Goosegrass (Eleusine indica [L.] Gaertn.), also known as silver crabgrass, is a warm-season, annual grassy weed common throughout Louisiana. It is typically found growing in lawn areas where the turf is thin and foot traffic is common, so it is often an indicator of soil compaction. It has a prostrate growth habit, which allows it to better withstand low mowing heights. Goosegrass emerges from seed in early spring when soil temperatures reach 60 to 65 degrees.
Goosegrass leaves are moderate to dark green and can be up to 1 foot in length. Leaves are folded or flattened in shape, soft in texture and have very few hairs. It grows low to the ground with flattened stems growing outward from the center of the plant in a white, wagon-wheel-like rosette. Flower stems generally produce two to six spikes (stems of clustered flowers) that are soft and feather-like and silver-green in color.
For more information on Goosegrass identification and characterization visit the USDA Plants Database at https://plants.usda.gov.
The best way to prevent or reduce weed encroachment is to maintain a healthy lawn through regular mowing and proper fertilization and soil pH management. Properly maintaining a lawn through these cultural practices promotes dense and vigorous turfgrass, allowing the grass to better compete with weeds. Below are the recommended mowing heights and nitrogen fertility rates recommended for each turfgrass species. In addition to these lawn care practices, manual removal of weeds may also be necessary if possible. Aerating the soil can increase turfgrass competitiveness against goosegrass.
In addition to cultural practices, herbicide applications may be required to achieve effective weed control. Pre-emergence herbicides are important tools for managing goosegrass in lawns prior to the weed’s germination. These types of herbicides should be applied in late winter to early spring, followed by an application in the summer.
Apply post-emergence herbicides when goosegrass is small and actively growing. When using any herbicide, you must follow the manufacturer's labeled directions.
For more information regarding pesticides for turfgrass please reference the Louisiana Suggested Chemical Weed Control Guide.
For information regarding weed identification and control options please contact your local LSU AgCenter Extension Parish Office. To find your local LSU AgCenter Extension Parish Office visit here.