It’s fall in Florida and although we don’t get cold winters like the rest of the country that doesn’t mean we should start slacking on fall lawn care. Because of our mild winters, many plants don’t stop growing, and some only begin to sprout in the winter months. If you don’t take care of these weeds right now, they could lead to an invasion of weeds in your yard come spring. Here is a list of the most common fall weeds found in Florida.
Chickweed is a winter perennial that grows in a wide range of soils. it thrives best in soils high in nitrogen and a neutral pH balance. Chickweed is most commonly found in the north and central parts of Florida. Chickweed grows low to the ground and can reproduce by seed or take root from nods located at the end of its stems. It begins to grow around December and January and will continue to come back year after year until you put a stop to it. Use a pre-emergent weed control in the spring to kill any weeds that may be hiding in your lawn. Only use a post-emergent spray after the weed has already established itself.
Creeping beggarweed is a broadleaf perennial weed that grows close to the ground and has three leaflets that attach to the main stem. Beggarweed grows mainly in the southern part of the United States and is a big problem here in Florida. Beggarweed sprouts in the spring but really takes off in the summer. Removal of this plant by digging or pulling is ineffective and it is even resistant to certain herbicides. Beggarweed can reproduce by seed, stolon, or piece of its taproot. Beggarweed can be a nuisance because of its sticky seed pods that cling to clothing and animal fur. To control creeping beggarweed use postemergence weed control products that contain sulfentrazone, thiencarbazone-methyl, and dimethylamine salts
Poison ivy can grow as a shrub or a creeping vine in Florida. This notorious plant is known for its severe allergic reactions it can cause when even lightly grazed. The chemical that causes the reaction is called urushiol. Urushiol can stay active on any surface, including logs, clothes, and tools for up to 5 years. Poison ivy can be identified by its cluster of three leaves. Its stems grow from left to right, never side by side. In the fall, its green leaves turn reddish-orange and can blend in with other deciduous plants. Always wear long sleeves and pants when working in overgrown areas. If you have been exposed to poison ivy take a shower immediately and wash all of your clothes and tools.
Annual bluegrass is a common weed of residential and commercial lawns in Florida. Because this weed is a cool-season grass, it starts to grow when temperatures start to drop in the fall and continue to grow through the winter. It is a highly aggressive grower and can out-compete other grasses like Bermuda, buffalo, or St. Augustine grass.
The best way to prevent annual bluegrass is by keeping your grass strong and healthy. If annual bluegrass does become an issue, you can dig it up easily before it can establish itself. If you choose to go with an herbicide, it is best to start now in the fall before seeds germinate.
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