Yard Full

Asked August 23, 2019, 4:04 PM EDT

I am hoping you can identify this plant so I can eradicate it. Essentially it is my entire front yard which is about 4000 sq ft or so. My plan is to renovate this area by tilling or aerating, then seeding with tall fescue. My preference would be not to use chemicals but will if neccessary. Weed may have produced some scattered small purple/blue flowers in the spring. Area is on north side of house but gets some sun. My apologies if this is a duplicate request. I am not sure if my previous message was sent. Thank you,

Cecil County Maryland lawns and turf weeds japanese stiltgrass stiltgrass plant care

1 Response

This is Japanese stiltgrass, a foreign invasive grass which is spreading like wildfire on the East Coast. It loved all the rain last year and this spring and has spread much faster this year. Carefully read through our page on siltgrass: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/japanese-stiltgrass

We don't see any desirable fescue in your photo. If your lawn is already weak because it is in shade, search 'Growing Grass in the Shade' on our website.


Get a soil test done, because if you do not get the pH (acidity/alkalinity) right, your grass will be weakened. Also, when renovating, now is the time to work fertilizer and lime into the soil.

To renovate without using chemicals, you can mow as low as your mower allows, then rake off debris. Use PLUG aerator (not spike), or a slit-seeder. You can also till. ((This is good if you want to work in lime, fertilier and organic amandments.)
Another option is to weed wack the stiltgrass down to bare earth.

At any rate, stiltgrass is an annual. You can get a nice lawn going this fall, but stiltgrass will germinate once again in spring if you do not have a solid stand of turf (and even then.)

Here is a page including the usual chemical renovation method used, but there is much more information here about growing a successful lawn, too: https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/lawns/lawn-renovation
The first link is particularly thorough.

Ellen