anyone else have stilt grass in the lawn?

birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)March 25, 2005

I have these huge bare patches of earth where the stilt grass grows - it doesn't start until June.

I've tried pulling, seeding with lawn grass both spring and fall - the stilt grass wins. I'm starting to think it is allopathic.

Has anyone tried pre-germination weedkiller on it? I am thinking of starting grass as early as I can, and then putting the pregermination stuff on it in late May.

If anyone has beaten this stuff please let me know.

It also of course grows in the woods, and in the blueberry patch, and wherever it can - not just the lawn.


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njtea(NJ Z6)

Oh, Lisa - it sounds as if you're as frustrated by this pernicious stuff as I am.

I was going to try a pre-emergent this year but it has to be put on before May to work. (I think the stilt grass germinates before June.) It would be my advice and I have no reason to state this other than "gut" feeling that you do the pre-emergent treatment and wait until late summer to put down grass seed.

Last fall I did quite a bit of "research" on pre-emergents for stilt grass. Here's one comment I found:

"Stiltgrass: Last August I cut the stilt grass with a string trimmer while in flower to prevent its seeding. I also used Roundup, but the cutting had the same effect and I would recommend that over the herbicide. This spring I applied pre-emergent herbicides to the areas that were cut back, as well as to areas not cut back last August. The areas that were cut back had 90% control of this year's emergence. Areas not cut back last August had varying % control from 40% to 60%, occasionally better."

I, too have used Roundup on it and I try to cut it just before it goes to seed. Using this technique, I've managed to control a good bit of it on the roadside embankment in front of my property. But it's everywhere else - even in places it shouldn't be such as a very dry, sunny field.

I believe that the last two very wet years we have had have helped it to spread.

This year I am hoping to spread Preen on the lawn and in my meadow. However, I don't really want to use the Preen with fertilizer on my lawn and allegedly you are not supposed to use the Preen without fertilizer on lawns. I can't find out why. If I could afford it, I'd buy enough to do the wooded swamp that's on my property and just loaded with stilt grass.

Stilt grass is NOT on Preen's list of controlled weeds and when I wrote to Preen I got a response saying that they had never tested it on stilt grass.

Don't know if this rambling has helped you or not, but I know I'm glad to learn there's someone else out there as frustrated by this stuff as I am.

In many areas, stilt grass is suffocating the forest floor - like right down the road from me. It's so thick no other seeds can germinate (of course, if native seeds could germinate the deer would get them). And the deer won't eat the stilt grass and all it does is spread like wildfire. The kudzu of the north as far as I'm concerned.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 8:54AM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I called the Somerset extension and they sent me a Conneticutt study showing that it germinated in June. I'm guessing two weeks earlier here? I'm pretty sure mine does not germinate until late May at least - I was planting grass seed in the bare patches then but the stilt grass won out.

Is Preen that stuff that kills crabgrass but is compatible with lawn grass seed? Crab grass germinates much earlier than the stilt grass and is not a big problem for me - I would not like to use the pre-emergent too early and have it wear off before the stilt grass.

My big lawn success was getting rid of a 30 by 30 foot patch of mostly mouse ear hawkweed - I cannot believe it is sold as a ground cover. I tilled, raked out the weeds and planted Rebel Fescue which is tough and dense although kind of coarse and ugly in the winter. But stilt grass is appearing even there - about the only weed to penetrate.

Have you ever seen those circles of fine fescue (I think it's fine fescue) in the midst of a bad weedy patchy lawn? and then there is this defined circle 2-4 feet across of very fine thick grass - some victorious clone? That's what I would love to plant. I wonder if the seed companies investigate that.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 10:05AM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Lisa, here's a link.

I lived in CA in the early 90's. Out there ground ivy was sold by the flat as a ground cover - and back then they were charing about $15/flat!

Here is a link that might be useful: Preen and seeding

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:29PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I also found a Cornell website on stilt grass control that said pre-emergents were helpful. It also said stilt grass preferred high nitrogen sites, another argument for fertilizing in the fall. Like you, NJTea, I find it very adaptable - hot and sunny and dry, or shady damp woods - it has selected itself.

The Scotts site says for our area apply crabgrass control before June -seems crabgrass and stilt grass germinate about the same time.

I am going to apply the crabgrass control all over the good lawn when the forsythia bloom, and rent a seeder for the grass seed (not just a spreader) and use the Preen on the stiltgrass patches.

I will rake bare some of the patches, and sow through the others. The stilt grass thatch may act as a protective layer like straw, or it may be allopathic. I will take notes this time. And of the exact date of stiltgrass germination.

I am already going after the garlic mustard - and the Jap. honeysuckle - I hate invasives.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 5:03PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Lisa, last night I recalled something else that I read about stiltgrass: The seeds remain viable for up to 7 years! I would guess that 4 years might be more like it, but it's going to be an on-going struggle.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 7:22AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Is stilt grass the stuff that blended in with my lawn just fine in the summer, but then turned all dead and crispy over the winter? It looks kind of feathery now and the patches raked out easily.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 2:39PM
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wardw(z6 NJ)

I've had it for years, although never in my uncared for lawn. It pulls fairly easily, but has a way of getting under other plants, anywhere that is difficult to reach. To me it seems much more of a problem in the wild, especially in wooded swamps, where it crowds out its neighbors.
Oh yes, and my wife thinks it is pretty. Last summer she was concerned that I would completely eliminate it from our yard. I told her not to worry, that short of the sun exploding it would always be with us. The next thing I knew there was a vase of freshly picked stems on the back of the toilet. See, it could be worse, it could be growing in your bathroom.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 4:54PM
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njtea(NJ Z6)

Here's a picture of stilt grass from the Rutgers weed website (at least I hope you can link to it).

Here is a link that might be useful: Stilt or Mary's grass

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 4:58PM
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Thanks for the link. I was wondering what stilt grass was. Now I will have to keep my eyes open for it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2005 at 8:12AM
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matts(z7 md)

I have a lots of woodlands that surrounds my yard. For many years I had noticed that in late summer, parts of my yard was covered with a grass that was thick and walking on it was like walking on foam rubber. In the winter these areas would be plain dirt. Two years ago I took a sample to to ask a biologist about it, and she said it was Asian Stiltgrass.

There's actually two types of stilt grass, Asian, which is rather tall, about 2 to 3 feet at maturity, and Vietnamese, which is much shorter about 1 foot tall at maturity.

These plants are also known as Asian Packing Grass, and were used to pack fragile items for export from Asia, which is how it got to the United States. They are highly adaptable to woodland edges, and generally disturbed areas. I find in growing in places where the natural forest floor has been disturbed by some action, but it's generally not in areas that have been left alone.

My lawn was being taken over with the stuff. I have some pictures which I'll post later today.

In Aug 2003, I used roundup to kill my lawn, and reseeded about 3 weeks later. I used about 20 gallons (mixed), and tried to get all of the stuff within a half mile of my home. Last spring (2004), I used a crab grass preventer from Home Depot on my lawn, and it generally seems to have worked. I applied it in mid-May, but this year I'm going to apply it now. I bought lawn food with halts, but after reading here about nitrogen, I'm going to go to HD and get the same stuff I used last year.

Now, it could be that the stilt grass is back, and just hasn't grown in enough for me to see it. Certainly, the grass I reseeded with was still there all winter, so the stilt grass didn't choke it out last year.

To control this stuff, you either have to pull it (which disturbs the soil), use roundup for several years, or mow down it early Sept, after it flowers but before it seeds in Sept. The flowers of the plant are very tiny and hard to see and the seed is tiny and seems to me has tiny hairs (like a dandelion but much smaller since the seed is smaller) that allows it to float in a breeze a long way. In the lawn, it seems to adapt to being mowed, and spreads lowly across the lawn shading out the lawn and is capable of reseeding in this cut state.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 6:43AM
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matts(z7 md)
    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 6:54AM
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I know this is an old thread, but has anyone had any lasting success in removing stilt grass (Japanese Stiltgrass) from their lawn?


    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 9:10AM
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I have read that the seeds of stilt grass are fertilized or set before they are readily seen in late August. Therefore, it might be better to cut it in earlier in August than wait until September.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 12:14PM
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This is an old post. I have the same problem and for those with issues with it in the lawn, I am trying a control by Bayer called Bermuda Grass Control which lists stilt grass as one of the weeds controlled.

I ordered a case and will let everyone here know the results of my home test.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Just ordered the Bayer Bermuda Grass Control from yard lover dot com. I will post my results to you all. - Chris

    Bookmark   June 22, 2010 at 1:36PM
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Chris - I'd be very interested in how the Bayer product works. Last year I bought some Acclaim Extra from a commercial landscaping store. It needs to be mixed with a surfactant (seed oil)... I worked pretty well for me in the areas I applied it, but now other areas that didn't have the stilt grass have it and the Acclaim Extra did some minor damage to my zoysia lawn. The packaging gave a pretty wide range of concentration, so I may have used too strong of a solution. Drop in here once you have some results from the Bayer Bermuda Grass Control.



    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 5:47PM
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I just noticed that the active ingredient in the Bayer Bermuda Grass Control and the Acclaim Extra is identical. From my experience, it takes a couple of applications over several weeks to make a difference. I had a big patch of stilt grass in a wooded area and used Journey herbicide. Journey is a mix of Roundup and Imazapic. It kills everything, but now that new growth has returned, it's not stilt grass... very cool.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:59PM
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To rundugrun,

Where did you get the acclaim extra? I tried to get it from local lesco distributor but it's very expensive. I could find it online but only 1 gallon bottle is available. this thing is highly concentrated and 1 gallon is far more than I need for the next few years.

I couldn't find the 1 pint bottle anywhere else besides lesco distributor though.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 5:53PM
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Hey everyone.

I just finished applying the Bayer Bermuda Grass Control RTS (ready to spray) to my grass infested with stilt grass. The weather has been so dry here in Central NJ that there has not been adequate soil moisture conducive to an herbicide application unless the turf was under irrigation, which mine is not.

After a week or so, I will post my findings to the forum. This herbicide is not available in New Jersey (I tried ordering it through my wholesaler at work) but you can purchase it online. It is a homeowner product unlike Acclain Extra which is for turf professionals.

Wish me luck!

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 3:03PM
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To trauternj,

Can't wait to hear about your results. My entire front lawn as well as the woods behind my house are overrun with stilt grass. My back lawn was by in large spared, I think because I used crabgrass pre emergent there.

I'm hoping to treat the overrun areas with Bayer Bermuda Grass control before the stilt goes to seed. Which its already doing in a friends lawn a couple of miles from mine.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 3:02PM
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