Fountain Grass

 

 

Fountain Grass  

 

Biology: Fountain grass ((Pennisetum spp.) is an ornamental grass common to the landscapes of homes, commercial sites, and golf courses. However, following years of planting in these landscapes, we now realize that this species produces many viable seeds that drop onto the adjacent turf and then become tough-to-control perennial grassy weeds. Although most of the ornamental grasses cannot withstand short mowing, fountain grass does.

Identification: Typically, this grass can be identified by its visible shredded leaf blades in mid- and late summer, which leaves a whitish, wispy looking clump when mown. 

Shredded leaf tips. Fountain grass is difficult to mow in summer even with a sharp mower blade.

Shredded leaf tips. Fountain grass is difficult to mow in summer even with a sharp mower blade.

Shredded leaf tips. Fountain grass is difficult to mow in summer even with a sharp mower blade.

Shredded leaf tips. Fountain grass is difficult to mow in summer even with a sharp mower blade.

Shredded leaf tips visible in this lawn.
The brown clumps in the lawn are fountain grass plants from the landscape bed.

The brown clumps in the lawn are fountain grass plants from the landscape bed.
 
Even when mown, fountain grass will produce a seedhead occasionally in summer. 
 
 
 
Fountain seedhead that formed in an unmown lawn.

 

 

 

 
 
Cultural control: Don’t plant fountain grass in landscape beds unless you want it in the adjacent turf.
 
Biological control: None known.
 
Chemical control: This weed can be controlled by applying herbicides that contain quinclorac (Drive, Drive XLR8, Eject 75DF, Momentum Q, Onetime, Q4 Plus, Quincept, Quinclorac 75DF, QuinPro, Solitare, SquareOne). Two applications are needed for control. Glyphosate (Roundup and others) will also work as a nonselective spot-treatment option.
 
For more information on weed control, search this blog and archived turf tip postings and check out our Turfgrass Weed Control for Professionals Publication.
Aaron Patton, Turfgrass Extension Specialist
 
 
 
 
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