Florida is blessed with a warm climate year-round. Unfortunately, all that sunshine means we must contend with weeds more frequently. It can seem like a never-ending battle, but knowing what’s growing in your lawn is the first step to defeating it. Today, we’ll discuss some of the most common broadleaf weeds in Florida and why spring is the ideal time to ramp up your weed control.
Common Florida Weeds
You’ll know you’re dealing with broadleaf plantain if the leaves are ovular and the veins thick. As you probably figured out from its name, the leaves are much wider than the traditional blades of grass. Because plantain grows so low to the ground, you may not be able to kill it just by mowing the lawn. Unlike other weeds like crabgrass, which can blend in more fluidly with the lawn’s look, broadleaf plantains stick out like a sore thumb. We understand your frustration, but avoid the temptation of setting the mower to a lower setting. Mowing the lawn short can actually encourage weed growth! Most weeds need a LOT of direct sunlight to thrive. When the grass is kept at the height of 2 to 3 inches, the blades naturally block out the sunlight, and so many weeds in the soil won’t be able to germinate. Once you clip the grass down, you open the door for weeds to get the sunlight they crave.
Thistles may be held in high regard as Scotland’s national flower, but here in Florida, they are an absolute menace. The leaves are hairy and irregular around the edges. Thistles are hardy, and the rosettes will continue growing even during the winter. Unlike the broadleaf plantain, which likes to live close to the ground, thistles like to stand out – literally. They are known to grow as high as three feet – and removing fully-grown plants can be tricky as they have many spikes. However, they mainly reproduce through seeds, so, like the plantain, they are not as difficult to eradicate as those that reproduce via the root system.
You probably don’t need help identifying this weed. It’s been a nuisance for decades. But just in case: they have small yellow flowers with many petals and thick, jagged leaves. After their initial bloom, these yellow flowers turn to white fuzzy puffballs. Though widely regarded as a detriment to lawns, all parts of the dandelion are edible, and folks have learned how to incorporate them into meals from wine to honey to salads. Dandelions typically flower in April and May, but it can be one of the early spring weeds to emerge. You may have already noticed them since we Floridians don’t have a cold season to kill them off. Like many weeds, Dandelions need lots of direct light to thrive, so one of the easiest ways to combat the plant – apart from herbicide – is to make sure you’re not cutting the grass too close to the ground. Keeping your mower at a good height will prevent weeds from getting much-needed sunlight.
This perennial has two species, yellow and purple, that are commonly found in Florida lawns. It rarely produces seeds, but it does produce rhizomes and tubers. This means it does all of its spreading and reproducing beneath the soil. Nutsedge is similar in appearance to turfgrass, but the shoots are stiffer than normal lawn grass if you look closely. And as you may have guessed, the varieties are named after the color of the flowers they produce. Both flowers are long and skinny. This plant responds to herbicides or manual removal. Keep in mind, though, that digging it out is tricky since it relies on runners. Research has shown that weed mats and mulch are both effective at suppressing this annoying weed.
This perennial produces bright green, round leaves with scalloped edges. Dollarweed responds well to herbicide application. However, you should make sure to read the labels carefully. Different turfgrasses will need specialized mixes. Try to use a pre-emergent herbicide if possible so you can spray and forget about it. If you’re uncertain about using herbicides, you can always ask your lawn care service technician.
How To Get Rid Of Weeds In Your Florida Lawn
Call the experts at Advantage Green Lawn & Pest Solutions Inc! We’ve formulated a special flower bed maintenance program to keep weeds out of your garden without harming your flowers, shrubs, or ornamental plants. Get the best weed control near Ocala, Florida – call (352) 480-0702 or leave us a message online. We’re happy to go over your concerns and lawn care goals.
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