Orchardgrass in Lawn: How to Control This Unwanted Grass

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Written By: Mark Marino

a Massachusetts Core Applicator License holder and owner/operator of Lawn Phix,

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Common in the Midwest and in cool-season lawns, orchardgrass is a problematic weed that tends to grow in bunches. Known as pasture grass, it’s also a problematic one if it infiltrates your lawn turf. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at orchard grass, including how to identify it, how to kill it, and how to control it. Here’s a closer look:

Orchardgrass Identification

Notice a blue to lighter green type of grass growing in your lawn? Does it seem faster growing than your lawn grass? Is it taller grass?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you likely have orchardgrass growing in your lawn. Orchardgrass dactylis glomerata is a forage grass that spreads quickly and tends to favor partial shade areas of lawns. It tends to thrive during the cool season and is known as a bunch grass for its tendency to flourish in pockets during the spring and fall.

Known for its pointed grass blade, thicker stems and fluffy wheat like stem at its top, this pasture grass can be tough to manage after it begins to infiltrate your lawn. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what you need to know when it comes to eliminating unwanted grass, such as orchardgrass, and more.


How To Kill Orchard Grass

Because of the way it grows, it can be difficult to kill orchardgrass and prevent the weed seed from spreading throughout your lawn. There are a few tried and true ways to practice weed control when it comes to orchardgrass. Here’s a look:

Pull these weeds by hand

If you catch orchardgrass before the weeds have a chance to really infiltrate your Kentucky bluegrass (KBG) or tall fescue lawns (TTTF), then you may be able to pull them by hand. This is a simple process, as you just need to ensure you get the roots out, which may be a few inches underground. It may be helpful to use a garden shovel.

Use white vinegar

You can eradicate these weeds naturally by making a single trip to your grocery store. Pick up some white vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 cups of vinegar for every 1 square foot of orchardgrass you want to kill. This simple white vinegar solution should kill orchardgrass within a few days.

Using vinegar may also cause any nearby grass to die, but it often quickly grows back.

Use an all-purpose weed killer

If you’re not worried about killing turf, grass seed or existing grass, an all-purpose product like Killzall weed killer or Round Up will do the trick. Like we said, these products are also grass killer solutions.

How To Prevent and Control Orchardgrass

As is the case with any type of weed, it’s always better to control and prevent it from taking root in your lawns than it is to take action after it has taken root. And being that orchardgrass is a perennial tall growing type of weed, there are a few ways that you can take preventative action:

Control it with frequent mowing

Orchardgrass is one of the more difficult weeds to control, and Kansas State University researchers have suggested that rather than preventing it, more frequent mowing may be the best means of controlling it. This is largely because any tall fescue grass seed is likely to have orchardgrass and other crop seed as part of its mixture, meaning you’re likely to get it on newly established lawns.

Simply mowing more during the cool seasons when orchardgrass flourishes can help blend the weed into your turf.

Buy good grass seed

Another way is to be extra diligent when buying grass seed. Be sure to check the seed label for ingredients.

Orchardgrass FAQs

Is orchardgrass invasive?

Though it’s not identified as an invasive species, it can grow and spread very quickly in a clump-like nature throughout your lawn.

What will kill orchardgrass but not grass?

The best way to kill orchardgrass but not any of your surrounding grass is to use a simple white vinegar solution to spot treat problematic areas. Your grass may brown initially after treatment, but it should green back up rather quickly.

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Author's Note: this piece has been updated for accuracy since its first publication on
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Author: Mark Marino
My name is Mark Marino, and I am the founder, owner, and operator of Lawn Phix. With a passion for lawn care and turf nutrition for over a decade, I've dedicated countless hours to correcting soil and perfecting lawns. Today, my expertise, backed by formal courses at UMass Extension Pesticide Education, allows me to offer top-tier lawn care services and advice. I am a fully licensed and insured lawn care applicator in Massachusetts, specializing in comprehensive turf nutrition, weed control, and lawn pest control. My license number is AL-0053865. Contact me at [email protected] or +1 (508) 500-8402.

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