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Paspalum weeds, with their relentless growth and ability to compete with your desired grass, can be a frustrating challenge for any lawn enthusiast. But fear not, the team at Lilydale Instant Lawn are here to guide you through effective methods and strategies to reclaim your lawn's lush green beauty.
In this blog, we will explore various approaches to removing paspalum weeds, from manual techniques to targeted herbicide applications, and provide expert tips to ensure long-term success. So, say goodbye to those invasive intruders and get ready to restore your lawn to its pristine state.
What is paspalum?
Paspalum (Paspalum dilatatum) is a perennial grass weed found throughout the Victorian region. It has broad leaves with a purple tinge at the base stemming from a central crown. It produces seed heads at the end of long, upright flowering stems.
Paspalum grows primarily throughout the warmer months, from late spring to early autumn. In sparse and poor-performing lawns, it starts as clumps and then spreads throughout via sticky seeds that easily adhere to pets, shoes, and other objects, then fall off in a new location.
Why does paspalum grow?
Paspalum weeds, such as species like Dallisgrass or Bahia grass, are persistent and tenacious plants that thrive due to several factors. Their ability to grow vigorously can be attributed to their adaptability to various environments, including different soil types, moisture levels, and climatic conditions. Paspalum weeds have evolved traits that give them a competitive edge over desirable plants, such as aggressive growth patterns, extensive underground rhizomes or above-ground stolons for rapid spread, and prolific seed production. These characteristics enable paspalum weeds to outcompete other plants for essential resources like sunlight, water, and nutrients, leading to their dominance in certain areas.
Additionally, their ability to tolerate adverse conditions, lack of natural predators, and ease of seed dispersal further contribute to their growth and persistence. It’s often difficult to control paspalum, as it clings beneath lawn mower blades, spreading its seeds as regular lawn mowing takes place.
How will paspalum grass weeds impact my garden?
Paspalum grass weeds can have several impacts on your garden, depending on the specific species and the severity of the infestation. Here are some potential effects of paspalum grass weeds:
- Competition for resources - paspalum weeds are vigorous growers and can compete with desirable plants in your garden for essential resources like water, nutrients, and sunlight. This competition can result in stunted growth and reduced vigour of your garden plants.
- Smothering and crowding - paspalum grass weeds tend to spread rapidly and form dense mats or clumps. These mats can smother and crowd out your desired garden plants, inhibiting their growth and potentially leading to their decline or death.
- Aesthetics - paspalum grass weeds often have a different appearance and growth habit compared to the surrounding plants in your garden. This can be visually unappealing and disrupt the overall aesthetic value of your garden beds.
- Difficulty in weed control - some paspalum grass species can be challenging to control or eradicate once they have become established in your garden. They may have deep root systems or produce prolific amounts of seeds, making them resilient and persistent.
- Habitat for pests - paspalum grass weeds can create favourable habitats for insects and rodents. These pests may further damage your garden plants or become a nuisance in your outdoor space.
How can I remove paspalum from my lawn?
Like most common weeds, paspalum is best removed by hand. Make sure you dig underneath the crown below soil level to remove the entire root system of the plant. If you act quickly, you should be able to eradicate it from your lawn fairly easily this way.
Additionally, regularly mowing your lawn at the appropriate height can help weaken and kill paspalum growth. Aim to maintain your lawn at the recommended mowing height for your grass species, as taller grass shades out the paspalum and reduces its vigour.
For Buffalo lawns and Kikuyu lawns, we recommend using a sharp knife to remove the paspalum from the plant’s base, cutting underneath the soil and into the roots. This is because selective pesticides alone may not target the weed roots for these particular grass types.
What if the paspalum is already out of control?
If the paspalum has already spread throughout your lawn, you may need to apply a selective herbicide. Paspalum, Nutgrass and Clover Weed Killer is formulated especially for the control of paspalum and can be easily mixed in a pressure sprayer. The addition of a surfactant or wetting agent will help it to adhere better to the paspalum leaf. For best results, spray the paspalum when it is actively growing during the warmer months. Repeated applications may be required for complete eradication.
It is always easier to prevent and control weeds from the outset rather than trying to remove them once they get out of hand. By choosing a suitable lawn species for your area, keeping it healthy and well-maintained, and mowing it regularly to the right height for your chosen variety, you’ll have a leg-up on any potential weed invasions.