Grass ID

Asked May 29, 2019, 7:26 PM EDT

I've been trying unsuccessfully to identify the two grasses in the attached photo. Can someone please help?

Montgomery County Maryland plant identification stiltgrass grasses

6 Responses

The plant on the left side of your photo looks like it might be bermudagrass. Does it creep along close to the ground rather than stand upright? https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/bermudagrass

We are not sure about the second one. For grass identification, we need to know: does it grow in a clump or does it spread by rhizomes or stolons? Do you see flowers -- what do they like? We would need to see close photos of ligules, the collar area, etc., as shown in this guide. https://buckeyeturf.osu.edu/pdf/01_turfgrass_identification.pdf

Our website has photos and information on the most common grassy weeds typically found in Maryland lawns. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/weed-identification-photos#Grassy If you don't find a match there, we would be happy to take a look at more photos.

Christa



Yes, thank you, I have been referring to the HGIC photos for some time but in these cases could not make a determination. I would guess the more narrow-leafed of the two might be nimblewill, but couldn't be certain. It does not creep along the ground. The wider-leafed of the two resembles stilt grass, but I don't see any silver "hairs" down the center, or any "stilts" supporting the grass from below. If they are invasive, maybe my golden ragwort will overtake them!

Yes, thank you, I have been referring to the HGIC photos for some time but in these cases could not make a determination. I would guess the more narrow-leafed of the two might be nimblewill, but couldn't be certain. It does not creep along the ground. The wider-leafed of the two resembles stilt grass, but I don't see any silver "hairs" down the center, or any "stilts" supporting the grass from below. If they are invasive, maybe my golden ragwort will overtake them!

Since the narrow-leaf one is not a creeper, then yes, it is probably nimblewill, which is a native grass. https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=4065

Your second plant did not look quite like stiltgrass to us. If you want to send us additional photos -- especially when you see it in flower -- that can help us to identify what it is.

Christa

I’ll watch for it to flower. I brought samples to a gardening conference today, where one attendee insisted it was stiltgrass, another was certain it must be something else, and yet another was trying to remember where she’d read about a grass from Virginia that looks a lot like stiltgrass. I remember reading the same thing but can’t find it. Meanwhile, although I don’t see any “silver hairs” on the midrib, i may be seeing “stilts” in the attached photos, in which the “stilts” cross my fingertip.

This looks like stiltgrass to us, though we agree that it lacks the silvery midrib. There is some variation in all species. The "stilt" does look like a typical root from a node. These can be several inches long.

The similar native, if we're thinking of the same plant, has a much longer, thinner blade and is perennial. No "stilts" either. Tugging on the root usually distinguishes the two, as stiltgrass (being an annual) usually comes out easily and has little root. (Though, as usual with plants, there is always a "but..." This year it has been reported that the root system on stiltgrass, probably because of weather conditions, can a bit more robust than it normally is.)

Ellen