer weather to return in earnest. You look across your lawn and are dismayed when you see large patches of brown grass in your otherwise green lawn. What’s going on?
If your lawn looks somewhat like the lawn in the picture below, then you have a grassy weed known as Nimblewill. This grassy weed is native to areas where warm-season grasses survive, but has adapted to grow in the northern parts of the US as well. In fact, this grass can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. You can find it growing in full sun or deep shade, on highly fertile soils or on compacted sites. It will thrive in both wet areas or during a drought.
Nimblewill resembles Bermuda grass or bent grass in growth and appearance, but in the northern areas, it acts more like zoysia grass in that it does not turn green until the weather is consistently warm, usually into May or June and then begin to go dormant in September.
The fact that it can form large patches of grass in a lawn that is green for only a short time in the northern parts of the US make it a hated grass for many homeowners, similar to those who may have planted zoysia grass in their lawns and are having a hard time attempting to control it.
Nimblewill spreads by seeds and by short above ground roots called stolons. The seed heads will form from mid-summer until it goes dormant.
The stolons are short, wiry and very tough. There are small swellings on the stolons called nodes and it is from these sites that roots and new shoots will grow as it spreads out. Despite the extensive rooting, Nimblewill can easily be pulled from the ground.
Some people think that they can remove it by raking it up, but it will soon grow back from any little piece of stolon that is left behind.
Controlling Nimblewill can be accomplished in one of two ways. Once the grass has totally exited dormancy, it can be sprayed with a non-selective weed control containing the active ingredient, glyphosate. Two or three applications may be required to totally control it. Then the area will have to be reseeded once it has died off.
The other method is to use a specialized weed control product called Tenacity. This product can be used on Nimblewill or bentgrass and will control those plants in cool-season turfgrasses without damaging the desired grass. Since this is a specialized product, it is usually better to have a professional lawn care company apply the product. Once the grass has been controlled, the site needs reseeding as well.
Nimblewill will blend in with your existing lawn when it is fully active, but will be unsightly for the better part of a year while it is dormant. Your lawn will look much nicer without this plant growing out of place.
Do you have issues Nimblewill? Contact your local Spring-Green office for control options to remove Nimblewill from your lawn.