CONTROL OF LAWN SPURWEED: TIPS FOR ELIMINATING SPURWEEDSWe’ve all been there. Spring arrives and our grass is becoming that green carpet on which you love to walk in your bare feet. However, sometimes it is not entirely enjoyable.
Hot Springs, Ark. – We’ve all been there. Spring arrives and our grass is becoming that green carpet on which you love to walk in your bare feet. However, sometimes it is not entirely enjoyable. Sticky spurweed (Solvia sessilis) plants are competing with your lawn. It is quite invasive and is prickly and painful to your (and your pet’s) feet and legs. A little knowledge on how to kill spurweed will help protect your lawn from this nasty weed and spare tender skin from its burrs and barbs.
Sticky spurweed is a cool season annual that germinates in the fall and winter months in lawn and turf areas. The foliage resembles the parsley leaf in a miniature form. During the winter months, it remains a small, low-growing annual weed where it often goes unnoticed until the plant is fully mature. In the spring when temperatures begin to increase, the lawn spurweed begins undergoing the reproductive stage of growth. The fruiting structures, small rosette buttons, develop in the leaf axils. As the fruit matures, the seed in the fruiting structures develop spines, and when the fruit becomes dry, the spines become very sharp. These sharp spines are what make the lawn spurweed so undesirable. As you walk across a turf area barefoot, more than likely you will notice any encounter with this weed, due to the painful spines that penetrate in the skin.
One effective way to help prevent the development of lawn spurweed from a cultural standpoint is to maintain a healthy turf. A healthy turf competes for water, nutrients, and space which can prevent the development of many weedy species. However, if the lawn spurweed has been established, it is critical to control the lawn spurweed before the fruiting structures develop. Applying a post-emergent herbicide product after the development of the fruiting structures will kill the lawn spurweed, but the seed containing the sharp spines will still be present.
Spurweed can be easily controlled during the winter months. December, January and February are ideal months to apply herbicides for the control. However, the weed can also be effectively controlled in March in most areas of Arkansas. Pre-emerge herbicides that are effective on controlling spurweed are Aatrex (a Restricted Use Herbicide), simazine (Princep, others) and Sencor Turf. This group of herbicides should not be used on bermudagrass over seeded with a cool-season turfgrass or on tall fescue, as they are injurious to cool-season turfgrasses. The best option to control spurweed by homeowners is a post-emergence application of one of the various two and three-way mixes of 2,4-D, dicamba and MCPP. Trimec is one of the most common trade names in this category. These products can be used on tall fescue, fall over seeded bermudagrass in which the over seeded cool-season grass has been mowed four to five times and non-over seeded bermudagrass. This group of products should be applied on a warm (air temperatures at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit), sunny day. Two to three weeks after the initial application, spurweed control should be evaluated. If control is not acceptable, an additional application may be necessary. The reference to brand names in this article is not an endorsement of these products, as the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research & Extension does not endorse specific pesticide brands.
For more information, contact the Garland County Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703, or email Jimmy Driggers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email email@example.com.
If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge. You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old. For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at email@example.com.
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By Jimmy Driggers
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jimmy Driggers
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
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