Field woodrush is a weed of lawns. Most gardeners will only become aware that it is present in the lawn when the brown, tassle-like flowerheads appear in spring. These, together with the coarse leaves, can be unsightly in a lawn. Reducing soil acidity is the main way to keep field woodrush in check.
Field woodrush (Luzula campestris) is a grass-like perennial. Its broad-bladed, dark green leaves, are fringed with long, silky hairs.
In March or April it produces dark brown flower and seed heads. These are particularly noticeable before mowing has begun.
It spreads via short, creeping stolons (above ground stem).
Plants that out-compete other more desirable plants or simply invade half the garden are classed as weeds and require control. First, consider whether this can be done using non-chemical means such as forking out. Where these methods are not feasible, chemical controls may need to be used. Choose a weedkiller that is most appropriate for that purpose by reading the label carefully before buying or using.
The best way to eradicate field woodrush and prevent it coming back it to apply lime.
Apply ground chalk or ground limestone in late autumn or early winter, after mowing has ended, at 60g per sq m (2oz per sq yd). Do not use hydrated lime.
Many nitrogen fertilisers acidify the soil and are best avoided. Sulphate of ammonia is particularly acidifying. Most lawn feeds won't significantly affect pH, but where high nitrogen fertilisers are needed consider chicken manure pellets or nitro-chalk (also sold as Nitratechalk) which should be neutral in effect, rather than sulphate of amonnia.
Field woodrush is resistant to lawn weedkillers, but those containing mecoprop-P (e.g. Doff Lawn Spot Weeder, Westland Resolva Lawn Weedkiller or Bayer Lawn Weedkiller 2) may check growth if repeated applications are made and the soil pH is raised by liming.
Weedkillers for gardeners (Adobe Acrobat pdf document outlining weedkillers available to gardeners; see sections 1b and c)
Chemicals: using a sprayer
Chemicals: using safely and effectively
Chemicals: using spot and broad-scale weedkillers