Weeds: Barnyardgrass: Echinochloa crus-galli

Photo by: J.A. Kropf
Use IPM (Integrated Pest Management) for most successful weed management.

Family: Poaceae (Graminae)
Cycle: Summer annual
Plant Type: Grass

Description: Barnyardgrass grows in clumps up to five feet tall. Leaf blades are smooth, flat, and broad (about 1/2 inch or more) with a pointed tip. The leaf sheaths are smooth to sparsely hairy and may be tinged reddish or purplish. Barnyardgrass leaves are unique among our weedy grasses, in that they have no ligule (neither membranes nor hairs) at the point where the leaf blade joins the leaf sheath. Stems are normally flattened. Seeds are born in panicles that are broadly triangular in outline, with crowded "branches" that are somewhat prickly in appearance. Seedheads may be green to purplish in color.

Habitat: Barnyardgrass is a widespread weed in cultivated areas including irrigated crops and gardens, along ditch banks, and in waste places. In turf, it is often a problem on borders with low maintenance areas. Barnyardgrass may be a contaminant in bird seed. It is most frequently found in wet spots, earning it another common name of "watergrass".

Management Options
  • Careful digging is useful to manage weed populations. However, digging can carry undesirable weed seed to the surface and foster further germination.
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Reduce weed establishment by maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition.
  • Reduce weed infestation by handpulling weeds.

Revision Date: 6/9/2014
Read the label for application timing of the products listed. Glyphosate and glufosinate products should be applied as spot treatments only! NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination. Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape Areas Turf Areas Bare Ground Areas
  • fluazifop
  • glufosinate
  • oryzalin
  • products containing benefin
  • products containing diquat
  • sethoxydim
  • trifluralin
    • products containing diquat
    What are Bare Ground Areas?


    Hortsense web site created by Carrie Foss, Pesticide Education, and Art Antonelli, Extension Entomology, WSU Puyallup
    Pesticide information review provided by Catherine Daniels, Washington State Pest Management Resource Service
    Database programs developed for Hortsense by Kathleen Duncan, Computer Resources, WSU Pullman
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