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poa annua

By Candice Fisher

September 25 2022

5 Minute(s) read

Winter grass is the kind of weed that, when left uncontrolled, can spread like wildfire. If you have an infestation of winter grass, you’ll definitely want to know how to treat it. So let’s take a look at what winter grass is and how you can control this nasty weed.



What does winter grass look like?

Winter grass (Poa annua) is a low-growing, thin-blade grass. It has soft, drooping leaves in tufts with triangular seed heads. Winter grass is widespread throughout Melbourne.

When does winter grass appear?

True to its name, winter grass is most common during the cooler months. It typically begins to germinate in May, then emerges around late May/early June and continues to spread throughout winter and early spring. This is more damaging in warm-season lawn varieties such as Sir Walter DNA certified Buffalo, Tiftuf BermudaEureka Premium Kikuyu VG, and Sir Grange, as they are dormant during winter and unable to crowd out the winter grass.


Does winter grass die in the summer?

In many cases, winter grass weeds will die off naturally as temperatures rise and conditions become less favourable for their growth. They may go dormant or wilt due to the heat and lack of water. However, some weeds have adapted mechanisms to survive the summer by producing seeds that can withstand harsh conditions. These seeds can lay dormant in the soil until the next favourable growing season.

It's worth noting that the ability of winter grass weeds to survive the summer can vary depending on factors such as the specific weed species, local climate, and available moisture. Implementing proper lawn care practices, such as regular mowing, adequate watering, and winter grass control measures, can help minimise the growth and spread of winter grass weeds during the summer months.


How do I get rid of winter grass?

The best way to prevent winter grass is to use a pre-emergent product such as Lawn Solutions’ Oxafert every three months. This will prevent the winter grass from germinating in the first place. However, if winter grass has already established itself in your lawn, we recommend using Amgrow’s ‘Winter Grass Killer’ to spot-spray the winter grass. This can be a stubborn weed, so it may take one or two seasons to treat winter grass and fully eradicate it from your garden.

Other common methods to remove winter grass 

While using these products is the safest and most effective way of removing winter grass from your lawn, there are other tips and tricks you can use to ensure your lawn stays healthy and vibrant throughout the colder seasons. 

  • Manual removal - for a small number of weeds, you can pull them out yourself. This method works well for isolated patches or individual weeds. 
  • Mowing - regularly mowing your lawn will prevent the winter grass from producing seed heads and spreading further. 
  • Improving lawn health - proper fertilisation and mowing will help you maintain a healthy lawn that will outcompete weeds. 
  • Overseeding with desirable grass - If your lawn has bare patches or thin areas, overseeding with desirable grass types can help fill in those areas and reduce the space available for winter grass weeds to establish.


The benefits of removing winter grass from your lawn 

Killing winter grass and eradicating winter grass seeds will highly benefit your lawn. Letting winter grass grow can significantly hurt the health of your lawn. However, knowing how to control winter grass and taking the appropriate measures to do so effectively, will: 

  • Enhance aesthetics: A weed-free lawn appears well-maintained and visually appealing. It provides a clean and uniform look that can increase the overall beauty of your outdoor space.
  • Improve lawn health: Weeds compete with desirable grass for water, nutrients, and sunlight. By eliminating winter grass weeds, you allow your lawn to receive the necessary resources for optimal growth and health. This can result in a thicker, greener, and more resilient lawn.
  • Increase property value: A well-maintained lawn, free from winter grass weeds, can enhance the curb appeal of your property. This can potentially increase the value of your home if you are looking to sell or rent it out.
  • Reduce risk of pests and diseases: Weeds can attract pests, such as insects or rodents, that may damage your lawn or spread to other plants. Additionally, some weeds can harbour diseases that can affect the health of your lawn. By eliminating winter grass seed, you minimise the risk of these issues.
  • Improve usability: A weed-free lawn provides a more pleasant environment for activities such as outdoor gatherings, picnics, or playing sports. Kill winter grass so you can go back to enjoying your lawn without worrying about discomfort or interference.
  • Easier lawn maintenance: Maintaining a lawn without winter grass weeds can simplify your lawn care routine. Without the need to constantly address weed issues, you can focus on regular maintenance tasks like mowing, watering, and fertilising, ensuring that your lawn remains healthy and attractive.

Ultimately, a winter grass weed-free lawn offers a range of benefits that contribute to an inviting and healthy outdoor space that you can enjoy and take pride in.

If you have any questions about weed control or getting rid of winter grass from your lawn, get in touch with our team at Lilydale Instant Lawn today. We’ll help you identify winter grass, provide valuable information on buying a pre-emergent herbicide, and work with you to keep your lawn healthy.