Monday, June 16, 2008

Turf and Landscape - Nimblewill

Nimblewill is often confused with Bermudagrass in turf because it has a similar appearance but is more common in shaded areas. The following is information on this weed.

Nimblewill, Muhlenbergia schreberi, is a warm season perennial grass that is a common summer weed in older established turf. It proliferates in moist, shady areas, but also can be found in full sun, especially where there is irrigation. Nimblewill has thin stems that can root at the nodes when touching the ground and forms dense mats. It also spreads by seeds that are produced in late summer. It is similar in appearance to common bermudagrass (wiregrass) in that it has small leaves and is wiry in appearance; however, it can be distinguished by the lack of rhizomes or true stolons and by having a short, membranous ligule (bermudagrass has a hair-like ligule).

Control of nimblewill in landscape beds is accomplished by post-emergence applications of grass herbicides: sethoxidim (Vantage), fluazifop-P-butyl (Ornamec, Fusilade II), and clethodim (Envoy plus). In cool season turf there are no good selective herbicides currently available. Hand digging or use of non-selective herbicides such as glyphosate followed by reseeding or sodding is the recommended control. A new herbicide, mesotrione (Tenacity), is very effective on nimblewill in cool season turf but is only labeled for golf courses and sod farms currently. It will be the standard for control in other turf situations if and when available in the future.

Gordon Johnson, Extension Horticulture Agent, UD, Kent County.

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