Weeds, which are conspicuous by their thick, unsightly clumps, are best kept in check by good lawn care and the thickest possible turf. Millet in the lawn can be easily removed manually for smaller areas. For larger areas, it may be necessary to chemically control and destroy millet. As a heat-loving grass, it has emerged from the south over time and is now native throughout Europe. Using chemicals to combat it should always be a last resort.
Millet is the oldest cereal and still serves as a valuable food source in many countries. Millet belongs to the sweet grasses (Poaceae). Species that are a thorn in the side of professional farmers and amateur gardeners include mostly feral forms of cultivated millet (Panicum miliaceum subsp. miliaceum), loggerhead millet (Panicum miliaceum subsp. agricolum), and weedy millet (Panicum miliaceum subsp. ruderale). Undisturbed, they reach a height of up to one meter. This grass species is annual, self-pollinating, and reproduces only by seed. In order to germinate, they require permanent temperatures of 20° C and above. Millet is very fertile and grows rapidly.
Most often millet enters home gardens through soil fills. In vineyards and cornfields it is a classic weed. Turf seed contaminated with millet seed is very unlikely. New lawns and bare patches in lawns are especially susceptible to millet. Millet grasses need plenty of light and heat to grow.
The weed millet also thrives only under good conditions. It needs light, warmth and space. A well-manicured lawn, densely grown, can make it difficult for millet to take hold. Bare spots in the lawn should therefore be replenished with new lawn seed as soon as possible. Sufficient water and nutrients for the lawn are also part of the precaution, against weeds and for a healthy turf. By repeated reseeding with grass seed, you get a denser and denser lawn over time. For this purpose, there are extra fast-germinating seeds in specialized stores.
If a new lawn is being laid, autumn is an ideal time for this. It is then too cool for millet to germinate. If gaps are found in the following spring, they should be filled as quickly and early as possible with reseeding. After sowing, the lawn should be fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer. This will also strengthen any weeds that may be present, but it is important for the assertiveness of the desired grass blades.
If in May disturbing grasses shoot high from the lawn, then it can already not be millet. Millet grasses need a few warm days, including consistently warm soil, before they germinate at all. Thus, they do not become visible until the end of May. If the summer is hot and dry, millet finds optimal conditions for survival, while the grass grows sparsely. Annual millet is in a hurry to reproduce. Therefore it starts
Therefore, it starts sowing the next generation quickly after germination, already in June after a short flowering. If temperatures drop to 15 °C in autumn, the grasses turn brown and die. If you then discover sporadic millet in the grass in June, it is best to take action directly. If you can pull out or prick out the clumps in June, before they flower, you have already won the battle. Since millet does not root deeply, this can be done quite easily.
If the infestation is larger, it is worthwhile to scarify the lawn shallowly. The best time to do this is on a summer day that is not too hot and dry. Scarifying causes the millet stalks to straighten up and can be mowed off. If necessary, you then apply a reseed to the sparse areas.
Other control measures
Using herbicides in lawns is difficult. This is because the poisons against weeds usually do not discriminate between good and undesirable grasses. For stubborn millet problems and larger lawns, treatment with herbicides may be necessary.
An existing lawn, with stubborn millet growth, can be treated with a pre-emergent. Already emerged millet must be controlled in the early stages, preferably in April. This will prevent flowering and thus seed formation. After tillering (branching), it is difficult to control with commercial agents. This is done by treating the lawn early in April with a so-called pre-emergent herbicide. This herbicide is absorbed by the millet through its upper and lower plant parts and stops its growth. No reseeding or reseeding should take place before or after the application of the herbicide. At least until the 4th cut.
If the millet is already emerged, there are post-emergence herbicides. This should be applied as early as possible, before flowering and the
formation of side shoots. Treatment is usually done between May and August. Once the product is evenly distributed on the lawn, it should not rain for at least 6 hours afterwards. So pay attention to the weather forecast in advance. In heavily infested areas, a second treatment may be necessary after 1-2 weeks.
Tip: If you can’t avoid using a herbicide, don’t just buy it at a discount store or hardware store. In the specialized trade you can get advice for the suitable agent and tips for an effective application.
Accept even if you stop fighting something, you can still win. Lawns are actually monocultures, so they will always be susceptible to wild grasses and other weeds. Nature strives for the greatest possible diversity of species. So if you don’t value or depend on a uniform lawn, you may consider giving up the fight. Grasses like millet make hay valuable for compost and small livestock. Those who are comfortable with a natural lawn will have much less to worry about and work with their lawn, nay, their meadow.
The most effective way to achieve a varietally clean lawn is to manually remove emergent millet grasses before they bloom. The use of herbicides is only worthwhile for large-scale heavy infestations. The use of chemicals not only pollutes the environment, it is also quite costly and labor intensive.
- Things to know about millet in the lawn
- Possibilities of millet control in the lawn
To prevent millet from germinating, the new seed should therefore be treated with a slow-release fertilizer.
This strengthens the new lawn, making it more resistant to the unwanted millet weed.
The flat-growing millet plants also straighten up due to the lawn fertilizer and can thus be mowed or weeded more easily.
Whereas weeding is the most effective and efficient method of millet control.
- The formation of millet seed should be avoided if possible, as it cannot be removed from the lawn.
- In addition, the seed survives in the soil and multiplies in this way.
- Dethatching is another way to contain millet growth.
- By shallow dethatching the lawn, the weeds are lifted, making them much easier to mow down.
- Following this, fertilizer applications will strengthen the lawn while encouraging healthy, dense growth.
- Millet is an annual plant, prefers a soil temperature of about 20 °C and consequently dies back in autumn.
- To close any gaps in the turf, reseed lawn from mid-April to early May.
Other lawn weeds – various control options
- Weeds such as clover, dandelion, goutweed or moss can also severely hinder lawns from growing healthily.
- A well-kept play lawn, golf lawn or ornamental lawn requires intensive care through regular watering, scarifying and fertilizing.
- Liming can also re-neutralize acidic soil and thus counteract moss growth in particular.
- Most weeds do not tolerate constant cutting back, so regular lawn cutting is also part of effective weed control.
- Scarifying removes herbs and lawn thatch so that the lawn is once again supplied with sufficient light and oxygen.
- Goutweed and dandelions are best removed with a weed whacker.
- Care should be taken to remove the roots completely so that the plants cannot grow back.
Controlling lawn weeds with herbicides
- If lawns are already extensively infested with weeds, natural control agents will not help in most cases.
- Then the use of special herbicides against weeds and grass weeds can bring the lawn back into shape.
- Foliar herbicides have an extensive spectrum of action against stubborn herbs.
- The chemical weed removers work from the above-ground plants to the roots.
- Weed herbicides are also suitable for preparing lawn reseeding. There are also combined weed killers and lawn fertilizers.
- By providing nutrients and simultaneous weed control, any gaps that occur in the lawn can be quickly closed.