Pest of the month: Doveweed

Doveweed is an aggressive summer annual turfgrass weed. Its long leaves resemble St. Augustine grass in appearance, so this weed can grow unnoticed for some time. But doveweed doesn't just invade St. Augustine grass, it also takes hold in Bermuda, hybrid Bermuda, and zoysia grass.

Not only can doveweed be an annoyance to people who are trying to grow turfgrass, it can also cause serious contact dermatitis for dogs that come in contact with the weed.

Doveweed thrives in overly moist soils because of poor soil drainage or frequent rainfall and irrigation, combined with lack of sunlight. In these wet areas, homeowners may not realize this grass-like weed is present until large patches of turfgrass have been smothered out. In summer, doveweed produces small, 3-petaled, lavender flowers that, when in bloom, become more noticeable in the lawn.

Once the weeds are established, they grow vigorously. When managing doveweed, use an integrated management approach. As always, a healthy lawn is the best defense. Healthy turfgrass can outcompete weeds. Pre Emergent herbicides can help; be sure to read the label first and closely follow the directions.

If these lawn weeds are caught early enough and you prefer to DIY your lawn weed control program, reducing irrigation and hand-pulling is the most effective way to keep these weeds from spreading. However, they do spread rapidly so it will be a good bit of elbow grease to get it under control.

If you are on a lawn program, controlling these weeds takes attention early in the season - because once they get established it will be a battle.

If you're tired of fighting the battle for weed control in your Gainesville lawn, call our office at (352) 378-LAWN or fill out our online form so we can schedule a meeting to discuss how we can help!