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Learn Your Lawn: King Ranch Bluestem

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What Is King Ranch Bluestem?


King Ranch Bluestem is warm-season grass known for its drought tolerance and adaptability to a range of soils. It is often found in Texas. It was introduced in the early 1900s for its foraging qualities for grazing animals, as well as for erosion control and reforestation projects. Now, it is considered an invasive and undesirable species, and its presence threatens the abundance and diversity of native species in Texas.


King Ranch Bluestem is easily identified by its long, fine-textured leaf blades, which are bluish green in color and have a slightly rough surface. In late summer to early fall, it produces showy, purple-red spikes of flowers. Its deep, extensive root system helps it tolerate drought conditions. It is well-adapted to a wide range of soils, including sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It has a strong, upright growth habit and grows in dense clumps.


How Can I Control King Ranch Bluestem In My Lawn?


King Ranch Bluestem is one of the most difficult weeds to control in turfgrass. Pre-emergent herbicide can be applied in the spring and fall to prevent seed from germinating, but the existing plant will not die until temperatures turn cold. Post-emergent herbicides will kill existing plants, however, these products are non-selective, meaning they can also damage the desirable grasses in your lawn. 

A thick, healthy, well-maintained lawn is always the best line of defense. This can be achieved through beneficial cultural practices, which include:

  • Core Aeration: Aerating your lawn can improve soil drainage and help reduce the likelihood of lawn diseases. This will also alleviate soil compaction and allow water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil.

  • Fertilize Regularly: Regular applications of Weed Man’s specially formulated, slow-release granular fertilizer will help provide your lawn with adequate nutrients. These applications are timed specifically to avoid over fertilizing the lawn.

  • Watering: Under normal circumstances, you should be watering your lawn a few times per week for 30-45 minutes in each area. During hot and dry periods, most lawns should be watered as much as required to maintain its desired green color. Always water in the early morning so the turf has time to dry by nightfall.

  • Mowing: Maintain a regular mowing schedule with a razor sharp blade. Never remove more than a ⅓ of the grass blade at each mowing.


Recommended Mowing Height

Common Bermudagrass - ¾ to 1¼ inches

Hybrid Bermudagrass - ½ to 1½  inches

Centipedegrass - 1 to 2 inches

Zoysiagrass - 1 to 2½ inches

St. Augustine - 3 to 4 inches

Fescue - 3 to 4 inches


Your local Weed Man professional will be able to offer other solutions and recommend the best form of treatment that is suitable to improve the conditions of your lawn.