How to Get Rid of Winter Grass in Your Lawn

How to Get Rid of Winter Grass in Your Lawn

Unsightly, bright green clumps taking over your pristine lawn? You’re probably dealing with Winter Grass. 

 Winter grass is a common weed that poses a challenge to maintaining a healthy and pristine lawn in Australia. It is a long-lasting weed that can wreak havoc in lawns for months, with its root systems and prolific seed production quickly overtaking your lawn and returning year after year if left unattended.  

 In this article, we’ll provide valuable insights to help homeowners control winter grass, including how to identify it, methods for prevention and advice on herbicide application and natural remedies. 

 Let’s dive in. 


What is Winter Grass?

Winter grass (Poa annua) is an annual grass weed that thrives in cool-season climates. It is identifiable by its fine texture, light green colour, and boat-shaped leaf tips. 

 Additionally, it often forms dense patches or clumps in lawns, especially during the cooler months. Its distinctive seed heads, resembling tiny panicles, are another characteristic feature that aids in identification. 

 It germinates in autumn and early winter and will continue to grow, start clumping and spreading as the winter continues. By early spring, winter grass is in full growth, shedding thousands of seeds into your turf for emergence the following year. 

 Winter grass’ ability to outcompete desirable turfgrass species and its unsightly appearance make it a common nuisance in Australian lawns. 

How to Control Winter Grass in Your Lawn

You must treat winter grass in your lawn as soon as possible. However, not all chemicals are suitable for all turf types and care needs to be taken when selecting a product to use.  

 Here, we’ll look at 2 ways to control winter grass in your lawn safely using both chemical and natural methods.  

1. Use a Herbicide

Herbicides for winter grass are different from most as they act on the root system rather than on the leaf system like other poisons.  

 Selective herbicides such as Campbells Poa Chek and Envu Tribute are effective for controlling winter grass in established lawns. These herbicides target winter grass while sparing desirable turfgrass species. 

Pre-emergent herbicides can prevent winter grass seeds from germinating. Applying pre-emergent herbicides in late summer or early autumn before winter grass seeds germinate can provide effective long-term control by inhibiting seedling establishment. 

 Tip: We recommend changing up the pre-emergent you use on your lawn. You need to rotate the products, or the winter grass will become accustomed to the active ingredients – it’s like antibiotics. 


When to Apply Herbicides? 

Winter grass must be treated at the right time of year, otherwise the herbicide will not effectively kill the weed.  The best time to treat winter grass is in May, before you can even see the weed. You may still kill winter grass into June and sometimes July. However, the later you go in the winter, the more mature the grass becomes and the more difficult it becomes to kill.  

 Winter grass treatments in August or September simply will not work – the weed is just too strong and will easily outcompete the herbicide. 

How Long do Herbicides Take to Work? 

The more winter grass matures, the more difficult it is to kill, and it will often resist weed sprays.  Expect to treat winter grass for a few years running, as the seed banks will take some time to deplete their stocks in the soil. 

2. Natural Remedies 

Natural control methods offer environmentally friendly alternatives to chemical treatments. Practices such as improving soil health and promoting dense turf growth can help outcompete winter grass. Additionally, regular dethatching and aerating can disrupt winter grass growth and promote a healthier lawn. 

 If winter grass hasn’t germinated, it is sometimes possible to control this weed by mowing it. However, as winter grass has a relatively low profile, it may not be possible to do this without scalping the nearby turf.  

5 Herbicides to Control Winter Grass

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.


Onset 10GR is a granular pre-emergent herbicide offering up to 6-month weed germination protection from a broad range of grass weeds including Crabgrass & Summergrass, Parramatta Grass, Crowsfoot, Paspalum and Wintergrass. 5kg of Onset can treat up to 250sqm. 


Echelon Duo 5kg – is a combination granular Herbicide, Insecticide and Fertiliser for the preemergent control of Summer Grass, Crowsfoot Grass, Wintergrass and Creeping Oxalis. For pests, Echelon Duo offers control of African Black Beetle, Argentinian Scarab and Billbug.


Barricade 1L is a pre-emergent liquid herbicide with the active ingredient Prodiamine (480 g/L) and used to prevent weeds such as Barnyard Grass, Crab Grass, Parramatta Grass, Rat’s Tail, Summer Grass, Crowsfoot Grass, African Lovegrass, Bahia Grass, Kentucky Blue Grass, Paspalum, Winter Grass, Creeping Oxalis, Cudweed, Prairie Grass, Ryegrass, Sow Thistle and Willowherb. 


Spartan is one of the leading pre-emergent herbicides for the control of Crowsfoot Grass, Summer Grass, Winter Grass, Paspalum and other grassy weeds. With the active ingredient of Prodiamine (480g/L), Spartan is suitable for use on Zoysia, Kikuyu, Couch and Buffalo grasses.


Post-Emergent Control of Winter Grass

Post-emergent control of Winter Grass is also an option once the weed has already germinated. The post-emergent herbicide targets the Winter Grass root system and stunts the growth of the weed. However, unlike pre-emergent herbicide, post-emergent herbicides can not control new generations of the weed.

myhomeTURF recommends Poachek, which is a soluble liquid post-emergent herbicide. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.

Note: Poachek is not suitable for use on Kikuyu grasses.


myhomeTURF also recommends Indigo Duke, which is a post-emergent liquid herbicide. Always read the safety directions and instructions on the product label before use.

Note: Indigo Duke is not suitable for use on Zoysia grasses.


How to Prevent Winter Grass in Your Lawn 

Maintain a Health Lawn 

A healthy, well-maintained lawn is your first line of defence against winter grass invasion. Proper lawn care practices, including regular mowing, watering, and fertilising help promote dense turf growth, reducing opportunities for winter grass to establish itself. 

Hand-Pulling and Cultivation

For small infestations, we recommend hand pulling individual winter grass plants for effective removal. 

Control Winter Grass with myhomeTURF

Protecting your lawn from winter grass requires selective herbicide application, proper lawn maintenance and timely intervention.  

 By following the insights we recommend, homeowners can combat winter grass infestations and maintain a beautiful, weed-free lawn year round. With diligence and strategic management practices, you can keep winter grass at bay and enjoy a healthy, vibrant lawn that enhances your outdoor space.  

 Visit myhomeTURF’s online shop for lawn care, treatment and maintenance products.  

Free Lawn Guide

Sign up for our Newsletter to receive your free guide.

View our Privacy policy

See More Articles About:

Share Article:

Related Articles

What are Perennial Weeds?

Perennial Weeds are longer lived plants that can survive winter or regrow from roots, rhizomes or tubers in spring after a period of dormancy. Many weeds that grow from seed ...

Read More

What Are Annual Weeds?

Annual weeds are relatively short-lived plants that grow from seeds produced in the previous year. Their life cycle is usually restricted to one season during which they grow, ...

Read More

How to Remove Fleabane Weed from Your Lawn

A member of the daisy family, there are two main types of Fleabane weeds: Flaxleaf Fleabane and Tall Fleabane. They’re known by many different names, including Asthma Weed and ...

Read More

Common Lawn Weeds in Western Australia

As our biggest state, Western Australia is a vast land of contrasting climates, from Mediterranean in the south to tropical in the north. In the south-west, the most populated ...

Read More

Common Lawn Weeds in New South Wales

\Temperate climates, such as New South Wales, experience four distinct seasons that are enjoyable for most of the year. Coastal regions are marked by warm summers and cool ...

Read More

Common Lawn Weeds in Queensland

Tropical and sub-tropical environments, such as Queensland, with its year-round warmth and typically high coastal rainfall make it a gardener’s paradise. There’s no shortage ...

Read More

Common Lawn Weeds in South Australia

South Australia’s climate is mostly semi-arid to arid in the north, with a temperate zone closer to the coast where summers are warm and winters cool. This variation mean...

Read More

Common Lawn Weeds in Victoria

You’ve probably heard people say, “If you don’t like the weather in Victoria, just wait 15 minutes”, or joke that the capital Melbourne has four seasons in one day. Victoria’s ...

Read More

How to Remove Catsear Weed (hypochaeris radicata) from Your Lawn

Often mistaken for the English dandelion, catsear weeds can quickly ruin the aesthetic of your lush green garden oasis, with the appearance of yellow flowers in the middle of ...

Read More

How to Remove Cudweed from Your Lawn

A true broadleaf weed, cudweed is prevalent in winter lawns, when it grows vigorously and out-competes many grasses. Starting with one plant, it forms unsightly clumps that ...

Read More