Its inexpensive price tag, low maintenance and ability to grow where other plants won't makes pampas grass a common choice for some homeowners. However, pampas grass can cause more harm than good. Large and obstructive, pampas grass can quickly get out of control and begin taking over an area. Brush and weed killer applied correctly will successfully get rid of the unwanted pampas grass.
Pampas grass is a perennial that grows up to 12 feet high and features large, feathery white, pink or purple plumes in the summer months. This hardy grass can quickly take over your lawn and become invasive. Pampas grass grows in tight, thick clusters and can thrive in areas where other grasses and plants can't. The grass blades are sharp, and can poke and scratch if you brush up against them. Furthermore, pampas grass self-seeds and can spread quickly.
According to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, herbicides containing glyphosate will systemically kill the entire pampas grass plant, including the roots. However, you may have to apply several applications of the brush and weed killer to completely kill the pampas grass. A broad-spectrum herbicide, gyphosate controls weeds, broad-leafed plants and grasses. First registered in the United States in 1974, glyphosate is one of the most used herbicides in the USA. Glyphosate works by preventing the plant from producing certain proteins it needs to survive. Since glyphosate binds with the soil, it is unlikely it will pollute groundwater. Glyphosate herbicides are available at home improvement stores and garden centres in a variety of brand names.
Before applying the glyphosate-containing brush and weed killer, mow the pampas grass down. If the grass is too tall to cut with a mower, hack it with a hatchet to get the grass as short as possible. Some herbicides require diluting the chemical with water before use. Refer to the herbicide's label for more information. Spray the glyphosate herbicide on the pampas grass in the morning when the air is calm and there is no chance of rain. Coat the entire plant with the glyphosate, and repeat the process after seven days. Depending on the brand of herbicide, it may require another treatment sooner than seven days. Check the instructions on the bottle for the brand's specific directions.
Before using any herbicide, read and follow all directions and warnings on the bottle. Always wear rubber gloves when using chemicals, and wash your hands with soap and water after use. Glyphosate is low in toxicity and is not absorbed through the skin. Ingesting glyphosate will cause throat burning, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Breathing in glyphosate spray will cause irritation of the nose, eyes and throat. Keep children and pets away from the area when using any herbicides.
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- Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk Project; Pampas Grass; Charles Chimera, et al.; March 1999
- The Texas AgriLife Extension Service: Grass Control
- The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment: Herbicides for Pampas Grass Control
- Oregon State University National Pesticide Information Center; Glyphosate General Fact Sheet; September 2010