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Strange weed I can’t get rid of  RSS feed

 
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Can anyone help me identify this weed that is overtaking my St Augustine lawn in Houston, TX?  I have tried numerous ways to try to choke it out and I’m stumped. I’m watering 3 days a week for 8-10 minutes per zone using the sprinkler system. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Patrick
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Yard 1
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Yard 2
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Close up of weed
 
steward
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It looks delightfully beautiful to me.
 
gardener
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Hah! That stuff is the worst. I pull it out when ever I see it, and encourage the ground ivy, dandelions, plantains, alfalfa and clover to take its place.


Ok, I have ask, you are just messing with us, right? That looks like grass to me, but I don't really know grass from myass  rear end, so I might be seeing a joke where there ain't one...
 
pioneer
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it seems to be 2 kinds of grass to me as well...lol
 
pollinator
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Yes, looks like two types of grass. Personally, I can't get upset by that.

First of all, I ditched my obsession with perfect lawns two decades ago. Looking back, I think I focused on the lawn because it was at least one thing in my life I could control. I wasted a lot of fertilizers and herbicides making my lawn "perfect", unknowingly damaging the soil and water beneath my feet. At the time I wasn't living in harmony with nature.

Since adopting a more "natural" homesteading lifestyle plus learning about permaculture, the idea of having a manicured lawn seems absurd to my way of thinking. It's monoculture, something that I now avoid. Nature seems so much nicer when there is a wide assortment of grasses and herbs growing together in harmony. It makes for a healthier soil ecology and a place for "good bugs" to populate. I currently have about 2 acres of "lawn" on my farm. Perhaps 25-30 different grasses and herbaceous plants grow there. It is mown in sections as I need the grass clippings, which go to feed the sheep, donkey, pigs, and chickens.

Patrick, I don't have any suggestions for choking out one of the grasses. As you guess, in my opinion, I'd be adding more variety to the lawn in order to make it a healthier more natural ecology.

I say these things not to criticize or belittle you. No, because I've been there and done that too. It's just that permaculture doesn't go along with monoculture and the use of herbicides.
 
master steward
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Patrick, are you talking about the dominant plant in your lawn? The one that looks like a really broad-leafed grass?

If so, it sure does look like it's taking over everything, and looks like it grows really quickly.

Do you know if your lawn is really wet or has poor, non-draining soil? It almost looks like a wetland plant to me, but I'm really not too familiar with plants in Texas, let alone grasses. Do you happen to know if it flowers, or if it put out seeds like normal grass does?
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what's this broad-leafed grass plant thing?
 
Nicole Alderman
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Looking online at grasses, what I thought was your "weed" is your St. Augustine grass, which is what you planted. So, it doesn't look that that's the weed your having problems with. Could you put your picture in paint and draw around the weed?

But, honestly, I'm thinking that if we can't even find your weed, it might not be something to worry about, as most other people might not even notice it? But, maybe it is really invasive and you've been controlling it well. If you draw a line around the plant in question, we might be able to help more.
 
master pollinator
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The "weed" looks like Augustine grass to me.  I maintain my dad's Augustine lawn (by mowing it but otherwise ignoring it) and it looks like that when mowed short.

 
pollinator
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Main grass is st augustine as stated. Only thing i see besides that is a very small grass sticking up. Looks like annual rye. You gotta zoom in to see it. If it is annual rye, its often overseeded in grass to keep it green in winter.

But honestly, after these rains we have had, all the winter grasses are sprouting. Really need a pic with the suspect plant circled.
 
Patrick McDermott
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Well, I’m sorry for the delay in response to you all. I definitely appreciate the time you’ve taken to respond. The stuff I was referring to isn’t the st Augustine that I had ever seen. I found a local nursery that says it is most likely dove weed. It is a more difficult weed to get rid of but perseverance is key to winning this battle. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of getting rid of it.

Cheers!

Patrick
 
Nicole Alderman
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I found this info on the University of Florida's information page about Dove Weed (http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2015/04/10/doveweed-a-growing-problem-in-warm-season-turfgrasses/):

It is very important to keep in mind that doveweed prefers wet areas, so drainage issues or over-watering will favor the establishment and growth of this weed. For this reason, ensuring irrigation is not excessive is a key management practice to control this problem. Another cultural practice that plays a major role on doveweed management is mowing. Mowing too short and too frequently will favor doveweed because its leaves will grow horizontally avoiding the mower blades. Chose a mowing height that allows good ground cover , yet only removes a third of the turf leaf blades.



I'm wondering if watering every three days is making the soil more damp than it needs to be? It appears the dove weed likes wet ground and thrives in it. It also looks like it grows by runners and has shallow roots, whereas most grasses will have deep roots if given the right conditions. If grass is watered a bit more infrequently but with deeper waterings, it tends to grow longer roots to reach down to the water. Maybe watering 1 time a week, for 30 minutes would be better than 3 times a week?

I'm also thinking if you mow at around 2-3 inches, you won't be cutting and spreading dove weeds root-stems. And, cutting at a higher hight will allow the grass to get deeper roots (the roots die back when the grass is cut short. But, if the grass is taller, the roots are generally deeper). These deeper roots will give the grass more of an advantage over the dove weed.
 
Patrick McDermott
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I found this info on the University of Florida's information page about Dove Weed (http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/2015/04/10/doveweed-a-growing-problem-in-warm-season-turfgrasses/):

It is very important to keep in mind that doveweed prefers wet areas, so drainage issues or over-watering will favor the establishment and growth of this weed. For this reason, ensuring irrigation is not excessive is a key management practice to control this problem. Another cultural practice that plays a major role on doveweed management is mowing. Mowing too short and too frequently will favor doveweed because its leaves will grow horizontally avoiding the mower blades. Chose a mowing height that allows good ground cover , yet only removes a third of the turf leaf blades.



I'm wondering if watering every three days is making the soil more damp than it needs to be? It appears the dove weed likes wet ground and thrives in it. It also looks like it grows by runners and has shallow roots, whereas most grasses will have deep roots if given the right conditions. If grass is watered a bit more infrequently but with deeper waterings, it tends to grow longer roots to reach down to the water. Maybe watering 1 time a week, for 30 minutes would be better than 3 times a week?

I'm also thinking if you mow at around 2-3 inches, you won't be cutting and spreading dove weeds root-stems. And, cutting at a higher hight will allow the grass to get deeper roots (the roots die back when the grass is cut short. But, if the grass is taller, the roots are generally deeper). These deeper roots will give the grass more of an advantage over the dove weed.



Thank you for the information. The reason for the timing on the watering is due to the excessive heat here in SW Texas. I based the waterings on when the soil is dry but I may also need to work on the drainage of the yard to make it less susceptible to the weed. I’m including a picture that circles the dove weed. The thinner looking grass is actually the St Augustine grass.
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Patrick McDermott
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Here is a better view of the St Augustine.
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How much sun are you getting in the weedy spots?  The pictures all look pretty shady.  I have St. Augustine in my yard, and the places where it is thick enough to crowd out any other plants get about 6 hours of solid sun a day.  It seems to tolerate less sunny spaces, but sends out runners all over the place and doesn't really make a thick mat.  Also, I never water.  The yard can go 3 or 4 weeks in the heat of the summer before it starts to look a little stressed.  Might be a different story in TX, but you should probably cut back on the water.
 
Patrick McDermott
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The last picture was while it was raining. The bulk of the yard gets quite a bit of sun all day but there are some spots that are shaded that I don’t really have any growth of the weed. I’m thinking the problem was caused by drainage of the yard that I will need to address by raising up part of it with new topsoil. I will reduce the watering to see how it responds as well.
 
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We've had an unusually wet summer here an that 'weed' has grown like crazy here in my yard. It has finally been dry for 10 or so days and the dove weed is looking like its reign is comming to an end. My yard is Bahia and I never water it specifically, I haven't really had to water anything this summer, but do water the fruit trees when needed in past years an seen some dove weed growing around the edges.... What I have here is something called 'chamber bitter' that's taking over and I find it annoying... Trying a heavy dolomite application soon if it seems the monsoon rains have past.... Always something.
 
pollinator
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Here is a step-by-step solution to your problem.

1.  Get 3 large truck-loads of wood chips.  Basically, any kind of tree will work.

2.  Cover that large flat green weed with about 3 or 4 layers of newspaper, or a single layer of cardboard.  Wet it as you go.  Working a small section at a time, as the newspaper covers that big flat green weed, cover it with wood chips so the paper doesn't blow away.

3.  Approximately one foot of wood chips should be sufficient to bury that big weed.  (Someone called it St. Augustine above?  Is that what it is?  Quick!  Smother it!)

4.  Water the wood chips once a week or so, making sure that the fungi and bacteria all get a nice dose of moisture so they really get cranking.

5.  Wait 6 months or so.  It's nice to start this anti-weed strategy right about now -- early fall -- so the land is ready for new plants in March or so.

6.  Drink a beer.

7.  In six months, rake back the chips and you'll find that the weed is gone.  Now you can plant trees.

 
Something must be done about this. Let's start by reading this tiny ad:
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