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Turf Tips Newsletter

What to do with those winter annual weeds now

What can I do about all those weeds in my yard now?

Most of these weeds are what we term as “winter annuals”. Many of these weeds will die shortly when the temperatures finally warm and stay there. They are flowering heavily now which is why you see the bright purples, yellows, and whites in the landscape.

Since they are flowering, and into a reproductive stage, there is really little point in spraying most of these weed species now with a herbicide. They will be completing their life cycle and will be dying soon anyway.Probably the best remedy is to simply mow them to remove most of the leaf and flower canopy and vow to use a preemergence herbicide late next summer or early fall to prevent their prodigy from germinating next year.

There are one or two, such as lawn burweed (sticker weed), that if the tiny stickers have not yet formed still warrant spraying now.

Another adverse problem these winter weeds provide is that as they die they leave small openings in the canopy of the permanent turf so “summer annuals” such as crabgrass, goosegrass, prostrate spurge and the like take their place if a preemergence herbicide is not applied this spring.

If your lawn also contains perennial winter weeds such as wild garlic, dandelions, clover, plantains, etc., it would be practical to control them and the winter annuals now. Broadleaf post-emerge herbicides such as 2,4-D, dicamba, mecoprop, clopyralid, metsulfuron, and others may be used effectively.

For further information on specific herbicides look for the extension publication number 1532 “Weed Control Guidelines for Mississippi”.

Published March 20, 2006