Field woodrush (luzula campestris)

By | 08/12/2014
Field Woodrush

Field Woodrush (Luzula campestris) is noticeable in a lawn in early spring. It can be easily seen as a patch of thicker-type grass, with hairy leaves that have tassel-like black and brown flowers protruding a couple of inches above the usual level of the lawn.

Some folk also know it as Good Friday Grass or Sweeps Brush. It is very common across all areas of the UK and temperate Europe.

Field Woodrush is a very short plant, rarely peeking above the mowing height of the grass.

It usually spreads in small patches, but can spread to a couple of metres across if left unchecked. Woodrush often goes unnoticed in many lawns due to the fact that it blends in with the grasses which surround it. Sometimes a keen eye is needed to even spot it.

Field Woodrush leaves
A Field Woodrush plant

Luzula Campestris is member of the rush (Juncaceae) family of plants.

It is a perennial weed which, once it has made its way onto a lawn, spreads via slow creeping rhizomes or by seed if the flowers are not mowed off and are allowed to set.

Field Woodrush loves acidic lawns

Woodrush is most common in acidic lawns. It is most happy where lawn thatch has built up, weakening the grass and lowering the pH. Many nitrogen fertilisers and iron will tend to acidify the soil, making Woodrush worse. Special management of the weed is often needed to grow it out of the lawn over many years.

Field Woodrush can be controlled through an application of a weed-control as part of a regular treatment package, and I also recommend reducing the acidity through a pH adjustment treatment in the autumn.

If you have a problem with weeds in your lawn, then get in touch. I will be happy to advise.

Kris Lord

10 thoughts on “Field woodrush (luzula campestris)

  1. B Whitehouse

    If I dig the wood rush out about 50 sq metres what depth do I have to take out ?
    Applied limestone and would use quality lawn turf, will this eradicate it ?

  2. Phil McWilliam

    Having read quite a lot about this wood rush weed in lawns it appears that the only way to rid of it is to apply lime in some form or other. Can you commercial buy this in a spray form from your average garden centres.
    Best regards Phil

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Hi Phil,
      Lime is a mineral used to modify the pH of the soil. Woodrush tends to not like more alkali soils, so is discouraged. It won’t remove it in weeks like a herbicide though. It may take years. If you have a very acid soil, adjusting the pH significantly is a very difficult and ongoing process.
      For more information, the RHS has some good articles about liming: RHS Lime and Liming.
      Thanks for reading.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Hi Faith,
      You are welcome to use my photos. All I ask is credit given on the page and a HTML back link to the relevant post. Thank you.

  3. Julia Harwood-Geall

    Would replacing with new turf get rid of this problem?
    It seems to be creeping all over my lawn.
    I will try and get the weedkiller you mention. Is there a brand you would recommend.
    This problem only seemed to appear after scarification in April.
    Don’t remember seeing the problem before this.

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Replacing the turf would get rid of the Woodrush. That is until it returns, which would be inevitable if it is uncontrolled in your area.
      I recommend getting your lawn treated professionally, as a licensed operator will have access to much wider range of chemicals to help with your situation which are not available to the public.
      Thanks for reading!

    1. Kris Lord Post author

      Woodrush is a tough one to get rid of. A weedkiller containing mecoprop-p, and liming in autumn is your best bet.


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