How To Kill Buttonweed

Virginia buttonweed

Q: Our lawn service has been trying to kill buttonweed in our lawn for two years. It has taken over our fescue yard. What can we do?

A: Virginia buttonweed is extremely tough to control. This perennial weed is deeply rooted, produces belowground and aboveground flowers, and spreads by rhizomes (underground stems), as well as by stem pieces. If left uncontrolled, this mat-forming weed can smother turfgrass. If you are committed to controlling it, you have to start the previous year. Be sure you are mowing at the right height, that you are fertilizing correctly and that your lawn is not stressed from drought. Purple leaves during their late spring to early summer emergence are a distinguishing characteristic of buttonweed. Although pulling the weed can produce a satisfying mound of stems and leaves, the root pieces left behind will quickly sprout and make your efforts moot. Homeowners can get reasonable, if not total, control by regularly spraying with combination products containing 2,4- D, triclopyr, dicamba, quinclorac, or sulfentrazone. Read the product label carefully to make sure it can be used on your particular turfgrass.

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