Q: I have been trying to control an infestation of what I think is lespedeza in my centipede lawn for a good number of years. What are your suggestions?
A: Congratulations! You identified the plant correctly, and that’s always the first step toward weed control.
Lespedeza is an annual summer weed, meaning it sprouts from seed every spring but dies in fall. If it’s only in the area I see by the driveway, hand-pulling is a good option. You could also use herbicides labeled for use on centipede lawns….but I have a better long term choice..
Lespedeza is very well adapted to compacted soil, while centipedegrass is not. Since the weed is growing in a band near your driveway, I suspect the soil there is compacted from errant car tires. The soil could also be more often damp after rain or irrigation.
Consider digging up the entire area and planting centipedegrass sod. If the whole lawn has patches of lespedeza, aerate it thoroughly in early May and fertilize twice each year until you get a vigorous lawn, which will choke out the lespedeza.