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Close up of basketgrass.

Basketgrass, A Common Landscape Weed

What is Basketgrass?

Basketgrass is the common name of a species of Oplismenus, a weed commonly found in shady lawns and landscapes. It is also known as woodsgrass, jewgrass and wavyleaf basketgrass.  Many species of Oplismenus grow in Central Florida and Oplismenus setarius is a native perennial while Oplismenus hirtellus is an introduced exotic.  Both species, and others, can be troublesome in home lawns.

Bloom and leaf texture of basketgrass.

Bloom and leaf texture of basketgrass.               Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Why is it a problem?

Basketgrass is problematic in shady areas of the landscape where, once established, it can be difficult to eradicate.  It is shade-tolerant, low-growing and can easily take over an area where turfgrass may be struggling.  It requires little to no irrigation or maintenance and will create a dense groundcover if left alone.

How can I get rid of it?

Basketgrass can be difficult to remove.  It can be  hand pulled and dug up.  A 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch should be applied over the area.  After hand removal, consider planting with a more desirable groundcover such as Asiatic Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) or Liriope (Liriope muscari). Both will handle shady landscapes and grow well under trees.  Over time, they may out-compete the basketgrass.

An herbicide, such as glyphosate, may also be used to remove basketgrass.  Use caution if spraying under or near trees and other plant material as glyphosate products are not selective and will damage and/or kill desirable plants as well.  Always follow the instructions on the label when applying an herbicide product.

Basketgrass densly covers a shady area in the lawn.

Basketgrass densly covers a shady area in the lawn. Photo credit: Anne Yasalonis, UF/IFAS Extension

Where can I find more information?

Oplismenus burmannii
Oplimenus hirtellus
Oplismenus setarius

Link to Basketgrass Fact Sheet

If you have questions about your lawn and landscape, contact the Plant Clinic at (863)519-1057 Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-4:00 pm.  You can also come in with samples or email us photos.

An equal opportunity institution.

45 Comments on “Basketgrass, A Common Landscape Weed

  1. I have something very similar but have been told mine is creeping Jenny. Is this similar & can it be removed the same way? Whatever mine is, it most always in my shady areas & is spreading like a “bad weed” covering about half of my back yard! Help!!

    • I actually WANT basketgrass! It’s the only green ground covering that will grow in my yard in the shade. How/where can I get some?

      • Basketgrass is not commercially available, but you could probably find it in the yard of a friend or neighbor if you really would like to grow it in your yard.

      • Sherry,
        I have basket grass growing in my yard. It dies back in the winter but it’s just starting to make it’s summer appearance. Happy for you to have some if you haven’t found some yet.

        Sylvia Weigand

        • Thanks , go green get rid of st Augustine my whole yard is woods grass it’s beautiful I don’t water it taking resources from my grandchildren.

      • We also love basket grass. We have a patch by our hoses that we could share w you if you’d like. Email me
        Francesca2006 @ bellsouth.net

      • I can give you some samples from my yard to start you off! That grass has flourished with all the rain we’ve gotten lately and I love it!

      • Girl I’m with you. I love this stuff. If you are in orlando I can share some with you.

      • Hi Sherry. I agree. I think it’s a great ground cover. I live in Ocoee and have plenty to spare. If you still need it email me 🙂

  2. Thanks for this article Anne! I’m really surprised to find that EDIS doesn’t have a document discussing Basketgrass after a long search this morning only turned up your blog in connection to UF/IFAS!

    • Thanks, Kaydie! We have been received a TON of questions about basketgrass lately. I couldn’t find anything either, so I consulted with Dr. Marble and wrote this up. I am so glad it was helpful 🙂

  3. Anne, thank you for this timely article! I have been pulling my hair out trying to find information on this – I’m taking the UF Volunteer Master Gardener course for the Manatee county extension service. The class is broken into teams to do a project. Our group project is 10 weeds commonly found in lawns… and we are creating brochures to hand out to clients outlining how to deal with said weed- whether it’s a summer or winter annual, perennial, biennial… pre-and post emergent advise… you get the idea. We divided the weeds and lucky me, I picked Basketgrass! never having any idea how long and hard I would search, only to find information on the Oplismenus varieties found in Maryland and such, but zilch for the Florida variety except as a desirable. When I mentioned the difficulty I was having I was told by an instructor that the variety we deal with is Bristle Basketgrass, Oplismenus setarius, which made it even harder to find anything! And I keep coming up with inconsistencies regarding which Oplismenus is which.
    Can I get your permission to utilize the information you’ve provided for my project? Feel free to email me back and we could talk directly if you like. I can use all the help I can get on this!
    Thank you in advance!
    Andrea Lewis

    • Just curious as it’s been some time since the post … I’m in central Fl .. have a St Augustine lawn … have already attempted an eradication using glyphosate ( then plugs from a healthy section ) but the basket is back ( with a vengeance ) and had seed spread to other areas … I’m looking at “homeopathic “ options using cinnamon bark … or a “gas attack “ using ethylene … is there anything that discriminates between the two … I’m afraid I’m past the mechanical removal point

  4. Does this plant produce seeds on thin stalks? The seeds are sticky and attach to clothes and animal fur. If so, is the seed poisonous when the dog licks it off its fur? Kinda worried about this.

    • Pamela, Yes the seed stalks are thin and can stick to fur, pants etc. I don’t think they are poisonous as I have not found anything to indicate that. The seeds are very small and perhaps you could wipe off your dog’s fur before it comes indoors to eliminate any excess ingestion of the seeds.
      Let us know if you have any other questions by contacting the Plant Clinic at 863-519-1041.

  5. To me, basketgrass is an attractive, native ground-cover which will grow where other things (grass) will not. I’m trying to establish it in my shady back yard.

  6. I’m with you Pat, I don’t mind the stuff at all. My yard is about 80% of the stuff and it is free to take over the rest. Has to be considered extremely friendly to the environment. Requires zero care. No watering, no fertilizing, no pest control. After mowing the neighbors will comment on how nice my yard looks, if they only knew.

    • I’m totally with you. This is the best “weed” I have in my yard. I love this stuff. Its so soft to walk on and low growing. Just wish it grew in sunny areas

  7. Woods grass. as stated. is not a grass, and is vulnerable only to non-selective herbicides like glyphosate. Control has to start in early summer, when last season’s seeds sprout, by hand pulling the first sprouts. I cut one time off a cultivator, so there are only two, close together. I use that to loosen the root – other wise it wants to break off at ground level and leave the root. It spreads extremely fast, so get out and scour the yard the first time you see a sprout, and keep at it. For areas that are already out of control, you probably need to spray the entire area, realizing you will kill everything, and end up with a bare spot you will need to seed or plug. One happy note is that it does not like strong sun. It may help to trim branches that shade the yard where woods grass is a problem. That also helps bahia compete.

  8. Basketgrass has invaded shady areas of my St. Augustine lawn. Researching a “cure”, one site said “Crabgrass Control”, a non-toxic product containing wheat and corn flours, cinnamon and baking soda will kill Basketgrass without harming St. Augustine. Another site recommends plain baking soda, but, according to other sites, baking soda alone doesn’t work as well as “Crabgrass Control”. Glad to learn there’s a product that may kill crabgrass AND Basketgrass without harming St. Augustine. So, hoping it works! Will give it try when it cools off a bit.
    A Florida Master Gardener

    • Oh my GOSH, thank you for the crabgrass control info on this nightmare basketgrass! I have NO idea where this stuff came from but it has invaded my shade garden like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’ll try it.

      • Just discovered my yard is happily growing Basketgrass…here and there..my lawn guy said it is protected and native….where the patch, is it is certainly pretty but will die back soon…hmm…showed up suddenly, would not mind it really but it seems to pop up all over…there is a swamp across the street from us and I suspect it jumped the street to come for a visit…Hey….it’s green….

  9. I wish you wouldn’t promote the use of glyphosates. Why not promote something like flame weeding?

  10. I really like the bristle basketgrass in the shady, wet area in my side yard, as well! I’m in Kissimmee and we have it growing near our recycling and trash bins, on the west side of our home, which is full shade. It’s green, soft to walk in, covers nicely, and looks nice in my opinion. I never need to mow it. Thumbs up!

  11. I agree with the fans of basketgrass. It recently took over my otherwise bare or overgrown with chamberbitter horse paddock. It looks very attractive and green under the oak trees.
    My question is is it safe for horses to eat? They do nibble on it but I don’t know about long term effects?

  12. Hi, I am in the Hawthorne area of Florida, I discovered what I was told is Wavyleaf Basket Grass in my yard in the late summer of 2018. Unfortunately my chihuahua mix fur baby is allergic to it and it has been hard on him, he licks his feet raw and scratches his ears raw as well. Of course we are doing all we can think of for him but my husband seems skeptical that I am correct about the cause and has not gotten aggressive with eradicating. Do you know of any other cases of this problem? And I’ve read about the grass in Virginia and Maryland and it seems eradicating it is a good idea period.

  13. I have been dealing with this for several years now! A challenge to say the least. Are there any pre-emergent products that are working to fight off the basketgrass before it sprouts up in the spring? Are you getting any info that a product might be forthcoming?

  14. I am using Halts Crabgrass Preventer in March, May and later in fall. It has successfully suppressed the BasketGrass that was overtaking parts of my lawn in the shade. It does not kill but is a pre-emergent/preventer. I found that I need more than one application during the growing season.

    I have also tried sprinkling baking soda on it and it kills the BasketGrass without killing my St. Augustine grass, but it does stunt St. Augustine a bit. Changes the Ph. Also hard to apply.

  15. I live in The Woodlands, Texas. This stuff has invaded my yard. The shallow root system spreads fast. Pulling it seems to make it worse. Agrilawn does kill it but it grows so fast it seems to be impossible to get it all.

    At this point, I’m considering pulling up the grass and starting over with new st Augustine.

    What pre emergent can I use next year. And would it be helpful to add topsoil early spring?

    • Dana,
      The best way to get rid of basketgrass is handpulling or using a non-selective herbicide (like glyphosate) on the weeds. There is no selective herbicide for basketgrass. If it is in an area where you can mulch it, a good 2-3 inch layer of mulch may do the trick.

      I am not sure what county you are in in TX, but you can contact your local Extension office here: https://agrilifepeople.tamu.edu/extensionLists/counties they may have some guidance for you as well.

      Good luck–basketgrass is a tricky weed to control!
      Anne

    • I live in Humble, Tx and it has invaded my yard also. Spent countless hours pulling it, but comes back too fast. Everything I put on it to kill it also kills the St. Augustine. I gave up a few years ago and my lawn looks terrible.

  16. How much sun can our Central Florida basketgrass take? My lawn is challenging because part of it srays so sunny it will grow bermudagrass, the other part so shady (under HUGE black-ear trees) it just grows this basketgrass. In hoping the basketgrass can take over the bermuda for aesthetics.

    • Andrea, Basketgrass prefers to grow in the shade. That is why you are observing it in the shade in your yard, while you see the Bermudagrass in the sun (it prefers sun).

  17. As some others have said, I,love my basketgrass and would be happy to have it grow everywhere. I don’t have nor do I want a lawn, so this is ideal!

  18. We have basketgrass growing in a shady part of our back yard. We like that it is covering what is typically a dirt patch. We would like a ground cover that will cover up the dirt patch year round. Does basketgrass die back in the winter? We’re in Tallahassee, FL. Thanks!

    • Brian, Yes it does die back in the winter. You may want to look for an evergreen groundcover such as Asiatic Jasmine, mondo grass, or Liriope.

      Thanks!

  19. The groundcover we have in the shady backyard does look like basket grass, but it is very low growing, no more than 2 inches high. It is easy to walk on, covers the sandy soil, and my dog runs across it and doesn’t tear it up. For those reasons I like it, but is it really basket grass?

  20. Sounds like the perfect lawn alternative under shade trees. Not “troublesome.”

    “It is shade-tolerant, low-growing and can easily take over an area where turfgrass may be struggling. It requires little to no irrigation or maintenance and will create a dense groundcover if left alone.”

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