Get the skinny on broadleaf weeds.

It’s fairly simple to distinguish broadleaf weeds (part of the plant grouping dicotyledons, also known as dicots) from grassy weeds (part of the plant grouping monocotyledons, or monocots). The wider leaf structure of broadleaf weeds will stand out from desirable turfgrass. This physiological difference also makes broadleaf weeds easier to control with a selective herbicide than grassy weeds or sedges. Broadleaf weeds can grow in all soil types, making them a very familiar presence in turf across the United States and beyond. Common broadleaf weeds include dandelions, ground ivy, buttonweed, doveweed and dollarweed. The majority of broadleaf weeds produce an abundant amount of seeds, some of which can persist in soil for more than 30 years. Broadleaf weeds are categorized based on their life cycle into the following groups: annual weeds, winter annuals, summer annuals, perennial weeds and biennial weeds. Annual weeds are often the easiest broadleaf weeds to control, as their underground vegetative structures don’t propagate new plant growth. These weeds spread through turfgrass through prolific seed production. Summer annuals are arguably the most challenging, as these weeds germinate at varying times throughout the summer and mature quickly. Dense, well-maintained turf is the best defense against broadleaf weeds. Fertilization, frequent mowing at 3.0-3.5 inches, proper irrigation and managing shade will all help turfgrass crowd out weed competition. Even with good cultural practices, broadleaf weeds can invade turfgrass. Preemergence herbicides should be applied in April to help reduce broadleaf emergence. The best time to control postemergence broadleaf weeds is when weeds are young and actively growing. Make your applications on a clear day when temperatures are below 85 degrees,...

Guest Post: Dealing with Doveweed

Denise Wartan is the General Manager of Trad’s Pest & Lawn Services in Jacksonville, Florida. An avid runner and compulsive reader, she is the mother of two teenage girls and a self-professed lover of chocolate. As General Manager of Trad’s Pest & Lawn Services, I handle a little bit of everything here in north Florida. I started as the bill collection lady for my parents’ garden center in 1989, then morphed into working in lawn care and pest control. Since then, I’ve done plenty of field –work — both indoors and out. I still go out once a week and ride with the guys, mostly for quality control. About 85 percent of our business is lawn and ornamental care. From there, we’ve branched out into general household pest management and termite work. Approximately 95 percent of our accounts are residential customers in the greater Jacksonville region. Doveweed has been a particular problem for lawns in our area. It germinates later in the growing season than most summer annuals and has fleshy, creeping stems that root at the nodes. Our six-treatment program includes a preemergence application in early spring, but doveweed often resurges later in the summer. Our FMC Market Specialist, Bruce Ryser, introduced us to new Blindside® herbicide last year. It’s a postemergence product with long-term residual, which is unusual. We found that it really smokes the doveweed! We’re getting long-range control of doveweed, dollarweed, buttonweed and other weeds that we used to keep hitting over and over again. As a result, we don’t have to go out every month like we used to. With dollarweed, we used to...

Double Trouble: Dollarweed and Doveweed.

Summer is in full swing, which means many turf professionals are squaring off against tough broadleaf weeds like doveweed and dollarweed. If you’re one of them, take a second to learn a little more about these resilient summer invaders to give yourself an edge when it’s time to treat them. Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle umbellata) is a summer perennial weed bearing 1-inch, scalloped leaves that resemble silver dollars—hence its name. The shape of the leaves often causes dollarweed to be confused with dichondra, but a quick way to differentiate between the two is to examine the leaf stem. The leaf stem of dollarweed is in the center of the leaf, while on the stem is at the edge of a dichondra leaf. Sometimes called pennywort, dollarweed thrives when water is abundant and can actually float on water. Excessive moisture and thin turf create ideal conditions for dollarweed. Often, adjusting irrigation practices and carefully observing the moisture levels in your turf can help reduce the size and spread of dollarweed populations. As with most weeds, maintaining healthy, balanced turf will go a long way to prevent emergence. Dollarweed can be controlled with postemergence herbicide treatments, but these are most effective when dollarweed is in the one-leaf stage of growth. Look for an herbicide that affects both the weed and the underground reproductive structures to reduce future populations of these perennial weeds next season. Doveweed (Murdannia nudiflora) is a summer annual weed commonly found in the southern United States. Doveweed has grass-like qualities, but notable characteristics include creeping stems and clusters of blue or purple flowers. With stems that root at the nodes,...