Louisiana Home Lawn Series: Barnyardgrass

Jeffrey S. Beasley, Strahan, Ronald E., Sanders, Kayla

Louisiana Home Lawn Series banner. A guide to maintaining a healthy Louisiana lawn.


Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli [L.] P. Beauv.) is warm-season annual grassy weed common throughout Louisiana. It can be distinguished by its lack of a ligule, green- to purple-colored seed heads and coarse leaves. It spreads through seed and can be found growing in areas with moist soils and unmaintained turfgrass.




Barnyardgrass has coarse-textured medium-green leaves. Leaves are rolled in the shoot, smooth and without ligules, and have a distinct white midvein. Short hairs may be seen at the leaf base. Seed heads are arranged in a terminal panicle that may be green to purple in color. Individual spikelets may develop a long terminal awn. Barnyardgrass has an upright growth habit and can grow in thick, dense clumps, which may have red to maroon coloration at the base. For more information on barnyardgrass identification and characterization, visit the USDA Plants Database.

Red coloring on leaves and stemspng

Red coloring on leaves and stem

Seed headpng

Seed head

Rough leaf edgepng

Rough leaf edge

Cultural Control Practices

The best way to prevent or reduce weed encroachment is to maintain a healthy lawn through proper fertilization and soil pH management and regular mowing. Properly maintaining a lawn through these cultural practices promotes dense and vigorous turfgrass, allowing it 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. Improving drainage will also help reduce the incidence of barnyardgrass infestations in the lawn.

Turfgrass SpeciesMowing HeightNitrogen Rate (per 1,000 ft2 per year)
1 to 2 inchesUp to 3 pounds
Centipedegrass1 to 2.5 inchesUp to 2 pounds
St. Augustinegrass2.5 to 3 inchesUp to 3 pounds
Zoysiagrass1 to 2.5 inchesUp to 2 pounds

Chemical Control Practices

In addition to cultural practices, a combination of pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicide applications may be required to achieve effective barnyardgrass control.

When applying any type of 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.

St. AugustinegrassCentipedegrassZoysiagrassBermudagrass
Pre-emergence Herbicide Active Ingredients
Post-emergence Herbicide Active Ingredients

thiencarbazone + iodosulfuron + dicambaYesYesYesYes

For information regarding weed identification and control options please contact your local LSU AgCenter Extension Parish Office.

1/10/2020 9:27:38 PM
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