Orchardgrass is a common perennial weed of turf, and can be a contaminant in commercial tall fescue seed. The leaves are a characteristic blue-green color, and the seedhead is easy to distinguish from other grasses. In addition, there is a prominent midvein on the underside of the leaves, and the ligule is membranous.
Perennial grass weeds are not desirable as turfgrass species under any conditions. Therefore, every effort should be made to prevent these weedy grasses from becoming established in turf, as selective control measures are usually difficult. Selection of adapted turfgrass species and cultivars and the use of cultural practices are important in minimizing weedy grass encroachment and competition. Management practices include (1) mowing at the recommended height for the selected turfgrass and removing clippings when seedheads of grassy weeds are present; (2) applying the proper amount of nitrogen at the correct time according to the turfgrass present; and (3) using soil tests to determine needed nutrients and lime.
panicle seedhead has stiff branches
leaves folded in the bud
membranous; 0.12 - 0.4 inches (3 - 10 mm) long, collar-like, often with short needle-like projection at the top
Growth Season/Life Cycle
Leaf blade tip shape
sharp-pointed; V-shaped in cross section at base, sharply creased below, deep furrow over midrib, edges rough; lower surface dull, not glossy
Leaf blade width
0.24 - 0.47 inches (6 - 12 mm) wide
divided; distinct, not hairy
mostly open part way
flattened; sheath is smooth to somewhat rough; distinctly flattened