Gardening Q&A: How to Control Poa Annua?

Posted by: on November 12th, 2012 | 3 Comments
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A hand holding a sprig of poa annua


Reader Marie recently asked:

Q: What can I use to control poa in my bermuda sod?

A: While many people might first think of Power of Attorney when they see a reference to poa, Marie is asking about a species of turfgrass called Poa annua. You might know it better as annual bluegrass. While poa is technically a turfgrass, its aggressiveness in taking over the less grassy portions of some lawns leads many to treat it as an invasive weed. And since each plant can produce multiple generations of seed each season, controlling unwanted poa can make securing power of attorney look like a walk in the park.

Adding to Marie’s trouble is the fact that her poa, a cool-season grass, is growing in a warm-season lawn. That means the poa is just getting started in the fall when her bermudagrass is bedding down for the season. That makes the poa especially visible in the cooler months when the soil temperature dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

But as it happens, that seasonal difference is also the best place to start dealing with unwanted poa. The best time to exert control over the grass is in early fall and early spring, when the poa is starting to grow. A pre-emergent herbicide applied at either of these times will inhibit the growth of cool-season weeds, preventing them from producing the seeds that would otherwise establish next year’s crop.

That said, half the battle is simply helping your chosen turfgrass to thrive. While poa annua is quick to spread to just about any unoccupied patch of lawn space, it isn’t particularly competitive with existing plants. If you can coax your Bermuda grass into spreading and establishing itself continuously across your lawn, it should squeeze out the existing poa during the heat of summer, leaving it with fewer footholds during the following autumn.

For more helpful advice and answers, or to ask your own question, log into the Garden Club Forum. Your question might be featured in a future Gardening Q&A.

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Photo by Macleary Grass Man through Creative Commons licence


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Leave a Comment

  1. Poa frustrated says:

    Question was asked, how to get rid of Poa Grass?
    Of course reading the article no where is it written what is the best product to apply to resolve this issue.
    Difficult to open my front door lock with key.
    Spray WD-40 in key lock, place key inside, turn back and forth several times. needs to do better

  2. ine says:

    i have poa and dollar weeds in my lawn what can i do

    • R. L. Rhodes says:

      Dollarweed is a thirsty plant, so the presence of dollar weed in your lawn is usually an indication of excess water in your lawn. If you water your grass regularly, you may want to cut back on the amount that you’re giving it. Tests have shown that water reduction alone can cut the amount of dollarweed in lawns.