Velvetgrass

Description

Velvetgrass is a clumping perennial weed of turf, which can have characteristics of a winter annual in warmer climates. It is found in moist areas in fields, lawns, and roadsides. The stems and leaves are densely hairy, and resemble velvet when touched. Velvetgrass was widely used years ago as a forage grass, particularly in tall fescue in the western part of the state. The presence of velvetgrass is due to its former widespread use.

Cultural Control

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.

Species Data

  • SEEDHEAD / FLOWER
    • seedhead is a soft, purple panicle with soft hairs on each spikelet
  • VERNATION TYPE
    • leaves rolled in the bud
  • LIGULE TYPE
    • membranous; up to 0.01 inches (0.3 mm) long, rounded
      Figure 1
  • GROWTH SEASON / LIFE CYCLE
    • perennial weed
  • AURICLE TYPE
    • absent
  • LEAF BLADE TIP SHAPE
    • sharp-pointed; dense, velvety, short, hairs above and below, edges with short hairs, sharply creased below
      Figure 2
  • LEAF BLADE WIDTH
    • 0.2 - 0.4 inches (5 - 10 mm) wide
  • STOLON PRESENCE
    • absent
  • RHIZOME PRESENCE
    • absent
  • COLLAR TYPE
  • SHEATH MARGIN
  • SHEATH TYPE
    • flattened; sheath has dense, velvety, short hairs
Velvetgrass liguleFigure 1. Velvetgrass ligule.Velvetgrass leaf blade tipFigure 2. Velvetgrass leaf blade tip.Velvetgrass collar typeFigure 3. Velvetgrass collar type.Velvetgrass collar typeFigure 4. Velvetgrass collar type.Velvetgrass sheath marginFigure 5. Velvetgrass sheath margin.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Charles PeacockDr. Charles PeacockProfessor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist (919) 515-7615 charles_peacock@ncsu.eduCrop and Soil Sciences - NC State University
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close

This Extension factsheet can also be viewed at:
https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/velvetgrass