Crowsfoot (Eleusine Indica)
31 January 2022
Crowsfoot is known by many names, but one of the most common it goes by here in Australia is Crabgrass.
Crowsfoot, as its name suggests, has a spiked flower with a similar appearance to that of a crow’s foot.
Crowsfoot grass is a summer annual that grows in easy to identify tufts. It stays fairly flat to the ground with almost white flat sheathed stems and smooth strap-like leaves.
Crowsfoot grass is difficult to control weeds that can tolerate low mowing and will thrive in nutrient-deprived and compacted soil conditions. It will begin to germinate in the soil when temperatures reach above 15°C and can grow extremely quickly once active.
Seed heads appear usually from late spring or early summer. These seed heads can have as many as ten spikelets on each long stem. In an unhealthy lawn, if left to seed and spread, Crowsfoot will quickly infiltrate right through the entire lawn. Crowsfoot is commonly found throughout most Australian states including Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
How to remove crowsfoot
The best way to remove crowsfoot is to chip out by hand. Make sure when doing so that you carefully remove the entire plant and don’t spread any seeds during the process.
Treating Crowsfoot with a selective herbicide can be difficult as many herbicides will kill your lawn variety as well.
Paspalum, Nutgrass & Clover Weed Killer and herbicides formulated with the active DSMA will control crowsfoot. It can be easily mixed in a pressure sprayer, with the addition of a surfactant or wetting agent to ensure it adheres better to the leaf. For best results, spray the crowsfoot when it is actively growing during the warmer months. Repeated applications may be required in order to fully eradicate it from your lawn. Make sure you adhere to the application rates on the side of the product.
*For kikuyu, buffalo lawns and QLD Blue Couch, it is best to only spot spray the crowsfoot and not the entire lawn as it can cause harm to your grass as well.
Due to a supply shortage of DSMA across the industry, many garden centres and stores have no longer been able to get stock of these herbicides.
Another option is to treat the individual weed tufts with a non-selective herbicide like glyphosate (Round Up or Zero). You will need to make sure you do so extremely carefully as it will kill everything it comes in contact with. The safest way is to use a small paintbrush or weed wand and carefully brush the glyphosate only onto the crowsfoot leaf.
How to prevent crowsfoot
The best way to control Crowsfoot is to maintain a healthy lawn where it is unlikely to infiltrate and spread. Being proactive and removing it as soon as it appears and before it goes to seed will be the key to preventing it from spreading out of control.
Another way of preventing the seed from germinating is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide like Oxafert in early spring. An application in Autumn will also help to prevent the germination of winter weeds as well.
As always, if you have any more questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for free expert advice on 1800ALLTURF (1800255873) or 07 5543 8304.
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