We all love the Florida climate for one reason or another. Whether you are a former resident of a colder state or a lover of native plant material, Florida has something for everyone. Unfortunately, it also has everything required for weeds to spread rampantly. While there are many native turfgrass varieties, there are just as many weeds looking to invade and take over. With both broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds proving to be problematic, at least broadleaf weeds are easily identifiable. The main difference between them and their grassy counterparts is that turf weeds can look just like your turf! This makes infestation harder to spot, and sometimes more difficult to deal with. In this blog we will discuss both types, highlighting the most common Florida turf weeds and how to treat them.
This weed actually survives so well because it has all the characteristics of a hardy plant. Because it is found more commonly in nutrient-poor soils, it is acclimated to a lack of nutrients and other factors like drought and heat. This also means that improving the health of your soil can be a great way to get rid of it. Identifying features include a few upright stems coming up and out of circularly spread leaves laying flat on the ground. Because it is so low to the ground, it can also tolerate low mowing heights, so it will need to be chemically controlled, with no known biological or cultural solutions.
One of the most easily identified weeds on this list, bull thistle is a member of the sunflower family, but grows to a spherical peak full of prickly spikes. They spread rapidly, and their burs cling to just about anything. The bull thistle also creates deep roots, which means hand pulling will not do the trick as any leftover root will result in a rebirth of the plant. For manual control, it will need to be dug out with a spade, and you can remove the seed head to prevent further spread. Larger infestations will require an herbicide treatment.
Perhaps the most common weed on the list, clovers are a problem all across the country. Clovers are universally identifiable, with their 3 leaves, and the occasional fourth which to some might indicate you are a lucky individual. However, we would argue you might be missing some luck, as clover can take over large portions of your turf is allowed. Because these weeds are so small and rampant, you will need to apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and generally keep your lawn healthy to fend them off.
Out of all the common Florida turf weeds, this turf weed needs no introduction, as it tears across Florida in search of the next yard to transform. Crabgrass thrives in dry climates, so irrigating your property properly can be a solution. Adding compost and fertilizer can also help your native turf fend it off, but you can also use a pitchfork to pull it out when the grass is wet. Then, apply grass seed to replace the pulled-up crabgrass.
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