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WINDMILL GRASS (Chloris verticillata)

September 19, 2013

 Nick Christians
September 19, 2013
nchris@iastate.edu

It's that time of year again when I'm getting calls and receiving pictures of a very annoying weed in lawns.  The weed is Windmill grass (Chloris verticillata), a warm-season grass that has thrived in the hot and dry period of late summer.  The seedheads are just now reaching full maturity and it is readily visible in dormant Kentucky bluegrass lawns.

It produces a lot of seed on the windmill-like seed head.  These seedheads will break loose when the seed is mature and it will roll across the lawn on windy days like a tumble weed and disperse the seed on surrounding areas.  Next year there will be more of it.

It is relatively new in central Iowa and we are still trying to figure out how to deal with it.

Roundup will kill it non-selectively, but it is a great seed producer and it will come back.  Tenacity (mesotrione) is labeled for it, but it will require persistence and you can expect new plants from seed in the spring.

Here are a few pictures that will help in identifying it.

This is a drawing of it from the Scotts Manuals on grass identification.
 

 

 

 

Seedhead found in a cemetery in Ames, Iowa.

 I took the next 3 pictures this morning just outside of Nevada, Iowa, in a dormant lawn in a park area.  The seedheads reach a height of 6 to 8 inches in some of the patches.

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GOOD YEAR FOR WINDMILL GRASS

July 3, 2012

Windmill grass (Choris verticillata)   has been moving into Iowa in the last few years.  This summer I am seeing more of it than ever.  This is a spreading, warm-season weed with a light green color.  It gets its name from its distinctive seedhead that looks like a windmill.  The seedhead will detach from the plant when the seed is mature and it will roll like a tumbleweed and spread its seed to other turf areas.  It is also known as tumble windmill grass in some regions.

Roundup will kill it non-selectively, but it is a great seed producer and it will come back.  The new herbicide Tenacity (mesotrione) is labeled for it.  I have not tried this yet myself, but I hear that it works well if you are persistent.  If anyone has experience with this, let me know.

I took the pictures below this morning near Nevada, Iowa.  This is typical of where it occurs.  I generally see it along curb sides and in compacted area, although it can show up in more open turf areas.

 

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