In your lawn, you want mainly the blades of grass to spread there and they appear in a lush green. Numerous weeds make your life difficult and millet is also known to haunt the lawns.
Millet is an annual plant. It is also known by the botanical names: Setaria ssp. or Digitaria ssp.
It spreads by seed, which means that the weed could quickly be found throughout the garden. A problem with millet is that the flower spikes form relatively flat. This makes it impossible to simply use a lawn mower to chop up the flowers and later remove the entire root. Combined with the large number of seeds spread by millet, there is a great risk that the weed will damage your lawn.
Typically, millet is found in lawns during the months of May through the end of July. In exceptional cases, if the weather is favorable, it may grow until the end of August. Approximately 15,000 seeds are produced per plant, allowing for rapid spread.
To preserve your beautiful lawn, you should take swift countermeasures when you discover this weed. How can you control millet in the lawn and how do you prevent a new infestation?
Why does the millet grow in the lawn?
For the growth of millet must meet two conditions.
The lawn does not have a dense turf. There are bare patches that the millet can fill up.
The second important factor is the weather. Only from higher temperatures the millet feels really well in the soil. Therefore, usually from the end of May millet finds itself in the garden and begins to germinate.
A low pH value of the soil is advantageous for millet. If this is slightly acidic, there are better growing conditions for the weed, so it spreads even faster in the garden.
Therefore, be especially on guard when the thermometer regularly breaks through the 20°C mark and the lawns are bare. Then there are optimal conditions for millet to take root in the lawn.
How to recognize millet?
There are a few different weeds and diseases that can infest your lawn. Be it fungi in the lawn or clover, which also thrives and multiplies in acidic soil.
The seeds of millet enter the garden in different ways. Either they are blown away by the wind or birds drop them. Seeds may also be carried in when the lawn is newly planted and the soil is replenished. The lawn seed, on the other hand, is subject to strict quality controls. Through these, the introduction of millet can be excluded.
In the garden, millet is relatively easy to identify. Depending on the type of millet, its appearance differs. The cultivated millet in particular is perceived as a nuisance. This grows up to one meter high, is self-pollinating and germinates from a temperature of 20°C. Since the millet belongs to the cereal plants, the spikes are especially characteristic.
Does the millet die on its own?
All types of millet count annual grasses. This makes your job easier, because in the fall these weeds die off by themselves. So, if you discover millet at a late stage, you can wait until the problem disappears all by itself.
To survive, millet in the lawn needs warm temperatures and adequate sunlight. If the days get shorter and colder, the weeds will die.
Still, that doesn’t make the problems go away. The millet may die, but the multitude of seeds make it through the winter without a problem. It is believed that the seeds will remain germinable in the soil for decades.
This makes it a good idea to control millet as soon as it is discovered to prevent the seeds from spreading. Once the seeds are in the soil, it is difficult to get rid of them.
How can you fight millet in the lawn?
To fight millet, there are several environmentally friendly methods that promise success. However, you need to be aware that this work will require some effort to keep millet out of your yard in the long run.
Probably the most laborious but also the safest method is to remove the millet manually. Discover the weed, then do not hesitate and go directly to action.
Use a weed cutter to reach deep into the roots and lift the entire plant out of the ground. By doing this, you prevent the roots from remaining intact and the millet from simply growing back. Do this again with each new plant to prevent millet from spreading through the garden.
Scarify the lawn
If millet has already spread more, dethatching is an effective way to lift the plant out of the ground. With the help of the manual scarifier, the root is lifted so that it can be either more easily pulled out manually or removed with a lawn mower. As part of ordinary lawn care, do not underestimate scarifying and integrate it as a measure to remove millet. With the lawn mower, make sure that it is set lower to reach the millet as well.
In the fight against millet in the lawn, you can also use chemical means. However, in their application, these are only something for experienced gardeners. You may apply the chemicals in your garden and no effect will be achieved.
Therefore, it is recommended that you prefer to use gentle biological means. By dethatching, mowing and manual removal, you can well control the weeds without using chemicals.
Prevent the millet
It is best if the millet does not find its way into your lawn in the first place, saving you a lot of work. These methods can prevent infestation so that the grass grows undisturbed.
Maintain a dense turf
Millet is hardly able to displace the grasses. Therefore, it can only establish itself where there are bare patches in the turf.
Pay special attention to the health of your lawn. Apply the appropriate fertilizer regularly and if you discover bare patches, reseeding is necessary. By doing so, you will strengthen the lawn and millet will find little room to spread.
Optimal lawn care
Preparation of the lawn does not begin in the spring. It is necessary throughout to care for the soil so that the lawn grows sufficiently dense.
In the fall, dethatching is recommended for this purpose. This way you will already remove some weeds and the lawn will have a higher robustness.
Avoid scarifying the lawn during hot periods. This will allow you to raise the millet in the lawn a bit, but it will affect the turf.
Also, check the pH of the lawn regularly. If it is too acidic, you should apply a lawn lime so that the soil is back in the optimal range. Your lawn will also benefit from this and grow better.
Also, prevent waterlogging in the lawn and do proper watering. If your lawn is healthy, millet species will find little room to spread.
Keep the lawn free of millet
As the days get sunnier and warmer, you can finally devote more time to gardening. But your joy may be dampened if you discover millet in your lawn. This weed prefers warm temperatures and can be found in the garden from around the end of May.
Remove the plant, including the root, to prevent further spread. After that, the main thing is to make sure the lawn is in good health. Eliminate bare spots and reseed to prevent weeds from establishing there.
With these tips, you will no longer find millet in your lawn and can look forward to the season.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.