Identifying Grass Seedlings

Nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi)

Perennial grasses


Nimblewill spreads through its seed and stolons to form dense mats. Its creeping stems root at their nodes. The leaf blades are 1–4 mm wide, flat and smooth but may have a few sparse hairs at their base. The leaf sheaths are slightly compressed and smooth, but sometimes they may have a few long hairs at the tips of their margins. Sheaths also have dark green veins. Auricles are absent, and the ligule is a small membrane.

Mature nimblewillMature nimblewill.

Collar regionCollar region: short, membranous ligule.


Nimblewill grows best in moist, rich soils and is shade tolerant. It is most troublesome in turfgrass and landscape settings and is not a problem of agronomic row crops.


Nimblewill is scattered  throughout Missouri. In the United States, it is found in most areas except the western states.

Similar species

Bermudagrass has similar color, texture and habitat. Bermudagrass is a much larger, coarser species and does not tolerate shade and cold temperatures as well as nimblewill. The ligule of bermudagrass is a tuft of hairs, and bermudagrass has both rhizomes and stolons while nimblewill only has stolons.