One of the more interesting aspects of doing GardenLine all these years is seeing new problems crop up. As an example, when I first started doing the show in December 1995, Virginia buttonweed was not a real problem. Now, it's a consistent and persistent weed that requires our attention regularly. I guess the same can be said for diseases, such as take-all patch. While it was never known as much of problem just 10 years ago, we now know of its insidious nature. Well, here's the newest weed worry that has introduced itself to our landscapes — basketgrass!
Basketgrass (a.k.a. woodgrass, annual jewgrass or Mary's grass) is commonly found in moist environments, but that's not to say it can't crop up just about anywhere. The best way I've heard the weed described ... and I tend to agree ... is that the leaves look like miniature bamboo leaves. As with most grassy weeds, it can be very persistent and, when left untreated, can really take over an area — much like Virginia buttonweed. It seems to always rear its head in late spring and early summer in the Houston area, at about the same time that crabgrass comes calling. Not coincidentally, the method to control crabgrass will be the same method(s) to eliminate and prevent basketgrass. There is no specific weed killer that will take out basketgrass while not killing our Bermuda, St. Augustine and zoysia lawns. However, like all weeds (especially grassy weeds), it can be prevented with pre-emergent herbicides as suggested in my Lawn Fertilization Schedule. But once it's up and thriving, you have to use non-selective herbicides to kill it. That would be anything like Eraser, Killzall, Finale (any glyphosate herbicide) or organically with any 20 percent vinegar solution. You may also have heard me mention an organic crabgrass killer on the program, and the good news is that AgraLawn Crabgrass Control also has a label for basketgrass. The problem, as I see it, is that this product is quite expensive and somewhat hard to find. So, if you have a massive infestation of basketgrass — or crabgrass for that matter — it may not be very cost-effective to use AgraLawn. Additionally, it's only a temporary solution, since it doesn't kill the weed seeds. Hence, the pre-emergent herbicide aspect of my Lawn Fertilization Schedule is so very important in controlling weeds.