orchardgrass

Orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata). Photo: Kevin Mathias, U of MD

Updated: July 20, 2021

Life cycle

Perennial, non-native, cool-season grass.

Growth habit

Clump-forming; coarse texture up to 3 ft. tall; faster growing and lighter blue-green than turf.

Reproduction 

Spreads by seed.

Conditions that favor growth 

Seeds usually come into a lawn with contaminated grass seed or straw mulch.

Photos

Flowers

Orchardgrass flowers

Photo: John Cardina, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Base of plant

Base of plant 

Photo: Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Ligule

Orchardgrass has a long ligule

Photo: Ohio State Weed Lab, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Growth habit

Growth habit of orchardgrass

Photo: Ohio State Weed Lab , The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Management in lawns

Cultural lawn care practices

  • Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment. Some orchardgrass in a lawn is acceptable.

Mechanical control

  • Clumps can be hand dug. Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.

Chemical Treatment in Lawns

  • Herbicides should be used as a last resort because of the potential risks to people, animals, and the environment. Be aware of these lawn herbicide precautions first.
  • Herbicides for controlling perennial grass weeds are limited and usually available to lawn care companies and landscapers who are certified pesticide applicators.
  • An option is to use glyphosate (a non-selective herbicide) to spot treat the undesirable grass. Weeds must be actively growing when glyphosate is applied. To improve control, water well and allow foliage to grow a week or two before treating. Apply glyphosate at the rate recommended for your weeds and do not disturb the foliage or roots for a week after application. Water to encourage any re-growth and treat again if new growth appears. New grass can be seeded 7 days after treatment when you are sure the weedy grasses are dead.