Question of the Week – Number Two: October 10, 2019

K.R. bluestem growing and blooming its heads off in spite of the recent hot, dry weather. It’s taking over Texas lawns in many parts of the state.

“What is this new type of weedy grass? I don’t recall seeing it before.”

This is K.R. bluestem (As in “King Ranch”). We actually featured it here several weeks ago, but it’s been the subject of so many questions I felt like I needed to address it once more.

It’s a perennial grass that was introduced almost 100 years ago as a pasture grass. Even to this day you’ll find as many matches about growing it that way when you search it online as you will about how to eliminate it from lawns.

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K.R. bluestem shows up primarily in bermuda turf (or where there’s no turf at all). It’s usually in poorly maintained parts of our lawns such as near the curb or out behind the back fence.

And therein lies the solution as best we have it. Since there is no herbicide that will kill K.R. bluestem without killing your desirable lawngrass, your best course of action is to ramp up the care you give your turf. Fertilize regularly. Mow low (at the recommended height for the type of grass that you’re growing) and frequently so the K.R. bluestem won’t be able to form its seedheads. Water regularly to keep your lawn vigorous, and when you have an area that’s completely overrun with it, spray that space with a glyphosate and start over again.

Ask your city to mow its vacant areas and parks regularly in the fall when K.R. bluestem is flowering and going to seed. I notice a lot of Texas towns slow down on their maintenance once we turn toward the fall, and that’s the worst thing we could be doing.

Good luck with this pest. As I said once before: It’s not much fun to have it around.

Posted by Neil Sperry
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