Goosegrass Biology and Management in Turf1

Darcy E. P. Telenko, Ramon G. Leon, and J. Bryan Unruh 2

Goosegrass (Eleusine indica), also known as silver crabgrass or crowfoot, is a major turf weed found throughout Florida. It is a tough, clumped, dark green summer annual with a generally "whitish to silverish" coloration at the center of the plant. The leaf blade is smooth on both surfaces, and occasionally a few hairs can be found near the base on the edge of the blade. It measures 0.2 to 0.4 inches wide. The visible ligule is short toothed and membranous. Seedhead spikelets form in two rows on 2 to 13 "fingers." Frequently, a single finger will form below the terminal cluster of fingers. Goosegrass tolerates close mowing and compacted wet or dry soils. In the spring, goosegrass germinates when soil temperatures reach 63°F–65°F for at least 24 consecutive hours.

Turf management practices that reduce soil compaction and excess soil moisture and that maintain healthy turf will minimize goosegrass infestation. A number of preemergence herbicides are available for goosegrass control, and applications should be made in late winter or early spring when soil temperatures reach 60°F for 24 consecutive hours to ensure proper placement of the herbicide before goosegrass germination. Postemergence control is dependent on turfgrass species and requires repeat applications of herbicides for successful goosegrass management.

Figure 1. 
Figure 1. 

Figure 2. 
Figure 2. 

Figure 3. 
Figure 3. 

Herbicide Options for Controlling Goosegrass in Florida Turfgrass

(Always refer to the label for specific uses, application rates, and turfgrass tolerance)

Bermudagrass

  • Preemergence: benefin + oryzalin, benefin + trifluralin, bensulide, dimethenamid-P, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, dithiopyr, indaziflam, metolachlor, napropamide, oryzalin, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben, prodiamine + sulfentrazone

  • Postemergence: diclofop-methyl, foramsulfuron, prodiamine + sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone + imazethapyr, thiencarbazon + floramsulfuron + halosulfuron

St. Augustinegrass

  • Preemergence: benefin + oryzalin, benefin + trifluralin, dimethenamid-P, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, dithiopyr, indaziflam, metolachlor, napropamide, oryzalin, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben, prodiamine + sulfentrazone

  • Postemergence: mesotrione (sod production only), sulfentrazone

Centipedegrass

  • Preemergence: benefin + oryzalin, benefin + trifluralin, dimethenamid-P, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, dithiopyr, indaziflam, metolachlor, napropamide, oryzalin, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben, prodiamine + sulfentrazone

  • Postemergence: clethodim (sod production only), mesotrione, prodiamine + sulfentrazone, sethoxydim, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone + imazethapyr

Bahiagrass

  • Preemergence: benefin + oryzalin, benefin + trifluralin, dimethenamid-P, dithiopyr, indaziflam, metolachlor, napropamide, oryzalin, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben, prodiamine + sulfentrazone

  • Postemergence: prodiamine+sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone+imazethapyr

Seashore Paspalum

  • Preemergence: dimethenamid-P, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, dithiopyr, indaziflam, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben, prodiamine + sulfentrazone

  • Postemergence: prodiamine + sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone

Zoysiagrass

  • Preemergence: benefin + oryzalin, benefin + trifluralin, bensulide + oxadiazon, dimethenamid-P, dimethenamid-P + pendimethalin, dithiopyr, indaziflam, metolachlor, napropamide, oryzalin, oxadiazon, pendimethalin, prodiamine, prodiamine + isoxaben,

  • Postemergence: fenoxaprop, fluazifop, formasulfuron, prodiamine + sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone, sulfentrazone + imazethapyr

Perennial Ryegrass

  • Preemergence: bensulide, dithiopyr, oxadiazone, pendimethalin, prodiamine

  • Postemergence: fenoxaprop (unless on overseeded turf), sulfentrazone

Refer to the publication Pest Control Guide for Turfgrass Managers at http://turf.ufl.edu/pdf/2012_UF_Pest_Control_Guide.pdf for brand names associated with chemical names listed.

Footnotes

1. This document is ENH1133, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2009. Revised February 2013 and April 2016. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
2. Darcy E. P. Telenko, former postdoctoral research associate; Ramon G. Leon, assistant professor, Agronomy Department; and J. Bryan Unruh, professor, Environmental Horticulture Department; UF/IFAS West Florida Research and Education Center, Jay, FL 32565.