Torpedo grass is a very invasive species that has gained the nickname creeping panic due to its ability to spread. If you’ve noticed some torpedo grass in your lawn, you should take steps to control the weed as soon as possible before it takes over your lawn.
Torpedo grass can be very challenging to eliminate as it’s not affected by many commercial weed killers. Pulling the weed up can actually make it grow faster. Unfortunately, many homeowners have found that they could not get rid of torpedo grass without killing their lawn grass.
While torpedo grass is challenging to get rid of, there are a few methods that you can try. Let’s look at how to get rid of Torpedo grass in your lawn.
What is Torpedo Grass?
Torpedo grass is a very invasive grass variety that’s considered a weed. It’s native to Asia and Africa and was introduced to America as a fodder crop. Torpedo grass spreads via rhizomes and can take over your lawn, flower beds, and vegetable garden. It smothers other plants and grasses as its fast-growing. Torpedo grass can also be spread by seeds that blow in on the wind or are transported by birds.
Torpedo grass is a large perennial grass that can grow as tall as 2.5 feet. It has a stiff stem with flat leaf blades that often fold over. The stems are smooth, and the leaves are slightly hairy. Torpedo grass is a grayish-green color and flowers year-round. To correctly identify Torpedo grass, you should look at the rhizomes. These are pointy and spear the soil, allowing them to grow deep into the ground. This weed is hard to dig up as even a small part of the rhizome that’s left will regrow.
Ways to Get Rid of Torpedo Grass
While it is challenging to get rid of torpedo grass, there are some things you can do. Try to kill torpedo grass as soon as you can because it’s very invasive and will end up invading your whole lawn. Torpedo grass can be controlled with some herbicides by burning the grass, pulling it up, or through solarization. Let’s look at these methods in turn.
It can be hard to kill torpedo grass using herbicides as these weeds are very resistant. If you want to use a post-emergent herbicide, you should ensure it contains either Glyphosphate or Imazapyr, as these chemicals will kill the weed. Roundup contains Glyphosphate and is one of the most effective herbicides to use on torpedo grass. The only downside is that it will also kill your lawn grass and any other plants it comes into contact with. Round up is a good solution if torpedo grass has totally taken over your grass. It allows you to kill everything, after which you’ll need to start again and lay new sod or plant new grass seed.
Ortho Ground Clear is a herbicide that’s commonly used against torpedo grass; it contains the active ingredient Imazapyr and works well on tougher weeds. Only use this chemical as a last resort as it also has a residual effect in the soil and is very toxic, so it will kill any trees or shrubs in the surrounding area.
As torpedo grass is a tough weed, you’ll likely find that any herbicide treatment you use will need to be applied a couple of times before its effective. As chemicals can cause problems in your garden, it’s best to spot treat clumps of torpedo grass if possible. Don’t overspray your lawn. You should also try to protect the waterways. As Torpedo grass likes moist areas, it often grows near the water; it’s best not to use herbicides if the weeds are near water as this will pollute the waterways.
If Torpedo grass has completely spread over your entire lawn, you may need to use a method known as solarization to get rid of it. You can cover the grass with clear plastic sheeting for between one and two months during the summer. Ensure you’ve completely blocked the sunlight from reaching the plants. The sun’s heat will kill everything underneath the plastic, and you’ll be left with a clear lawn. Here’s the entire process of polarization (YouTube).
Torpedo grass spreads quickly and can take over your whole lawn. The best way to kill it is with herbicides or through solarization. It’s a marshy plant that likes to like in moist so, so after riding your yard of the weed, it may be a wise idea to improve your yard’s drainage. This will stop torpedo grass from invading your yard again and will also help keep existing grass healthy.