Barnyardgrass is an annual grassy weed that is also known by its scientific name, Echinochloa crus-galli. Weed removal through cultural practices, such as proper mowing and watering, is ineffective.
Barnyardgrass is easily identified by its coarse, sprawling vegetation and purple-tinged stem. This grassy weed features a broad, continuous collar and compressed sheaths that are very flat and purplish near the base. Its blades are flat and narrow at the base and thick mid-vein—they may also be sparsely haired along the edges. Barnyardgrass has a seed head forming a coarse, branching panicle. Its stems are often found lying flat in the grass.
This lawn weed prefers moist, nutrient-rich soils and is often found growing in croplands, nurseries, home lawns and landscaped areas. Barnyardgrass thrives throughout most of North America. These grassy weeds are annuals, meaning they live for only one season and are typically easy to control because they lack the complex underground structures needed to spread new plant growth through creeping roots. Still, annuals produce tons of seeds that can infest and dominate your yard under the right conditions.
Because of its horizontal, fan-shaped growth tendencies, cultural weed control methods—such as hand-pulling lawn weeds or proper watering and mowing—are largely ineffective for getting rid of Barnyardgrass from your lawn or landscaping. Start fighting against lawn weeds like Barnyardgrass early—a healthy, dense lawn can help prevent this grassy weed from ever establishing itself. Where large infestations are present, physical weed removal can be effective but is often time-consuming and impractical.