Some people call it watergrass, some call it crabgrass, but every spring these weeds seem to invade lawns in our area. As the weather warms in March especially, these large green clumps of weeds stick out like a sore thumb in brown, dormant bermudagrass. They are actually fescue clumps, which have germinated into the bermudagrass turf and are green and growing now.
Fescue is a cool-season grass, while bermudagrass is totally opposite, a warm-season grass. Many homeowners seed fescue in the shade, so it’s a desirable turfgrass in about 15% of the lawns we service in the transition zone of Oklahoma. In other areas such as North Carolina, fescue is the predominant turf type. With so much fescue seeding being done in Oklahoma every fall, there are millions of seeds blown about, carried by birds and animals, and ending up germinating and growing in an otherwise clean, dormant bermudagrass lawn. Or, the bermudagrass may have been sodded a few years ago over existing ground that may have been farm land or pasture, with thousands of fescue plants or seed ready to come up into the bermudagrass.
Once the bermudagrass greens up later in spring, and the summer heat slows down the growth of the cool-season fescue turf, you don’t really notice the fescue clumps. Now however, with the dormant bermudagrass sitting there, the fescue is growing like crazy, as this cool, wet weather is perfect for growing fescue.
A weed is a plant growing out of place. So when there is fescue growing where bermudagrass is the desirable turf, then it’s a weed, and we try to eliminate it. In February through about mid-March, we can spot-treat the fescue with Roundup Herbicide to control them. Once the bermudagrass begins to green-up, we switch to products such as Monument or Katana Herbicides, which can eliminate these fescue clumps without harming the green bermudagrass. While many companies don’t take the trouble to clean up fescue clumps, or they charge extra for it, at LawnAmerica we do it for no extra charge. Spring and into early summer is the time to attack fescue clumps, and we often cannot get them all at once. So do be patient as we eliminate this weed from your lawn. If there are an abundance of fescue clumps, it may even take two years to eliminate them. Once gone, other than a few stragglers from time to time, they should not be a problem in the future.