Broadleaf WeedsDecember Pest of the Month.

Broadleaf weeds

Also see: December POTM: Weeds

What are Broadleaf Weeds & what causes them?

Weed growth is the number one problem for lawn and landscapes in Florida. Broadleaf weeds are any type of plant with broad-flat leaves that are generally not wanted in the landscape or garden. The most common types of broadleaf weeds are annual meaning they occur each year and sometimes each season.

Now through February is the ideal time to work on and remove these broadleaf winter weeds. Weeds are caused by a variety of things; the most common cause of weeds is due to underlying problems such as poor soil health, sunlight, water or similar issues.

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General Information

Broadleaf weeds are usually very easy to identify and are generally the easiest. They look different than turf grasses and are usually located in areas that lack lush, thick and healthy grass. Since it is often difficult for weeds to grow in areas that are dense and healthy it is recommended to eliminate the extra light and space needed for weeds to germinate and grow in the empty areas of the landscape by planting new grass seed, importing sod or planting shrubs/plants and using organic mulches.

When trying to actively manage weeds it is important to know why they grow. Weeds from previous generations (prior years or growing seasons) will create new seeds and travel by wind, birds and other means to a new location. Once the seed is in its new place and gets the two elements it needs to grow (sunlight and water) they will begin to germinate and grow.

When eliminating any type of weed from the landscape it is important to know which type of turf grass you have because each type of turf requires different solutions. Live Oak Pest Control's Lawn Care Specialists can quickly and easily help you determine which type of weed(s) you have and what type of grass you have to proactively manage and eradicate weeds. Some of the most common broadleaf weeds that Live Oak Pest Control deals with are Dollarweed, Chamberbitter, Oxalis, White Top Clover, Dandelions, False Dandelions and Virginia Buttonweed.

  • Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle)

    DollarweedsDollarweed also known as Pennywort is a warm-season perennial broadleaf weed widespread in North Central Florida. It has established the common name 'Dollarweed' due to its silver-dollar shaped leaves. Dollarweed's can float and is thus a water-loving plant. Generally the presence of Dollarweeds indicates excessive moisture in the area.

    General Appearance

    Dollarweed produces upright, bright green, shiny leaves with scalloped edges. The petiole (the stock that joins the leaf to a stem) is located in the center of the leaf and forms an umbrella shape. Dollarweed flowers are usually elongated spikes at the top of long stalks.

    Dollarweed is often mistaken for Dichondra because they look similar. A good way to distinguish the two apart is by looking at the petiole (stem). The stems of Dollarweeds are located directly in the center of the leaf and the Dichondra's is located on the edge.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Mainly found in moist and wet environments.
    • Dollarweeds favor weak and thin turf.

    If you think you have a Dollarweed or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria)

    ChamberbitterChamberbitter also known as Gripeweed, Leafflower or Little Mimosa is a warm-season annual broadleaf weed widespread in North Central Florida. It appears in the beginning of early summer.

    General Appearance

    Chamberbitter grows mainly vertical and the leaves are arranged in two rows on branchlets that closely resemble a mimosa tree. The seeds are found on the underside of the leaves.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Mainly found in moist and wet environments.
    • Chamberbitter favor weak and thin turf.

    If you think you have a Chamberbitter or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • Oxalis

    OxalisThe Oxalis family has over 500 plant species and most belong to the Wood Sorrel family. Oxalis also known as heart clover and sour grass is an annual and sometimes perennial broadleaf weed with shamrock typed leaves widespread in North Central Florida. Oxalis spreads and reproduces by seed like most other weeds. It is common to see Oxalis Heart Clover in lawns, green houses, and agricultural land, landscape and flower beds.

    This weed gets its name from the Greek word oxis which means acid, making a reference to the sour taste of these weeds. The leaves, flowers and unripe fruits are edible however it is advised to not eat them if you don't care for sour food. Some gardeners will put Oxalis in their recipes or chew on a piece while they are weeding their garden; Oxalis is actually high in vitamin C and can quench thirst. Live Oak Pest Control does not recommend you try or eat Oxalis until it has been properly rinsed and washed thoroughly!

    More photos: Oxalis Upclose

    General Appearance

    Oxalis has pale green to maroon heart-shaped leaves that will fold up (look wilted) in the full sun. Oxalis closely resembles clover. Yellow Wood Sorrel (a type of Oxalis) is frequently known as the false shamrock and is often sold as a houseplant. NOTE: in the landscape they become troublesome weeds and are in abundance in North FL.

    Yellow Wood Sorrel grows upright and has yellow flowers as the name implies. Other types of Oxalis are named after their color for example Pink Wood Sorrel; similar to Yellow Wood Sorrel but has pink flowers from the spring through fall.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Thrives in lush, warm and moist soils and likes shade too.
    • Prevalent around agricultural land and greenhouses.
    • Can be very aggressive when the turf is weak or thin.

    When eliminating Oxalis from the landscape it is best to remove the weed by hand. Remove the underground structure of the weed from the soil for better elimination. Live Oak Pest Control's Lawn Care Specialists can quickly and easily help you determine which type of weed(s) you have and what type of grass you have to proactively manage and eradicate weeds.

    If you think you have a Oxalis or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • White Top Clover

    White Top CloverWhite Top Clover is a cool season perennial broadleaf weed. White Clover has a pleasant smell and can often deter other weeds from the landscape and garden. White Clover is sensitive to shade, drought and severe frosts. There are many types of clover varieties with over 70 commercial cultivars.

    (photo to the left courtesy of: GMayfield10 on Flickr, Photographer Frank Mayfield)

    General Appearance

    White Top Clover has three leaflets with jagged edges and a white flower. The flower cluster may be 1/2 to 1 1/2" in diameter. White clover is a low growing weed and needs little mowing. It stays bright green even in the coldest climates. The White Top Clover generally attracts insects like bees. A mature white clover weed can have branches that extend from 4" to 12" long and root at stem joints; forming a large clump of weeds.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • White Top Clover will spread aggressively by stolon's and reseeding if it has time to mature.
    • Grows extremely well in fertile soils that hold water well.
    • Widespread in pastures and frequently mowed lawns.
    • Likes sunlight and water.

    If you think you have a White Top Clover or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)

    DandelionsDandelions are a cool season, perennial broadleaf weeds that are troublesome in Florida lawns. After approximately 3 months of growing from a seed, Dandelion leaves can be eaten and the root may have medicinal uses (U of F). They are a good source of vitamin A and have been used in traditional medicine practices (NCCAM). Literally the entire Dandelion plant from root to leaves to flower to stem can be used medicinally or culinary.

    (photo to the left courtesy of: DHWright on Flickr, Photographer David Wright)

    General Appearance

    Dandelions generally have low spreading leaves that are deeply notched. According to UF they resemble Endive (the leafy-lettuce vegetable) in form and cultural requirements. Dandelions can grow to approximately 12 - 14" tall with leaves that can grow from 2" - 10" and up to 2.5" wide. The flowers of Dandelions are light sensitive; bloom in the morning sun and close in the evening or in gloomy conditions. The flowers bloom from early spring to late fall and are yellow in color until they become a 'round puff-ball'.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Occur in most lawns throughout the normal growing season.
    • Dandelions prefer to grow in thin grass.
    • Also see Wikipedia for more images.

    If you think you have a Dandelion or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • False Dandelions (Hypocheoris radicata)

    False DandelionsFalse Dandelions is just as the name implies; a Dandelion imposter. False Dandelions are prevalent here in Florida, the Eastern United States and the West Coast. They are a perennial broadleaf weed.

    (photo to the left courtesy of: GMayfield10 on Flickr, Photographer Frank Mayfield)

    General Appearance

    False Dandelions leaves are hairy, low growing making a circle around the stem like the Dandelion. The leaves are generally 2" to 8" long and can grow up to 2 feet tall. False Dandelions have 2 to 7 bright yellow flowers that closely resemble a Dandelion.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Thrives many types of habitats.
    • Prefers sandy to rocky soils.
    • Dandelions prefer to grow in thin grass.
    • Also see Wikipedia for more images.

    If you think you have a False Dandelion or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

  • Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana L.)

    Virginia ButtonweedVirginia Buttonweed is a perennial broadleaf weed throughout North Central Florida and the eastern United States. It has been often stated that Virginia Buttonweed is hard to eliminate from the landscape once it has been established, so it is highly recommended to call a Lawn Care Specialist such as Live Oak Pest Control. (photo to the left courtesy of: Bob In Swamp on Flickr, Photographer Bob Peterson)

    General Appearance

    Virginia Buttonweed can survive mowing heights as low as one-half inch. The leaves are thicker than most weed leaves and are opposite of each other. They appear green on the upper surface and a light green on the bottom. Flowers of Virginia Buttonweeds are white with four star-shaped petals that can have pink streaks in the center. Stems normally lay against the ground but are also seen standing.

    Habitat & Favoring Conditions
    • Likes moist and wet areas.
    • Can survive drought conditions.
    • Found in lawns, wetlands, river bottoms and pinelands.
    • Parts of the U.S. are experiencing Virginia Buttonweed in their turf, pastures and alfalfa (University of Nevada).

    If you think you have a False Dandelion or other weed problems with your lawn, give one of our Lawn Care Specialists a call today and let us take care of it and give you a free estimate (386) 362-3887.

Treatment:

Live Oak Pest Control can treat most weeds by chemical applications and other methods. Give us a call today to learn more about our lawn care services or schedule an appointment at (386) 362-3887.

The best defense against weeds is a fine balance of nutrients, irrigation, proper mowing, lawn pest control for insects, fungus & moss and general lawn maintenance. When eradicating weeds it is best to mow the landscape according to which type of turf grass is present and then a 3" thick layer of mulch around trees and shrubs.

To remove weeds by hand, get the soil wet and it will be easier to remove the entire weed including root from the soil.

Also listen to recorded radio interviews with Roy Crain Jr. discussing this month's pest.

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