NC State Extension Publications


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Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) is a dense perennial weed of turfgrass. It is often found at field edges and in forest openings, especially in shaded areas with adequate moisture. Nimblewill grows in a very dense mat, and will root at the nodes. It has very slender, thin leaves, which can be confused with bermudagrass. However, nimblewill has a membranous ligule, which can be distinguished from the hairy ligule of bermudagrass.

Cultural Control

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Perennial grass weeds are not desirable as turfgrass species under any conditions. Therefore, every effort should be made to prevent these weedy grasses from becoming established in turf, as selective control measures are usually difficult. Selection of adapted turfgrass species and cultivars and the use of cultural practices are important in minimizing weedy grass encroachment and competition. Management practices include: (1) mowing at the recommended height for the selected turfgrass and removing clippings when seedheads of grassy weeds are present; (2) applying the proper amount of nitrogen at the correct time according to the turfgrass present; and (3) using soil tests to determine needed nutrients and lime.

Chemical Control

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Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Postemergence Control
topramezone, MOA 27 (2.8 L) (Pylex) 0.023 to 0.034 fl oz 1 to 1.5 fl oz 0.021875 to 0.0328125
Precaution and Remarks: Labeled for broadcast treatment use in residential and athletic field turf, as well as in nonresidential turf sites including sod farms, golf courses (excluding greens and collars), parks, roadsides, cemeteries, and commercial properties. Tolerant turf species include Kentucky bluegrass, tall and fine fescue, perennial ryegrass, and centipedegrass at seeding and then anytime beyond 28 days after seeding. Add crop oil concentrate or methylated seed oil for enhanced control at 0.5 to 1% by volume. Don’t apply greater than 2 fluid ounces per acre per application or 4 fluid ounces per acre per year. Bleaching intensity of susceptible weeds reduced and broadleaf weed spectrum increased if tankmixed with quinclorac, [quinclorac + mecoprop + dicamba] or triclopyr. For suppression of above-listed weeds, add triclopyr at 1 pound ai per acre and make either 2 or 3 applications at 3 to 4 week intervals depending on topramezone rate. Creeping bentgrass is marginally tolerant to topramezone at 0.25 fluid ounces per acre. Test on a small area before large-scale use. Sequential applications may be required to achieve desired level of weed control. For bermudagrass and sheashore paspalum use 0.5 to 0.75 ounces per acre plus MSO at 1.5 pints per acre. Apply only to established bermudagrass and seashore paspalum.

Species Data

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    • seedhead is a spike-like panicle, each spike contains a single seed with a long awn (bristle)
    • membranous; minute, irregular edge, less than 0.02 inches (0.5 mm) long
      Figure 2
    • perennial weed
    • absent
    • sharp-pointed; flat, 1-2 inches (25 - 50 mm) long, not hairy except for occasional hairs on edges near the base
      ​Figure 3, Figure 4, Figure 5
    • 0.08 - 0.1 inches (2 - 2.5 mm) wide
    • present; fine
    • present
    • open; usually a few long hairs on upper edges and near throat
      Figure 7
    • flattened; sheath is smooth, shorter than internode
Nimblewill vernation

Figure 1. Nimblewill vernation.

Nimblewill ligule

Figure 2. Nimblewill ligule.

Nimblewill leaf blade

Figure 3. Nimblewill leaf blade.

Nimblewill leaf blade

Figure 4. Nimblewill leaf blade.

Nimblewill leaf blade

Figure 5. Nimblewill leaf blade.

Nimblewill collar

Figure 6. Nimblewill collar.

Nimblewill sheath margin

Figure 7. Nimblewill sheath margin.


Extension Specialist (Turfgrass/Forage Crop Weed Mgt)
Crop & Soil Sciences

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Publication date: Nov. 8, 2017

Recommendations for the use of agricultural chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by NC State University or N.C. A&T State University nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use agricultural chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage regulations and examine a current product label before applying any chemical. For assistance, contact your local N.C. Cooperative Extension county center.

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