Kill Winter Grass in Buffalo Lawns

Kill Winter Grass in Buffalo Lawns

Winter Grass in Buffalo GrassWinter grass is an ugly and unsightly weed in Buffalo grass as well as all other lawn types.

Its bright green leaves and clumping characteristics can quickly overtake a lawn, transforming what would otherwise be a beautiful lawn into a complete mess of weeds.

Winter Grass will begin germinating underground in May and will start emerging from the soil and in your lawns in late May and June.

Winter Grass will continue to germinate, grow stronger, start clumping, and spreading as the winter months continue into July.

By the time August and September roll around, Winter Grass is in full growth, easily outgrowing the Buffalo lawn and sitting above it in stark contrast to the lawn around it. This is also the time that Winter Grass will begin going into full speed, making the weed even uglier.

This same seeding will be planting out thousands of new Winter Grass seeds into your turf for emergence the following year.

So if you have Winter Grass this year, it will be worse next year, worse the year after, and so it continues.

Therefore any Winter Grass in your Buffalo lawn must be treated as soon as possible. However, not all chemicals are suitable for Buffalo lawn and care needs to be taken when selecting a product to use. If the herbicide used is NOT suitable for Buffalo then you can damage or kill your Buffalo grass by mistake.

ALL Herbicides should be marked as either Safe or Not To Be Used on Buffalo lawns.

It is a good idea to read the label carefully.

Killing Winter Grass in Buffalo Lawn

Out of all the weed types out there, Winter Grass is actually a very easy weed to kill, but only if it’s done at the right time.

Winter Grass Weed Killer is diluted with water in a watering can or spraying bottle as per manufacturer’s guidelines, and applied to the entire lawn, not just to the area which appears most affected.

Be sure to measure the size of your lawn before treatment to ensure the correct dosage is applied.

Once the Winter Grass Killer is applied to the turf,  lightly water your lawn which helps filtrate the poison down to the roots of the Winter Grass where it does its work.

You should see the Winter Grass die off within 2 weeks.

Herbicides should be marked as either Safe or Not To Be Used on Buffalo lawns.

myhomeTURF recommends two types of pre-emergent herbicides – Oxafert and Emergent – both well respected products of LawnPride Australia.

Oxafert (left) is a combination product containing fertiliser and pre-emergent herbicide for the control of Crowsfoot Grass, Summer Grass, Winter Grass and Oxalis. 

Embargo (right) is effective pre-emergent control of certain grass and broadleaf weeds in Buffalo turf. Including Crowsfoot Grass, Summer Grass, Winter Grass, and other grassy weeds. 

When to Kill Winter Grass

Winter Grass must be treated at the right time of the year, otherwise, the herbicide will have no effect whatsoever in killing the weed.

We have explained that Winter Grass begins germinating underground in May and that Winter Grass Killer acts on the root of the weed, also underground.

With this in mind, Winter Grass is best and most easily killed in May, pre-emergent, and before we can even see the weed. You may still kill Winter Grass into June and sometimes July. However, the later we go into winter, the more mature the Winter Grass becomes and the more difficult it is to kill.

Treatments are done as late as July may not even have a good effect, while Winter Grass treatments in August or September simply will not work – the weed is just too strong and will easily outcompete the herbicide.

A Plan to Kill Winter Grass

So the questions are … how can we kill Winter Grass before we can even see it in our Buffalo lawn, and what should we do if it is too late in the season to apply the herbicide?

If we missed the window to kill Winter Grass in May, June and possibly July, then do not attempt treatments, it will only waste your money.

Mark down MAY in your diary for the next year to kill the Winter Grass. Because if you had Winter Grass in your Buffalo lawn this year, it’s a guarantee it will be worse next year, and so it must be planned for and treated properly.

Once the Winter Grass begins to go into massive seeding towards the end of winter, the best thing you can do is to mow the lawn with a rotary mower and catch the clippings.

A rotary mower uses a sucking action to pull clippings off the turf and into the catcher, and will thus do the same for many, but not all Winter Grass seeds. So you are actually making the problem a little less problematic for next year.

Mow more regularly when necessary to ensure that no Winter Grass is left to seed for too long between mowings, otherwise, you’ll be allowing more seeds to fall back into the lawn for more weeds next year.

Once the catcher is full, be sure to empty it into the garden bin and not into the garden bed. You don’t want to be moving the Winter Grass problem from your Buffalo lawn and into your garden beds.

Multiple Winter Grass Treatments

You will notice that not all the Winter Grass will die in the Buffalo lawn after a single treatment of Winter Grass Weed Killer.

If this is the case then a second treatment can be undertaken after 3 to 4 weeks, as long as you are still in the safe time period for killing Winter Grass – which is best between May and June but can also have a good effect on July.

You will also notice that even if you had success in killing Winter Grass this year, it will still emerge next year and the year after. This is because not all weed seeds will germinate in a single year. Instead, they will stagger their emergence over several years as this gives the weeds their greatest chance for survival.

Therefore be aware of this fact, and give another simple Winter Grass treatment in the following years if necessary.

Most important, be sure to check that the pre-emergent controls are suitable for use on your type of Buffalo lawn.

Recommended Products


myhomeTURF recommends OxaFert, which is a combination product containing both fertiliser and pre-emergent herbicide. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.


Spartan 500mL

Spartan is one of the leading pre-emergent Herbicides for the control of Crowsfoot Grass, Summer Grass, Winter Grass, Paspalum and other grassy weeds. Suitable for use on ZoysiaKikuyu, Couch and Buffalo grasses. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.


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