How can I get rid of torpedo grass?

sunnyfl363June 15, 2009

I have St. Augustine grass in my back yard but have noticed larger patches of what I thought was crab grass. I called my lawn care service to come check out and was told that what I have growing is "torpedo grass". They claim they cannot treat for this and that my only recourse is to cut out the patches and resod. I'm sceptical as I have never heard of this grass/weed and thought crabgrass was my main enemy for my St. Augustine grass. Can someone help explain why I have this problem and what I could do other than cutting out holes in my yard. Thanks!

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I have been is the sod biz for close to 30 years in Tx and never heard or Torpedo Grass.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 12:50PM
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I had never heard of it, but googled it and it sounds like it's really tough to get rid of. You may need to do what they say.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:03PM
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To answer texas weed's question: according to the University of Florida website, torpedo grass is in the family Poaceae?, including grasses such as cogongrass and bermudagrass. Hope that helps?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Please help me. Torpedo grass has run rampid in my garden. When I say garden I mean the flower beds the run the length of the front, back, and sides of my house. I've been pulling them up but the roots are so embedded that I can't even get all of them up without digging. I tryed using the round-up that is supposed to kill EVERYTHING down to the roots GUARANTEED but it isn't working either. They are brownish yellow now on top but still alive and thriving under the mulch. Should I just rip everything out? Help!!!!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2010 at 8:35PM
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earthworm(6 Pennsylvania)

The trouble is, I do not know what Torpedo grass is.. That is the first thing to know, the other trouble is three things , one - communications ...and two - knowledge and three - advertisments.
This grass is probably is known by many names, which vary state by state.
Do not believe advertisements, never believe them.
We need "truth in advertising" laws.
I would try a poison in one area and complete digging in another, then step back and see what works.
Also, contact your state agricultural bureau and see that they say.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:12PM
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Yes, there is Torpeto grass. I have noticed on several lawns in FL. My lawn care told me it would have to be dug out and re-soded. There are a few chemicals out there but you must be lic. to use, the lawn company I have do not use it. If you don't get all the root out it will keep growing. Cannot be pulled up. I have had my service for 3 years and had to point it out to them. I would make every effort to hold them accountable.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2010 at 8:31AM
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I had torpedo grass and totally tilled my yard 3 times and put down a truck load of dirt and resodded the whole thing. Now it is back. I have it coming in on 2 sides from neighbor's yards. I'm about to give up. Now I'm trying to find out from anyone if I can use vantage on St. Aug. grass but haven't had a response. I spent about $1500 redoing my yard (big yard) and now I am totally discouraged.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 8:39AM
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Sorry, but as far as I can tell, Vantage herbicide is only labeled for use on Centipede and fine fescue.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 9:21AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

From looking around at pictures or torpedo brass and a few websites, I believe torpedo grass is another common name for the grass known as coastal bermuda. Researchers are always looking for improved varieties of bermuda. Coastal was one of those experiments. They found it made a relatively good forage and released it back in the 40s for farmers. It is grown throughout the south as cattle feed. Unfortunately it spreads easily and really loves the flooding seen along rivers, swamps, and streams.

For those of you who have it, does it seem to have runners on top of the soil (stolons)? How about runners under the soil (rhizomes)?

Can someone who has this grass please pull some out of the ground, clean it off, lay out a strand with several nodes and preferably a seed head, and take a picture with a dime or quarter in the photo for reference.

If it is bermuda, it can be controlled with Round-Up. You cannot spray bermuda one time and hope it will die. It is a process. Please post pictures and we can figure this out.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 6:22PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

More questions: Do you live near a swamp or is your area of torpedo grass in continual moisture? Do you water frequently?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 6:41PM
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mickapoo(z9 FL)

I have been dealing with torpedo grass in my floratam St Augustine lawn for years now. I have it not only through my St Augustine lawn but in the flower beds. When I first found it I tried digging up my entire flower bed to get rid of all the roots, but because it's in the lawn, it just comes back in under the concrete landscape curbing. The only thing that I have known to kill it, would be Round Up concentrate, used at triple strength. But the roots are so large and extensive, it doesn't seem to reach all of it and it continues to come back. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:20PM
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mickapoo(z9 FL)

Here is a photo:

Additional info about it:

From the article:
"Once established, torpedo grass is difficult to eradicate". (From personal experience, that is an understatement)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 8:25PM
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Torpedo grass took over my entire vegetable garden and I had to just remove all the beds and let it become my lawn. It is impossible to get rid of. I have just decided where to make my stand (the shrub/perennial border) and spend my efforts keeping it under control there. It is like a spreading bamboo and moves by rhizome that travel as deep a 2 feet or more.
The up side is, it is tolerant to heat, cold, pests, pets and traffic. I promoted some duckweed mixed in and it looks pretty but nothing I would lay on. So I mow it, edge it and fight it at the shrub borders. Sometimes lawn is in the eye of the beholder.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 7:05AM
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Mid-Florida. After two lawn services allowed my back yard to become rubble I re-started doing it myself. I had Floratam St.Augustine. Used RoundUp according to the instructions to kill all vegetation, then in April plugged the area with Empire Zoysia -- 12 inches apart. The Zoysia has covered the area very well although it will be few months before the bumps (between the plugs) totally fill in. There is still Bermuda growing in the yard but it appears to be going away, with the Zoysia overtaking it.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 8:12AM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Fruitjarfla wrote:
> In April plugged the area with Empire Zoysia -- 12 inches apart.

That zoysia is really sweet grass, isn't it? And the best thing is you can neglect it, and it still loves ya and looks great for ya.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 2:20PM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

I missed this when it came back around. Here is mickapoo's image...

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 10:35PM
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Texas_Tifway(8 East Texas)

Give "Drive XRL8" a look, I'm not sure if you have to have a license but it seems to kill most types of weeds including torpedo grass. I think the price a little high (around $100) for a half gallon of concentrate. My 2 cents

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 2:12PM
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I have a problem with Torpedograss in my plant bed as well and I am in the process of learning about Fusilade II. The picture in a previous post is exactly what it is. The depth of its roots is what makes it so hard to irradicate and trying to dig it out is futile. This stuff has laughed at my Roundup applications and I have received many a blistered hand from digging to what I thought was the bottom of this grassy pest.. Here is my next and last attempt to get rid of this weed..

Here is a link that might be useful: Fusilade II

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:43PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Ack! $95 for a quart?!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 2:42PM
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Short Answer: Quinclorac, found in retail âÂÂlawn weed killer plus crabgrass controlâ products and numerous professional products such as Quincept or Drive.

Long Answer - :âÂÂCut it out and resodâÂÂ??? Absurd. Quinclorac will kill this stuff, and leave other grasses sick but still alive, but the devils in the details, the application strength and timing must be right ��" too much heat or rainfall and it can hurt your grass. . This also works with unwanted tall fescue infections. IâÂÂm not an expert on southern grasses but I would say a light misted but full strength mix and spot treat only the torpedo grass with a small sprayer ��" twice spaced 1-2 weeks apart until it dies. Then let your grass fill back in. You could even do this with light roundup. Cut around infected/treated areas 3â deep if possible to severe roots leading to uninfected grass, but donâÂÂt dig it up!. Patch with seed later if needed. Wait 2 months to reseed, quinclorac has some residual pre-emergent effect. If you want professional help call a few companies and ask if they are skilled using quinclorac to control torpedo grass. Any hesitation and move on down the list.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 2:25AM
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One writer said "Torpedograss is not difficult to eradicate: It is nearly impossible to eradicate."

Botanical name is most often cited as Panicum repens, but I've also seen Panicum gouinii. Several control options discussed at

It's not hard to find lots of information (all discouraging) about this plant on the Web.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 4:51PM
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I have SA but it is becoming more infected with torpedo grass. The only way to TRY and kill torpedo grass is a heavy concentration (10%) after mixing. I chase the torpedo grass root and whenever I see a stem I use a small hand sprayer like a cleaning container to avoid over staying as much as possible. It does leave dead spots in the SA but they will grow back. However, once you get it in my experience with my lawn torpedo grass it is becoming more noticeable. I have decide to replace the worst area (side of house) with zoysia grass. Reason to do so is when torpedo grass comes through the zoysia grass you can use Drive XLR8 and it does not hurt the zoysia grass but kills the torpedo that you see. Over time this may weaken the root of the torpedo grass and it may or may not continue to produce stems. My plan is to do this early spring. Spray Roundup on the side of the house wait 2-3 wks spray again wait 2-3 weeks spray again. The re-soding guy will cut out the dead vegetation and re-sod. I have talked with the University of Fl and a sod grower and this seems to be the best way to go for me.

I'd like to hear from others on their experience.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 12:14AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

We have a dryland weed called bind weed which is invasive and hard to treat. One way that works with that is to pull some away from whatever it is wrapped around and stick it into a container of RoundUp. Since the RoundUp is taken into the plant and kills the roots, the entire plant and all it's runners die. Don't know if that would work for torpedo grass, but I would certainly try it. You'd have to dig up some all the way to the runner and roots to to that. I used a bud vase with some Round Up in the bottom. I propped up the vase and let it sit for a few weeks. Eventually I could see dead bind weed up to 30 feet away. It was amazing and nothing but the bind weed died.

Since torpedo grass is a swamp grass, I wonder what happens if you don't water it? Of course in FL you don't always have that option, but it doesn't rain every single week.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 1:46AM
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I have it on my lakefront, where the lake has receded during the last 7-or-so years during the drought(s). The most successful approach has been to first dig it out and get as much of the root system as possible. Them follow up with aggressive scouting for new emergence and hit it with Rodeo (Roundup in a form approved for aquatic application). It can eventually be controlled, but it needs constant monitoring, and native plants will help crowd it out. I would guess it's much harder to control in turfgrass.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 8:10AM
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The rhizome root can grow down to 2 ft below the surface. At the beginning I tried pulling some stems but they break off and you get no root. I do not live near water. This began about 3 yrs ago, Before then never had any torpedo grass. It does produce a few seeds. Also if fill dirt is brought in for a new home and if it has any part of the root from the torpedo grass it will multiply the shoots. I do mix my roundup with nitrogen so the torpedo grass will take the roundup further into the root.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:26AM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

The roots/rhizomes of torpedo grass grow much too deep to effectively control by pulling. The most effective herbicides for killing torpedo grass are really hard/fatal when used on St. Augustine grass.

I bought a high quality Bermuda seed and have started reseeding sections of my lawn with it. The selective herbcides quinclorac, such as Drive (this is a commercial product) or Image Crabgrass Killer (homeowner version), will do a good job of actually killing the torpedograss with multiple applications. Bermuda and zoysia can survive the application of these chemicals.

In my vegetable and ornamental beds I use a homemade "hooded applicator" out of a plastic bleach jug. I cut the bottom of the jug out, and tape the nozzle of my pump-up sprayer into the top of the jug. I set the open bottom over the plant to be killed (make sure jug is touching the soil) and give a quick blast of high-strength Roundup onto the torpedo grass. This prevents any "overspray" from damaging my garden plants.

This method seems to kill only a short length of the rhizome. But, I stay right on every blade that pokes it's nose out of the ground. If it never makes it to sunlight, it can't grow very well!

A previous poster suggested having a part of the torpedo grass soaking in Roundup to facilitate killing a longer section of the weed. I might try using a small piece of sponge soaked in Roundup sitting in a foam plate and using a small weight to hold the leaf/blades down onto the wet sponge. Let it drink-up as much Roundup as it possibly can. May sound sorta labor intensive in the beginning but, once I get caught-up the control of this skull-cramping weed may be much easier?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 1:47AM
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