WeedsDecember Pest of the Month.

Weeds

What are weeds & what causes them?

A weed is a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated turf grasses. Weeds are Nature's most dispersed group of plants. When people mention weeds most people think about how to control them and not about why they grow. Weeds grow due to unhealthy lawns which we will explain later.

Now through February is the ideal time to work on and remove 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.

Jump to section: Appearance | Treatment

General Appearance

Here in North Central Florida, the weather has gotten cool, the grass has stopped growing and those pesky weeds have started making their appearance.

There are three types of weeds: sedge weeds, grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds.

  • Sedge weeds are generally triangular shaped and annual or mostly perennial grass-like plants with flowers.
  • Grass weeds generally look like grass.
  • Broadleaf weeds are weeds with a broadleaf including flower.
Sedge weeds include:

Yellow Nut Sedge, Purple Nut Sedge, Green Kyllinga, Annual Sedge (Watergrass), Cylindric Sedge, Surinam Sedge, Doveweed, Common Spiderwort, Tropical Spiderwort.

Grassy weeds include:

Crabgrass, Foxtail, Goose grass, Dallisgrass, Bullgrass, Annual Bluegrass, Smutgrass, Alexandergrass and Cogongrass.

Broadleaf weeds include:

Dollarweed, Chamberbitter, Oxalis, White Top Clover, Dandelions, False Dandelions and Virginia Buttonweed. See more.

Broadleaf weeds are easily treated with herbicides by Live Oak Pest Control however grassy and sedge weeds are different. Sedge and grassy weeds can normally only be suppressed due to environmental conditions which makes it hard to control them. A healthy lawn is the best way to protect against weeds. For the most common weeds we encounter in the 14 counties we serve visit our Broadleaf weeds page.

Grassy weeds such as crabgrass looks like green grass; its green, it's pretty but it will take over your lawn and isn't doing your lawn any benefit. It's actually detrimental to your turf; it will inch its way right through St. Augustine grass.

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

Treatment

A lot of people think "the weeds are taking over my yard," well they are but the actual problem is the turf is not healthy. You need to look at a lawn care program such as one that Live Oak Pest Control offers; we take care of your lawn with the proper fertilizer with a proper spray program where we can keep the insects out of it. A good healthy lawn is the very best herbicide that you can have. A healthy lawn keeps the weeds away because they do not have the proper growing conditions.

There are not a lot of treatment options available for grassy and sedge weeds mainly due to grassy weeds being a grass. Since you are growing grass and grassy weeds are along the same lines there are not many products out there to treat them. As a homeowner the best thing to do to treat any type of weed is cultural practices such as cutting back on watering, changing the mowing height and things like that.

This time of the year, you need to work on eliminating the weeds because your grass is dormant. Here in Florida our temperatures get high enough that Live Oak Pest Control cannot apply herbicides 365 days a year; we have a set time period we can apply herbicides typically in December, the second week of March and possibly the end of March depending on the weather. These times are generally the best time frame for controlling weeds. After that we use spot applications because we cannot spray your entire yard without damaging it.

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

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

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