please help me get rid of poa annua!

lawntrouble(6 - Long Island, NY)May 29, 2007

Good morning,

Im new here, never posted before. I have been reading several posts regarding control/prevention of poa annua, and I am desperate! I have been in my home for 3 years now, and every spring I am seeing more and more areas of p.annua sprouting up! They are ridiculuous, and I am realizing more and more that they are going to be very difficult to treat. Can anyone help me?

I live in New York, on Long Island specifically. We had a mild winter, Im thinking that is part of the problem. I was just hoping someone could give me advice as to what to do from this point (end of May) on, for the rest of the year, to get rid of this stuff!

Thanks for your help.

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The heat of the summer will kill it off. There are also products (Image, etc) that say they kill poa, but I've never had much luck with them.

The main problem is that there are millions of little seeds laying there waiting for fall so they can germinate. Of course fall is also the time you will be overseeding your lawn with your grass seed of choice. Most people use pre-emergents to keep poa seeds from germinating. Over a few years of use your poa stand will be reduced greatly. However, pre-emergents also keeps your grass seed from germinating. There's a fine line on using them. Some may say skip a year or two of overseeding to get poa under control. Some say there's a timing method of seeding , waiting for it to germinate and then applying pre-emergent hoping the poa seed hasn't germinated as well.

Anyway, welcome to the battle. Luckily I have Bermuda and don't have to overseed. I did learn an inportant thing this past winter though. We had a mild winter as well. I sprayed Round-up on the poa that did grow, but apparently my Bermuda never went fully dormant. I now have some brown spots in my Bermuda, but they are beginning to fill in now.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:51PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

Since you have read several threads, you probably learned that there is no easy solution. If you an otherwise healthy lawn, you can slowly regain control by using preemergents in fall and early spring when this weed germinates. Also, avoid frequent watering that keeps the top layer of soil moist as this encourages more weeds to grow from seed. Remember though, there is no silver bullet and you will likely be at this for quite a while.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 1:47PM
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lawntrouble(6 - Long Island, NY)

thanks to you both for replying - I appreciate your input.
Question for anyone out there who might have an answer: people keep telling me "dont over-water" as this will encourage the poa growth - but what does that mean? how often should I water? my front yard is mostly in the sun a large part of the day, but there are some areas that remain shaded for many hours, and not coincidentally this seems to be where the poa likes to grow - so what would you recommend regarding the frequency/amount of watering? I have an irrigation system and just kind of need to know how long to set each zone for.

once again, many thanks for your help

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 9:05PM
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I know that can be confusing when not explained. You want to water deeply and infrequently, which means you are to provide 1 inch of water all at once but only once a week. You'll have to test your sprinkler to see how long it takes by placing tuna cans or similar in various places and turn the sprinklers on. However long it takes for the cans to fill to only 1 inch is how long you want to run the sprinkler. So, if it takes 20 minutes to get an inch in the cans, water for 20 minutes. Watering often is what weed seeds like, so you do it on an infrequent basis.

The best idea is to wait until the grass tells you it needs water. It will wilt or become limp, turn a dark grayish color, or won't rise back erect after stepping on it. These are signs of drought stress and lets you know it's time to irrigate and may occur less often than just once a week, like maybe 8 days or 10 or so. If you're not comfortable with reading the signs, just once a week is safe enough.

Search the forum for the various suggested methods of Poa annua control. The search box is at the bottom of the forum page just above the message box. Type in "poa" and click the search buttom.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:52PM
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lawntrouble(6 - Long Island, NY)

thanks for the information, best.

another question - since I already have some poa in the lawn, and the seed-tips seem to grow out every few days or so after I mow, my question is, (1) how often should I be mowing the lawn (I have a ride-on mower and am planning on cutting it every 5-6 days or so) and (2) at what height should I set the mower deck (1-6)?


    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:07AM
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Your mowing schedule is fine. The main thing is not to cut off more than one third the height. If you miss a week and it grows higher than normal, cut off one third of that height and then cut down to your normal height three or four days later. That'll get you back down gradually rather than mowing too much off at once. Your normal height should be at least 3 inches.

The methods for irrigating and mowing apply all the time, and not just when you have Poa.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 10:58AM
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lawntrouble(6 - Long Island, NY)

thanks best.
here is one other thing I was wondering - since the summer heat will likely kill off some/most of the poa, can I over-seed those areas now, in the hopes that it will grow in the areas where the dead poa is/was? I know its not optimal seeding time, but its also not blistering hot where I am yet either, and I want to try and get some new seed down now since I plan on putting down pre-em in the fall and next spring and so wont have a chance to over-seed then. Any thoughts? thanks.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 12:29PM
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Billl(z7 nc)

If you used a crabgrass preventer in spring, you won't be able to seed now. If you didn't, you aren't going to hurt anything by putting out seed, but you probably won't get too much new grass without doing some prep work and watering.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 1:29PM
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I'm very annoyed by the fact that when the heat of the summer arrives, I will have bare/brown spots left by the POA annua while at the same time, I will be unable to seed because of the heat. Soooo... I'm going to conduct an "experiment" (I probably subconsciously recall this experiment from 3rd grade science class). I started some pans of sod (the disposable aluminum pans used for cooking); poked some drainage holes in them and filled them with soil/organic material and spread seed. I now have one pan that is completely filled in with thick grass that I am using on other areas in need of some patching where seed did not initially take (I cut to size and fill in). Thus far, there is one or two small weeds in the pan of turf, but no POA (give it time, I'm sure).

I will time the others so they are ready for laying just about the time the POA dies off.

Would it be easier to just buy sod when I need it? Probably, but there's just something about growing your own and having it on hand (and matching the existing turf) when you need it during the POA war. And, if it works (probably a big "if"), I won't be so miffed about not being able to overseed in the fall when the pre-emergent goes down. Obviously, if your yard is large with a sizable infestation of POA, going this route would be an exercise in futility. But, if you will only be left with a few bare spots come summer, it might be worth a try.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:19PM
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