There’s Only One Type of Bluegrass We Like

Bluegrass Guitar Player Wes Cohen

Hillside loves bluegrass music and we are excited for the Charm City Bluegrass Festival next week, but we don’t like all types of bluegrass. Annual bluegrass weeds are our nemesis!

This annual, grassy weed — also known as its two most common varietals: Poa Annua and Roughstalk — can fake out a novice lawn care professional. It makes its debut in early spring, growing in bunches or clumps throughout Maryland lawns. Left untreated, it throws its seeds around and permeates beautifully healthy lawns all season. Like a stealth fighter masked in the same green color as desirable green fescues, it goes undetected until…BAM! It thins out a lawn and turns it brown and unsightly.

Many of our customers have been contacting us about this intruder calling it crabgrass, an equally vexing foe, however, crabgrass doesn’t appear in lawns until the heat of the summer. Similar to annual bluegrass, crabgrass grows in clumps, but its blades are thicker and crabgrass doesn’t show seedheads like Poa Annua and Roughstalk.

Maryland is seeing a lot of the perennial Roughstalk (also called Poa Trivialis) this spring due to the wet summer we had last year. Since this bluegrass likes moisture, it typically does not survive the heat of summer.


Eradicating Annual Bluegrass and Crabgrass

  • Crabgrass is controlled with a pre-emergence application in spring. This attacks the grass at its root system before it appears above ground in the summer.
  • Although uncommon practice, Poa Annua can be controlled with an extra pre-emergence application; however, Hillside uses a more natural approach by working all season toward building an aggressive, dense covering of desirable turfgrasses such as fesques and rye grass.
  • Poa Tivialis is a tougher aggressor with no selective herbicide chemistry available. Really the only savior will be a typical Mid-Atlantic drought reducing survival and limiting fall germination. Of course, it can be removed and replaced with sterile soil and sod but this process is extremely expensive.
  • Aerating and seeding in the fall will further control the irritating spread of annual bluegrass and crabgrass because aerating helps turf breath and simultaneous seeding continues to build a dense lawn of desirable grass.


Sign up for a multi-level lawn protection program with Hillside so you don’t have to spend your weekends taking care of your lawn and you can spend more time enjoying fun events like next week’s Charm City Bluegrass Festival!