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.

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18 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!!

  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

  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.

  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

  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?

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