How to Get Rid of Dallisgrass Weed in Your Lawn

Dallisgrass, a perennial weed, is notoriously hard to get rid of in your lawn. The plant forms clumps and is a type of warm-season grass, like zoysia grass, Bermuda grass, and Bahiagrass.

It grows throughout the southern United States in lawns, planting beds, roadsides, and farmlands. Its relatively coarse texture makes it an unattractive lawn grass, and because it spreads quickly via rhizomes, it’s difficult to get rid of dallisgrass weed in your lawn.

If you’re dealing with this weed in your lawn, learn how to kill it and control it ahead.

What’s the Difference Between Dallisgrass and Crabgrass?

The easiest way to tell apart crabgrass and dallisgrass is that crabgrass stays closer to the ground.

You can also compare their seed heads: on a crabgrass plant, it comes out the top of the stem and is smaller and lighter in color, and on dallisgrass, it comes out of the side of the stem and is studded with dark spots, which a crabgrass seedhead lacks.

Dallisweed is a perennial, while crabgrass is an annual weed. Because of this difference, controlling dallisweed requires different measures from controlling crabgrass.

While you can fight the latter using a pre-emergent herbicide alone, this wouldn’t be sufficient to kill dallisgrass. While you should apply a pre-emergent to target its seed, you would need a post-emergent herbicide to get rid of any dallisgrass that is already growing in your lawn.

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How to Control Dallisgrass Without Chemicals

Focus on two control methods if you do not want to kill dallisgrass using chemicals:

Manual Removal

This method works best on young plants. Using a garden trowel, dig the plants out before they grow big enough to develop rhizomes or bear seeds.

Once dallisgrass has become large, the network of rhizomes under it will have become extensive, meaning it will be hard to remove every piece.

Fill Bare Spots

Don’t let a spot remain bare too long before reseeding it. The longer a bare spot is allowed to remain on your lawn, the greater the opportunity you give weeds to establish themselves.

To fill a bare spot:

  1. Prepare the bare spot by raking the area to remove dead grass and loosen the soil, then work compost into the ground.
  2. Sow grass seed and run a rake over it lightly to cover it with a thin layer of soil.
  3. To protect the seed from birds, cover it with straw.
  4. Keep the area evenly moist.
  5. Don’t mow the area until the new grass is at least 2 to 3 inches high.

How to Control Dallisgrass With Chemical Treatment

Post-Emergent Herbicides

A post-emergent herbicide is the best way to kill dallisgrass that is already present.

The issue with this method is that there aren’t many selective post-emergent herbicides for targeting grassy weeds (like dallisgrass) while leaving your lawn grass unharmed. This makes post-emergent applications feasible only for spot treatments.

For this reason, manual removal is a more sensible approach to dealing with dallisgrass already present in a lawn. However, on a large lawn, this would be very time-consuming. Unless you can devote a lot of time to lawn care, you would probably have to spread the work out across multiple years.

What Is a Selective Herbicide?

Selective herbicides kill just certain plants, while non-selective ones kill everything. Non-selective herbicides aren’t typically used on lawns, since they’ll kill your grass, but selective herbicides that target broadleaf weeds are popular in lawn care.

Pre-Emergent Herbicides

As you fight dallisgrass across multiple years, the weed uses this time to deposit seeds into the soil. To ensure seeds don’t become new plants, apply a pre-emergent herbicide to suppress them.

Eventually, by removing the dallisgrass already present in the lawn, while preventing new plants from emerging, you will be successful in getting rid of dallisgrass weed in your lawn.

Use Slow-Release Fertilizers When Feeding Your Lawn

The nutrient responsible for rich, green grass is nitrogen—but there can be such a thing as your grass getting too much nitrogen. Excessive nitrogen can burn your lawn, creating bare spots, and weeds will exploit those bare spots to gain a foothold in your lawn.

Rather than risking burning your lawn, apply slow-release fertilizer rather than quick-release fertilizer. Be sure to use the correct setting on your fertilizer spreader, and apply fertilizer when your lawn can best absorb it.

3 Additional Tips for Killing Dallisgrass

The best way to beat dallisgrass is through prevention, and this measure ensures that you will not kill your lawn during the process of killing the weed.

Prevention consists mainly of maintaining a healthy lawn that will give no opportunity for weeds such as dallisgrass to grow:

  • Maintain a lawn fertilizing regimen: Keeping your lawn well-fed will crowd out weeds such as dallisgrass.
  • Give your lawn sufficient irrigation: Many weeds are more drought-tolerant than your grass. They will take advantage of this fact to become established when your lawn is under-watered. A well-watered lawn will be more weed-resistant.
  • Keep your lawn dethatched: A thick layer of thatch can keep both nutrients and water from getting down to your grass’ roots. Ensure this doesn’t happen by keeping your lawn dethatched.


  • Yes, with the aid of a trowel, you can hand-pull dallisgrass that has not matured.

  • Since it’s hard to find a selective herbicide that targets grassy weeds, the best way to keep your grass safe while killing dallisgrass is to remove it manually.

  • The best way to kill dallisgrass is to manually remove the plants before they have grown too big. Mature plants put out extensive rhizomes that are hard to remove.

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