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How to Kill Goose Grass

Goose grass, a form of crabgrass, is extremely invasive and difficult to kill. Killing this yard pest will take concentrated effort as well as time, but with the application of the proper pre- and post-emergence herbicides, applied at exactly the right times, goose grass cannot only be controlled, it can be completely eliminated.

Rake and remove as much goose grass as possible during the winter months when goose grass is dormant. Use a spade or a trowel to dig out as many large patches of the weed as you can as soon as the ground is warm enough.

Use a soil thermometer, available at most nurseries and home improvement centers, to keep track of the temperature of the soil in your yard. When soil temperatures reach 64 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit it is time to spread or spray a pre-emergence herbicide containing pendimethalin, prodiamine or dithiopyr on your lawn.

Timing is important. The pre-emergence herbicide must be applied just before the germination of new goose grass seed, just as the ground reaches 65 degrees F. These products generally come in both a granular and liquid form; choose the one that will be the easiest for you to apply and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Wear gloves and a breathing mask when applying herbicides.

Watch carefully for new goose grass to begin growing in early spring, when the ground begins to warm to 65 degrees F or just above. Use a soil thermometer to keep track of your soil temperature. Spread or spray a post-emergence herbicide containing quinclorac or fenoxaprop. Post-emergence herbicides will be in liquid form and must be mixed according to manufacturer's instructions. Spray one of these post-emergence herbicides as soon as your goose grass shows signs of beginning to grow as soil temperatures reach 65 to 67 degrees F. Timing is not as crucial when applying the post-emergence herbicide, but results will be improved if applied when weeds are still young.

Inspect your lawn three to four weeks after applying the post-emergence herbicide. If new goose grass is still present, apply one additional application of the post-emergence herbicide. Wear gloves and a breathing mask when applying herbicide.


Pre-emergence herbicides (either liquid or granular) will likely contain a fertilizer. This is OK.

Applying a pre-emergence herbicide the following spring just before the ground temperature reaches 65 degrees F is excellent insurance for preventing this hard-to-kill weed.

In areas where temperatures do not cause goose grass to become completely dormant, apply a pre-emergence herbicide in early spring, followed by two applications of post-emergence herbicide.

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