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Grassy Lawn Weeds in Wisconsin & Minnesota (and What to Do About Them)


When it comes to weeds, you probably don’t discriminate.

Get rid of them all, please.

But some weeds are extra tricky. They look a lot like grass.

And many of them are an extra pain to banish.

What’s the best way to get rid of grassy lawn weeds in Wisconsin and Minnesota?

Let’s take a look.

First, a Quick Weed Identification Lesson

Just so we know what we’re dealing with here, grassy weeds are different than broadleaf weeds like dandelions and clover.

While broadleaf weeds have wide leaves with a main vein in the center, and are pretty easy to spot, grassy weeds look a lot like desirable grasses. They blend in. Then, they take over. 

Grassy Lawn Weeds in Wisconsin and Minnesota: Which Ones Are Treatable?

Grassy weeds are extra tough. But some are treatable.

Here’s a look:


Crabgrass is a warm-season annual with an impressive claim to fame: each crabgrass plant produces as many as 75,000 seeds in one growing season.

Crabgrass in lawnThose pesky seeds stay behind, ready to germinate the following spring and start the evil cycle all over again.

Your mission: prevent those stubborn seeds from becoming more seed-producing plants.

So pre-emergent treatment is crucial — targeting those seeds as they germinate and take root in the soil. 

While most lawn care companies in our area do one crabgrass application in the spring, here at RainMaster, we do two, one in early spring and another in late spring.

Double protection. Longer-lasting results.

When Crabgrass Is Extra Pesky 

Crabgrass is stubborn and can sneak through, even if you applied pre-emergent.

It’s especially good at popping up in thinner areas of your lawn or along the edges. Spot-treat these invaders with post-emergent crabgrass killer. 

Yellow Nutsedge

Nutsedge isn’t as common as crabgrass, but it has a secret weapon that makes it extra tough to control. It spreads across your lawn using an underground system of tubers called “nutlets.”

Nutsedge lawn weed in grassYes, “nutlets” is a cute little word. Don’t be fooled.

This complex underground system allows new weeds to sprout with abandon throughout your yard.

One Yellow Nutsedge plant can produce thousands of nutlets each year, which can each eventually produce nutsedge patches several feet wide.

These nutlets can survive deep in your soil for up to 10 years before emerging to produce new nutsedge plants.

This weed is intense. It’s not like a dandelion that you can spray and kill. 

It grows fast. Pre-emergent doesn’t stop it. There are ways to control it, but you can’t totally eliminate it. 

We use a specific product to suppress nutsedge, and we include this treatment as needed (one or two times a season) in our lawn care programs at no extra charge.

Now the Real Villains: Untreatable Grassy Weeds 

Some grassy lawn weeds in Wisconsin and Minnesota are real supervillains: 


Quackgrass is another cute name for a not-so-adorable weed. 

It’s a cold-hardy perennial weed, which means it will come back year after year.

Quackgrass lawn weedThere’s a double whammy — it reproduces from both seed and long underground stems that lurk as much as six feet below the surface. 

Like crabgrass, quackgrass loves to take hold where your grass is weak and unhealthy.

While pre-emergent can help reduce quackgrass, the only way to kill it is with a non-selective herbicide like Roundup.

Homeowners usually balk at that suggestion, knowing that it will also kill their lawn, leaving big brown spots.

We get it. But those brown spots can be re-seeded and renewed. 

Poa Annua

With the common name of annual bluegrass, Poa Annua is one of the most common grassy lawn weeds. It germinates in late summer or early fall, grows throughout the fall, then flowers the following spring.

Poa annua lawn weedThe only real option to try to control this weed is to spray it multiple times with a non-selective weed killer, like Roundup, while it‘s actively growing and then renovate these areas with grass seed.

But remember, it’s a supervillain —it might still reappear, sprouting from seeds that are dormant in the soil beneath.  (Supervillains are the worst.) 

The Good News: Grassy Weeds Hate Healthy Lawns

You’ve probably heard us say this before, but it’s worth repeating: weeds hate healthy lawns.

A thick, healthy lawn will crowd out weeds, making it tough for them to take hold.

How to get that healthy weed-resistant lawn?

Here are some tips:

Mow High

Taller grass helps a lawn grow thicker. Mow too short, and the soil heats up, helping those pesky weed seeds to germinate. Aim to have grass blades that are approximately 3-3.5” tall when you finish mowing.

Proper Watering

A lawn that’s too wet or too dry encourages weeds, including grassy weeds. 

Lawn irrigation to prevent weedsA professionally-installed irrigation system makes proper watering easier. But if that’s not in the budget right now, do it yourself with your trusty hoses, timers, and sprinklers. It will just take more time and energy from you.

Use Pro-Quality Lawn Care Products

All lawn care products are not the same.

Conscientious professionals follow the latest research and trends and know which products actually deliver. It often means spending more money for an improved product vs. the 20-year old standby that competitors and DIY lawn care programs utilize to keep costs down.

The same thing goes for low-quality fertilizer and grass seed. Cheap grass seed might actually have grassy weed seeds in it!  

Cheap products won’t get you that thick, healthy lawn that you’re expecting.

Remember, the thicker and healthier your lawn, the harder it will be for grassy weeds to take hold.

Have a Proactive Lawn Care Plan

Healthy lawns don’t just happen. Plan ahead. 

Choose a complete, proactive lawn care program that includes both preventative and curative treatments to target weeds.

Hire a Great Lawn Care Company in Eau Claire, WI or Minneapolis 

Hire a lawn care company you can trust to show up, deliver great results, and remove stress and worry from your life. 

lawn team liquid 3Battling grassy weeds will be part of a great company’s plan for your lawn.

At RainMaster, we believe the best lawn care services focus on your lawn’s total health, with programs that start deep below the soil’s surface.

Healthy soil. Healthy roots. Beautiful, healthy green grass. Fewer weeds. 

Ready to Get Rid of Grassy Weeds? Trust RainMaster 

You have better things to do than worry about grassy weeds invading your lawn.

Consider it a team effort. Let’s create a custom nutrition plan for your lawn, so the roots will be nourished, the soil packed with nutrients, and your grass so thick and healthy, even supervillain grassy weeds will have a tough fight ahead.

Are you ready to stop battling weeds at your lawn in Eau Claire, WI or the Minneapolis area? Request a quote today! We’ll review your options together so you can make a great choice. Then, you can finally enjoy your lawn and stop worrying about it.

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Image sources: quackgrass, poa anua 

Topics: Lawn Care

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