Carpet grass (scientifically known as Axonopus Affinis) is a convenient solution for quickly setting up the lawn in your yard. It is easy to start it, and it can even start without any help from you.
However, if you had just sodded some lovely Bermuda or St. Augustine grass and are looking forward to enjoying your new lawn in the summer, signs of carpet grass are the last thing you want to see in your garden.
Garden grass is so easy to start exactly because of its invasive nature. It will compete with any other grass in your garden and will eventually take over. If you do not initially deal with it, you will be saying farewell to your Bermuda lawn soon after.
Fortunately, dealing with carpet grass is reasonably straightforward. You do not need to count on professional help or chemical solutions. It is also a relatively quick process, which will last about a week, depending on your yard’s size.
Don’t panic and rush into anything yet
There is a right time and place for everything. For example, there would be no point in spraying a powerful solution over your lawn if you just saw the first stalks of carpet grass.
It would also be a waste of time and money if you were trying to solve the problem of carpet grass, but it turned out to be a different kind of plant, like centipedegrass.
This is a common mistake since the two look a lot alike. So let’s take this step by step and see how to approach it.
Is it really carpet grass?
First, make sure to identify the problem correctly. You need to be able to tell if the grass that appeared in your lawn is carpet grass or a different sort of plant. No matter how well-intended the neighbor might be, inspect it for yourself.
Carpet grass is a warm-season grass, which is commonly found in the southeastern part of the United States. It likes moisture a lot, so you will not find it during a drought season. It is also the last one to turn green in spring and the first one to go brown before winter.
If what you have in your garden does not fit the above description, you have even more of a reason to inspect it closer.
Carpet grass has a pale or yellow-green color and blunt, rounded leaves. The seed stalks grow tall, with two branches at the tip. Finally, there is a fine line of hairs along the outer edge of the leaf sheaths.
If you are not 100% sure you have carpet grass growing in your yard, try comparing your specimen with valid carpet grass photos. You can find many on the Internet.
Even if it is carpet grass, there could still be no reason to worry
If you have settled the first question and what you have is carpet grass, you need to deal with the second important issue. How large is the spread of the invasion? If you are lucky and caught it on early enough, you could be off the hook.
Now it is time to inspect your property carefully and see where has the carpet grass spread to. It could even be multiple areas far apart, so be diligent. You don’t want to finish removing the grass, and then finding out you need to start all over one month later.
Keep in mind that carpet grass likes moisture. So check the wetter parts of the land more carefully. Potential places of invasion are, for example, near leaking hoses and faucets or any other sort of water supply you might have in the garden.
If the infected area is minimal, you might be in good fortune. It would help if you tried to weed out all the carpetgrass you see. Do not water the area and wait for a few days to see if the carpet grass reappears. If it does, we have a few more tricks up our sleeves.
On to the heavy artillery
Well, not that heavy. Mostly salt and water, to be precise. We will start with that, and hopefully, that is all we will need. It is the most environmentally-friendly solution (literally). Besides, many people have children and pets playing in their gardens. We would not want to be spraying powerful herbicides near them.
You will be pleased to know that carpet grass does not like salt at all. We will use that to our advantage to get rid of it. All you need to do is prepare a salt solution of two cups of water softener salt per 100 gallons of water. It might take a while to dissolve fully, so you will need to be patient.
You can adjust the volume of the solution you make based on the size of your yard. Just stick to these ratios.
Those of you who happen to have pre-existing lawns in the areas invaded by carpet grass don’t need to worry. All commercially sold grass varieties we buy to make our lawns are salt tolerant. It is only the carpet glass that is sensitive to salt. That is another benefit compared to some of the herbicides sold in the market.
After you are done, put the solution in a sprayer and spray over the target grass a few times. Allow the salt solution to stay on the carpet grass for about a day before watering. Repeat the process every other day for about a week, and hopefully, what you will end up with is dead carpetgrass. You can just rake it with a steel rake 4-5 days after that.
- Spray the salt solution during dry days only. If it rains, it will wash off.
- You can try a mixture of Arm and Hammer and soap if the salt solution does not work. It is the last stop before chemical herbicides. This too will leave other grass unaffected.
Removing carpet grass is not the most challenging thing in the world; it is not the easiest either!
It is crucial, however, to spot signs of an invasion soon enough. Otherwise, your Bermuda or St. Augustine lawn will soon be a thing of the past. In any case, there is no need for despair. You can still try out our methods and share your results. Best of luck!