Grass plant with yellow flowers

Contents

Five Common Lawn Weeds – Identification and Treatment

Cudweed

amochaeta galviceps

  • Flat, shiny, mid-green leaves with a rosette shape
  • Various small flowers on stems
  • Fibrous roots
  • Control – hand removal and spot spray herbicide
  • Difficult to kill due to glossy leaves
  • May need two or more sprays.

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

  • Toothed leaves, light green
  • Milky sap, rosette shape
  • Solitary, double yellow, daisy like flowers on hollow stems
  • Thick contractile fleshy tap-root
  • Control – hand removal and spot spray herbicide.

Bindii (jo-jo)

Soliva sessilis

  • Possibly the most annoying lawn weed due to the pain caused by the seeds to bare feet
  • Finely dissected, small, fern like leaves, light green in colour
  • Flat, small compact rosettes
  • Small green flowers deep in leaf axis
  • Fine, fibrous roots
  • Small brown, flat seeds with sharp spines that hurt bare feet
  • Control – hand removal or selective Bindii herbicides in winter or early autumn before the plant sets seed
  • Easily managed if tended to early.

Creeping Oxalis

Oxalis corniculata

  • Small, light green, clover like leaves on short petioles
  • Small, yellow, bell shaped flowers
  • Forms new roots wherever stems touch the ground, creeping under and through lawn
  • Thin tap-roots
  • Very difficult to remove as crown breaks off leaving roots for re-growth
  • Very invasive, nasty weed
  • Control – hand remove small plants
  • Dig out section of lawn
  • Herbicide for larger infestations.

Clover

Trifolium spp.

  • Clover shaped, green leaves with with circular markings, on thin stems
  • Small white flowers, ball shaped on stems with leaves
  • Tap-roots off stolons
  • Is a weed in lawn but in other areas can be beneficial due to high nutritional value
  • Four leaved plants are very lucky, so don’t poison those!
  • Control – hand removal and selective herbicide.

Lawn Weed Treatment

Hand removal

Many small weeds many be carefully pulled out by hand, however you will need to make sure you have removed the roots. Using a weeding trowel or long handled, mechanical device and prizing around the roots will help ensure total removal. The bigger the weed, the bigger and stronger the roots. In some cases, a weed spray might be necessary.

Herbicides

There are various herbicides available, including selective and non-selective. Non-selective products kill most plants including your lawn; selective herbicides target specific weeds only. It is strongly recommended that you consult your local nursery or turf expert to properly identify the weed in question first, so you can treat it with an appropriate and effective spray.

You will also need to check the suitability of the selected herbicide product for use on your lawn type. For example, many are not suitable for buffalo lawns.

For the weeds listed above (cudweed, dandelion, clover, bindii, creeping oxalis) you can use Bin-Die or Weed Control, both are safe to use on all turf varieties except ST varieties of buffalo.

Lawn Solutions Australia carry a wide range of weed and pest control products for buffalo and other lawn varieties. Remember to always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the pack.

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Capeweed

Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) is regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory. Though it is widely known as a very common weed of habitation (i.e. gardens and lawns) and agricultural areas (i.e. crops and pastures) in temperate Australia, it is also increasingly becoming a problem in natural areas (particularly in coastal environs and in semi-arid and arid regions).In Western Australia populations of Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) are increasing rapidly in the arid zone, and they are displacing ephemeral native species in these areas. It is also a significant problem in the rangelands of southern Australia, where it replaces more palatable native species, especially in areas that are overgrazed. Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) is also present in numerous conservation areas (e.g. Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve and Kinglake National Park in Victoria, Hale Conservation Park and Coffin Bay National Park in South Australia, Weddin Mountains National Park and Tumblong State Conservation Area in New South Wales, Fitzgerald River National Park in Western Australia and Tasman National Park in Tasmania) and it often poses a threat to the integrity of plant communities and the survival of threatened species in these sites.For example, weed competition from this and other weed species is seen as one of the main threats to the vulnerable red darling pea (Swainsona plagiotropis) in the upper Murray River valley in southern New South Wales. It is also present in areas where the remaining known populations of Irwin’s conostylis (Conostylis dielsii subsp. teres) are located east of Dongara in the Geraldton region in Western Australia (and is of particular concern to populations located in road reserves where weeds are more abundant). The mountain villarsia (Villarsia calthifolia), which is limited to the Porongurup Range in south-western Western Australia, is also under threat from several weed species, including Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula).Capeweed (Arctotheca calendula) is also a common coastal weed in the Gulf St. Vincent area near Adelaide in south-eastern South Australia. It forms mats of vegetation in heavy soils in reardunes and also harbours pests that are a threat to native seedlings (e.g. red spider mite). It has also been reported as a weed of coastal sites in other parts of Australia (e.g. at Greens Beach Reserve in Tasmania and in coastal foreshores at Joondalup in Western Australia).

Common Lawn Weeds and How to Get Rid of Them

When choosing weed-control products, take into consideration your target weeds, whether they’re still seeds or emerged plants, and the type of lawn grass you grow. Different types of weeds call for different controls, and some Southern lawn grasses, such as St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass, are sensitive to some weed-control products. Always check the label to make sure the product you choose is suitable for your lawn grass.

A top-notch weed-management program involves the following types of weed control products*:

  • Crabgrass Preventers: Crabgrass plants die after setting their seeds, but their seeds live on. Germination starts in spring, once soil temperatures reach approximately 55 degrees Fahrenheit – the same temperature that sends forsythia shrubs into bloom. Proper weed management works to stop those seeds from germinating and rid your lawn of any that sneak through. Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4 inhibits germination and root development of crabgrass and stops many weed grasses and broadleaf weed seeds when applied in early spring, before weed seeds germinate. While controlling weeds for three to five months, this nitrogen-rich product continues to feed your lawn. Pennington UltraGreen Crabgrass Preventer Plus Fertilizer III 30-0-4 prevents crabgrass germination, suppresses other weed grass and broadleaf weed seeds and controls weed grass for three to five months while feeding your lawn with slow-release nitrogen.
  • Weed & Feed Fertilizers: As the name implies, weed & feed products tackle common lawn weeds while feeding lawn grasses to better help them act against weed invasion. Pennington UltraGreen Weed & Feed 30-0-4 and Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed & Feed 34-0-4, both safe on Centipedegrass and St. Augustinegrass lawns, kill and suppress tough existing broadleaf weeds and control new weeds for up to three months in established lawns. Applied when weeds are actively growing in late spring and early summer, and again in early fall, these weed & feed products continue to feed your lawn grass and keep it beautiful and green.
  • Targeted Weed Control: When existing perennial weeds continue to be a problem, or when new weed seeds germinate and seedlings emerge, a targeted post-emergent herbicide is the answer. For best results, treat weeds while they’re small and actively growing throughout the season. IMAGE All-in-One Weed Killer herbicide offers a broad spectrum of selective weed control for difficult sedges, crabgrass and broadleaf weeds, killing weed roots, shoots and nutlets. These weed killers target weeds only and are suitable for most cool- and warm-season lawn grasses. IMAGE Kills Nutsedge and IMAGE Herbicide for St. Augustinegrass and Centipedegrass provide targeted, selective control of tenacious, emerged weeds.

Stewardship of Tennessee Yellow-eyed Grass, one of the rarest plants in Tennessee

Xyris tennesseensis is a plant that was only discovered in 1978 but by 1991 had been listed as federally endangered. Part of the reason for its listing is its extremely limited distribution, with populations currently known only from one county in Tennessee, four in Alabama, and three in Georgia.

Dr. R. Kral of Vanderbilt University first discovered this perennial monocot obligate wetland plant in Lewis County. Found in calcareous seeps and fens and along streambanks, there are a total of 28 populations in 8 counties. The six populations in Tennessee are restricted to Lewis County, and plants are found in the Highland Rim Seepage Fens, a critically imperiled habitat. In Alabama and Georgia the plants are found in the Southern Ridge and Valley Seepage Fen, also a critical habitat.

Both the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources have been receiving funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for recovery projects including habitat protection, habitat management, propagation, land acquisition, and research.

There are no state laws in Alabama that protect this species. In Tennessee, one population is in TDEC ownership, five are on private land, two of which are under conservation easements and one of which has a cooperative management agreement with TDEC. Only four sites are protected on federal lands in Alabama with the others on private land. The Georgia sites are all private.

Annual systematic plot monitoring has been done by TDEC’s Division of Natural Areas at four Tennessee populations since 2004. These data show extreme fluctuations in the populations depending on rainfall and woody and herbaceous plant encroachment.

Shading from large trees around the seeps is a threat and will need to be controlled. The seepage fens favored by Yellow-eyed Grass have mesic (moist) soil and gravel substrate that is very fragile. The constant flow of ground water continues in the seeps year-round. Therefore, no heavy machinery can be used for management at any of the X. tennesseensis sites. That’s why since 2004, the Natural Areas Division has conducted manual vegetation management projects at all of the protected sites aimed at controlling both exotic and native plant encroachment. Management activities will need to be continued for many years to come.

Download a factsheet on X. tennesseensis, illustrated with photos from botanical monitoring.


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