What Is Goosegrass?

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While its name might evoke cuddly imagery, goosegrass is anything but fluffy and cute. This persistent summer weed can quickly transform a manicured lawn into a bumpy, unsightly terrain. But before you declare war, grab your magnifying glass and gardening gloves! Understanding goosegrass's secrets is key to reclaiming your lawn's green glory.

Identifying Goosegrass

Overhead view of goosegrass leaves and stems.

Goosegrass boasts several telltale features to help you spot it among other lawn inhabitants:

  • Leaves: Unlike most grasses, goosegrass has broad, flat leaves with pointed tips. Imagine miniature lily pads growing alongside your blades of grass.
  • Veins: Look for prominent, parallel veins running along the length of the leaves. These veins are like tiny roadmaps, distinguishing goosegrass from other imposters.
  • Seed Heads: As summer matures, goosegrass reveals its true identity. Tiny, spiky seed heads emerge from the leaf axils (where the leaf meets the stem). These resemble miniature burrs, ready to hitch a ride and spread their reign.

Life Cycle Of Goosegrass

Close-up of goosegrass seed heads.

Goosegrass thrives on warm weather and thrives through a distinct life cycle:

  • Germination: Seeds lie dormant throughout winter, patiently waiting for spring warmth and moist soil. Once conditions are ideal, they sprout, unleashing tiny seedlings on their green quest.
  • Growth: The young plants spread their broad leaves, forming low-growing mats that compete with desirable grasses for water and nutrients.
  • Reproduction: By midsummer, those spiky seed heads take center stage. Each head contains dozens of tiny seeds, just waiting to detach and find new homes on unsuspecting animals or through wind dispersal.
  • Spread: Attached to fur, clothing, or carried by the wind, the seeds travel far and wide, ensuring the next generation of goosegrass emerges wherever they land.

Managing & Controlling Goosegrass

While seemingly persistent, controlling goosegrass is definitely achievable. Here are some effective strategies:

  • Prevention is Key: Maintaining a healthy, dense lawn with strong root systems creates a natural barrier against weed seeds. Regular mowing, proper watering, and fertilization contribute to this healthy competition.
  • Hand-pulling: For small infestations, this is a simple and eco-friendly solution. Pull young plants carefully before they mature and produce seeds. Remember to remove the entire root system to prevent regrowth.
  • Organic Options: Corn gluten meal, applied pre-emergently in spring, can hinder seed germination. Boiling water poured directly on young goosegrass plants can also be an effective organic solution.
  • Selective Herbicides: Consider using a selective herbicide labeled for broadleaf weeds like goosegrass for larger infestations. Always follow the instructions carefully, being mindful of potential effects on surrounding vegetation.


  • Early intervention is crucial. Addressing goosegrass infestations early prevents seed production and makes control easier.
  • Vigilance is key. Monitor your lawn regularly and remove any new goosegrass plants you spot.
  • Nature offers alternatives. Consider encouraging beneficial insects like ladybugs that naturally prey on goosegrass.

Understanding goosegrass's characteristics, employing effective control methods, and appreciating its potential benefits create a balanced approach to managing this persistent invader. Remember, a healthy lawn often thrives not by complete eradication but by finding ways to coexist and manage any uninvited guests who might show up. So, get ready to reclaim your green haven, armed with knowledge and the right tools. With a little effort and strategic planning, you can send the goosegrass packing and enjoy a beautiful, weed-free lawn all summer long!