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Poa annua is a grassy weed that pops up every year in Georgia lawns, and it has become more of a problem in the Southeast during the last five to six years. There are a range of environmental factors and turf conditions that feed into weed pressure.  

Poa annua is also referred to as annual bluegrass—it’s a clumping grass that sticks out because of its lime green color, thicker texture and a seed head you’ll notice after it first develops. This seed head is what causes poa annua to spread so readily. And, it’s reason poa annua becomes a problem year after year. Lawn renovation of cold-season fescue can churn up soil and expose poa annua seeds, which love when there are bare, weak areas of lawn to fill in.

The good news is, there are ways to reduce poa annua pressure and stop a significant problem before it starts. Here are the poa annua basics: where and when you’ll find it; how to prevent the grassy weed; and what to do if you’ve already got a poa annua problem in your Georgia turf.

Identifying Poa Annua In Georgia Turf

how to control poa annuaProper identification of turfgrass weeds is the key to preventing and treating them. A lawn care professional can diagnose poa annua, which is known for its lighter green color, shallow roots and seed head. It can look like bright, green fur balls in your lawn—it really sticks out.

Poa annua prefers compacted soil (its shallow roots allow it to thrive this way), and you’ll find it in areas of your Georgia lawn that were damaged. When your Atlanta lawn has a fungus problem in summer that damages turf, those weak areas are prime targets for poa annua.

We notice poa annua in cold-season grasses in spring. In warm-season grasses like Bermuda grass, poa annua appears in winter when the turf goes dormant.

Preventing Poa Annua

Poa annua can be challenging to control because it grows quickly. And in Georgia, there’s no “perfect turf” that grows year-round, so whether your lawn is warm- or cool-season grass, there’s a short period of dormancy. When turf is weak, thin or damaged, it is more susceptible to disease and weeds like poa annua. Also, shady areas that have been overwatered can be prime breeding grounds for poa annua because its shallow roots soak up moisture on the surface. (If you water deeply and less frequently, the weed’s roots will not reach down into the soil to “feed.”) So, keep an eye on irrigation system issues where an area of your Georgia lawn might be getting too much water.

The best way to control poa annua is to prevent it from growing in the first place. There are two methods of pre-emergent (preventive) poa annua treatment depending on your turf type.

controlling poa annua in AtlantaCool-Season Poa Annua Prevention: A pre-emergent product that reduces poa annua seeds from germinating should be applied in late August/early September. Ideally, pre-emergent poa annua control is laid down at the time of lawn renovation/reseeding. You can apply a product the day of lawn renovation—or you must wait 10 days until the grass seed safely germinates so the product does not interfere with the growth of healthy grass. Following this, we apply two more poa annua preventive applications 28 to 30 days apart.

Warm-Season Poa Annua Prevention: We believe there are two germination periods now for poa annua—one in early fall and the other in early winter. During both of these times, our grasses are “taking a break” after a hot summer, and probably in the condition of requiring some repair. To protect warm-season grasses, preventive poa annua treatment should be laid down in fall before the end of October to prevent weed germination through winter.

The best prevention is a thick, healthy lawn that allows no room for weeds to take root. Proper mowing and a lawn care program that addresses plant health and disease control will go a long way toward stopping poa annua from developing.

Treating Poa Annua After It Appears

If your Georgia lawn already has poa annua, you can still do something to manage the unappealing weed. And it’s wise to treat it, because once poa annua dies out, you’ll end up with bare spots in your turf. (These bare spots become targets for poa annua once again, since the weed likes to fill in weak areas of the lawn.)

There is a limited selection of poa annua control products on the market—particularly for cool-season fescue grasses—which is why we prefer preventive treatment.

That said, herbicides are used to address poa annua. A lawn can be spot treated in problem areas. Otherwise, herbicides should be applied when warm-season grasses are dormant to ensure that healthy turf is not affected.

Because poa annua is a diverse species, some types might be more easily treated than others. (One herbicide might work for some poa annua, while it is less effective on other strains.)


Treating poa annua requires diligence and a professional who will properly apply products at the right time to preserve healthy lawn while attacking weeds.

A Healthy Georgia Lawn Is The Best Way To Prevent Poa Annua

Weeds move in when there’s “room” in your turf. So, you’re more likely to have a problem with poa annua in your Georgia turf if your lawn faced fungal pressure in summer, has dead or dying spots because of heat pressure, or is otherwise unhealthy.

At HighGrove Partners, we focus on proper lawn maintenance practices that naturally prevent weeds and disease from developing. And, our lawn care program includes poa annua prevention since we know that it is a problem here in the Southeast. Proper identification, prevention and treatment of poa annua on a yearly basis will keep your commercial property mostly free from this unsightly grassy weed.

If you’ve got a question about a problem in your lawn, don’t hesitate to call us any time at 687.298.0550, or fill out this simple contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.


Last modified: November 11, 2016

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