Lawn - Meadow Grass Problem

nheather

Distinguished Member
A few months ago I had my garden completed landscaped by a well regarded landscaper, one with plenty of great references.

It was a pretty expensive (around £10k) involving paved areas, lawn and flower beds.

For the most part I'm happy with the work, but not with the lawn.

It's not that big, around 50 square metres but it is now full of meadow grass.

Never had meadow grass problem before and nor have the neighbours - though I guess they might be having one soon.

I reckon he has tried to make a few extra £££s by laying the absolute cheapest turf he could find. Looking back at the quote it doesn't specify any particular type of turf so contractually I've not got a leg to stand on. But at the same time I pretty miffed - I wouldn't have thought any one (other than new house builders) used the stuff and on a £10k it's a bit cheeky.

From what I've read there is no chemical solution, because it just looks like 'grass' to the selective weed killers. Physical removal is not really viable as there is just too much of it.

What would you do?

Cheers,

Nigel
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
that stuff is a nightmare to get rid of. we had it at last house and i removed all topsoil, laid new grass and it still came back. i think its so deep underground you are almost stuck with it.

it can also seed very easily, like nettles. if you leave it a bit its a nightmare.

how much do you have? is it all like that or just in a few areas? you can rip it up, just make sure you get the full root.
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
Keep the grass really really short - meadow grass does not like it at all.

also stops it seeding elsewhere.

i guess you could always try and kill it off over winter and then seed yourself with nicer grass.
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
how much do you have? is it all like that or just in a few areas? you can rip it up, just make sure you get the full root.

The problem is that there aren't huge distinct clumps but small outcrops distributed over the whole lawn. Hard work to get them all and difficult to isolate and remove from the rest of the grass.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
The problem is that there aren't huge distinct clumps but small outcrops distributed over the whole lawn. Hard work to get them all and difficult to isolate and remove from the rest of the grass.

Cheers,

Nigel

did he get turf or just seed? im guessing turf. the thing is the seeds could have easily come in on the wind anyway. they can blow for miles in the right conditions. it also could even be coming from your neighbours. we had this as they didnt look after their lawn.

you can buy quite cheap weeding tool that gets them up quite easily, just make sure you get as much root as possible. or get some nasty weed killer (the stuff that kills everything, not just weeds) on them and then repair the grass later on?
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Turf.

It could of course come from the wind but I've never had problems before. Also the neighbours' gardens aren't afflicted so I would feel that nature is picking on me if it is airborne.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

liamt

Distinguished Member
thing is, meadow grass should be a bit deeper than usual turf. the roots go really deep. i guess its probably just unlucky there was some in the turf he bought.
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
Can you pop a photo up as there are several types of poa annua and I've a feeling you mean a different grass.
 
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nheather

Distinguished Member
Here is a photo

meadow grass small.jpg
 

NewfieDrool

Banned

Thanks, yes that's meadow grass by the looks of it. I take it its a lighter shade than the other grass types, colour wise and I'm going for poa annua which is the annual type.

First of the root structure is not the deepest. If you have the odd patch then use a sharp knife and cut the plant out removing the whole root.
Do not cut your lawn shorter than normal. Reason is you will stress the other grass out and increase your problem. 25mm is fine.
They can seed at 5mm which is lower than what you want to mow at.
To weaken the plant you need to brush the stems up before mowing and you need to get those seed heads cut before they drop.
Do not lower your height thinking it will do the job as it will not cure your problem, 25mm is plenty.
The problem is knowing why it's arrived but its one of the UKs largest pest grass.
Have you applied a fertiliser since the turf has been laid?
Avoid lime based fertilisers. The grass prefers a neutral or alkaline soil, off the top of my head I think it will not thrive in a pH lower than 4.

Your best bet if you have a large amount is good turf keeping practises.
Regular mowing to remove seed heads. Alter the direction you cut so you don't go the same way each time.
Check for missed seed heads after a cut.
Encourage growth from the prominent grasses so that you have a dense lawn.

You could scarify, a light scarify only and overseed with a desired grass mixture. A good dense lawn will inhibit meadow grass, need to pick a good time for this like spring or autumn so you don't stress your grass and the seed is damp but warm.

It is a big problem, lawns and sports industry tackle this yearly.

If this is poa annua then I would say its arrived after the turf was laid. You would have noticed it straight away if it was present.

Edit to say, am I right in saying you have not cut your grass for at least 10 days?
 
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NewfieDrool

Banned
Can I add I would not apply a herbicide as suggested.
Yes it can be done but first off you need a hood on the sprayer to avoid drift or else you have a large area contaminated.
Secondly you would need to match the grass type to blend in. Poorly matched grass will look as bad.
Thirdly people often try this walking forward. They spray and walk on the chemical and then walk on killing off more grass. I have a nice example I will post .
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
A classic example of what happens when you use Roundup to treat weeds on a lawn. Notice the nice foot marks.
 

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D

Deleted member 898655

Guest
I never normally add to Newfie's advice as he is pretty well spot on.

Where to start, i would not blame the landscaper unless he has used some pure rubbish, a fairly close up photo showing the other grasses in the turf would help. Meadow grass will be pretty well in any ones turf that you can buy in the country, the seeds lie dormant for years waiting for the right conditions. Even tho some of them will supply Meadow grass free turf, they spray it out, as for the seed its waiting to grow.

Meadow grass loves food ( fertilizer and lashings of it) the other thing it likes is regular watering yummy and it also loves compacted soils where other grasses struggle, your new turf will be rich in fertilizer and have a high thatch content also a great food source.

So what do you do?

As you did not have the problem before? this may return again because you managed the turf to not grow meadow grass its the wrong conditions for it so it will struggle, start supplying the food and regular watering and hey presto its having a field day. you will never beat it , but you can control it.

Could you grow a bog plant in the desert ? No not enough water for it to survive
 

nheather

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the advice.

Digging it out is going to be too difficult. It isn't in well defined clumps but spread everywhere.

I have been feeding the lawn and there has been plenty of rain since the lawn was laid.

So unsure what to do - should I just cut quite low and dispose of the cuttings?

Should I stop feeding?

Cheers,

Nigel
 
D

Deleted member 898655

Guest
Just Go back to the way you managed the turf before, and when the other grasses look like they need watering and feeding do so, Hand fork the lawn on occasions, and when you need to water, do it to a decent depth, this will keep the Meadow grass roots on the dry side which it hates it will seed because it wants to survive and reproduce, take away the conditions it loves and it will slowly fade away.

Meadow grass will produce seed at a cut height of 2mm, if you scarify heavy and hard what a seed bed for the new seeds, and then you water often and feed, perfect conditions for meadow grass to thrive.

You now know the enemy of a good lawn, look at the other grasses you want and monitor those only, assist when they need it.
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
You need to collect the cuttings and get rid of them. Don't mulch.

The idea is that the grass is cut correctly, regularly and that the plant is allowed to form a good covering.
You don't want to go crazy low, the grass plants in your turf is not the same as what you see on for example bowling greens or on golf tees. The plant will not tolerate a low cut and thrive.
Going to the sports industry it's about turf management and good practises.

When you showed that seed head I thought you may not have cut the grass for around 10 days.

Fertilisers are fairly complex.
The idea is you maintain sufficient levels of nutrients to insure growth.
Factors like turf density, ground cover and root growth should be considered rather than just colour.

Phosphorus levels also impact meadow grass growth.
How often though does a normal household check soil samples? Most of the time it's simply a guess at best.
Then the fertiliser is either applied incorrectly or no calculations are involved.

I would think with the topsoil and turf you would have a good foundation already.

Personally I feel fertilisers are pushed as a one step to cure all. I don't think that's right, I think you need to employ other methods to insure your turf is well looked after.

I have to relate back to my books as reference on this but I asked if you had applied a fertiliser and as has2mow said, meadow grass loves food.
The N requirement for poa annua is the same per month as perennial ryegrass, Browntop and some fescues so when you apply your fertiliser the poa annua loves it.
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
About 7 days since last cut. But it was a high cut.

Cut to 25mm, each cut run in different directions and if you feel the need check for seed heads.

I watched a guy the other week doing a job and wow he scalped the lawn. Van with kit all be it DIY stuff but I returned to my job and looked at the lawn he did. It's not a pretty sight.
Keep it at that level and have a think about other treatments later on at the end of the year like aeration, scarifying and seeding if needed. Just don't go way low in the hope you will beat off the pest grass as it will not work.

It will still look good, I have an example to prove it.
 

NewfieDrool

Banned
A weekly cut, treated when needed. The photos a few years old and the lawn I do every Friday needed some work to begin with this year but is looking good but the client likes it lower now but hey I do my best.

Edit, I'm afraid the client and myself had walked on it before the photo and I was complaining to her about a slight line which is visible on the right side where I had not correctly applied a fertiliser. She felt I was being hard on myself.
 

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NewfieDrool

Banned
Here's the other photo showing the length better.
 

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NewfieDrool

Banned
I have a Bosch Rotary - I don't think they cut shorter than 30mm.

Cheers,

Nigel

Cut the lawn on its lowest setting. You may find it clogs like my Bosch battery one so it pays to keep cleaning the deck out while you work.
Can't remember what mine goes to off my head but it's more than low enough.
Keep the blade nice and sharp and make sure the grass box holes are nice and clear so you get max air movement.


If the grass is a bit long do a cut then a few days later do another bit lower. If it looks yellow after a line higher the deck till its green. Over a few cuts it should retain its looks.
 

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