Dollar Weed Taking Over Organic Floratam

skoot_catMay 15, 2007

OK, here's my situation. I have a lot of dollar weed showing up in my new Organic lawn. About a 6 week ago I laid 2000sqft. St.Augustine floratam in my front yard. I prepared the soil by adding 5 yards compost/topsoil mix, 100lbs alfalfa pellets and 30lbs used coffee grounds.

After the sod was laid I watered in the early morning; twice daily 1st week, once daily 2nd and 3rd week, every other day the 4th week, every 3 to 4 days the 5th week, and currently only when needed. (about 1 in. every 5-6 days) The sod looks great now, I mow often and High (4in.) using a recycling mower.

I don't know what to do about the Dollar Weed, it just keeps spreading. Is there anything I can do to stop it Organically?

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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

There are so many plants that go by the common name of dollar weed it is hard to be very specific. Inspect the weed and see if you have one that grows out some distance from a central root. If you have that it is pretty easy to pull and get a lot of it out in a hurry. If the plant does not have a central root, dichondra for example, then you have other problems. Dichondra is a special example because it is usually killed out every year by flea beetles. And thinking on the fly, I'm not coming up with any other plants that look like dollar weed but grow individually. But most dollar type weeds in St Augustine pull out very easily.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:24PM
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I tried to pull them by hand but the are so intermingled with the S.A. Unfortunately they don't come up in groups and usually end up breaking at the stem, I would have to pull each one.

Im not that worried about some of them in my lawn, they are green and blend in. Im worried that they will take over and crowd out the S.A.

Mine is not this infested as the link below, but this is what I have.

Here is a link that might be useful: dollar Weed Photo - Info

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 9:12AM
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I have maintained my St.Augustine lawn organically for 35 years. However, I had a problem with wild strawberries spread by birds. It, like your dollar weed, is propogated by underground runners and was intertwined with my grass. Bayer makes a product listed for southern lawns and St.Augustine. It comes in a spray bottle and goes on pink so you can see when you have sprayed. I use it to spot treat problem weeds and it is very effective and does not bother the lawn if you are careful. It is not organic but sometimes you have to step outside the box.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 9:14AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

It will take over if you don't pull it out. The dollarweed types of weeds are very aggressive in St Augustine.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 2:13AM
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texasredhead - Do you have S.A. Floratam? The reason I ask is because I have Floratam and on the Bayer Southern weed killer website it states: Do not use on Floratam variety of St. Augustine grass.

But, The actual product label only states: Over-applying could damage St.Augustine (including Floratam)?

Do you know if this product safe for Floratam?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 9:19AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

In order to preserve the organic integrity of this forum, if you really don't want to use organic materials, can you please take your questions over to the regular lawn care forum. If you're going to discuss chemicals here, too, then there's no difference between the two forums.

I promise not to harass you for your transgressions over there.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 6:22PM
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My original question was to find an Organic method, but no one was able to help. Once again I tried to pull them by hand but the are so intermingled with the S.A. Unfortunately they don't come up in groups and usually end up breaking at the stem, I would have to pull each one which would take a very long time. Also if the majority of them break, which they do, the root is still intact and it will regrow.

So let me try this again:
Is there an ORGANIC way to stop dollar weed besides pulling every individual one (approx 300 pieces)?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 2:09PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Skoot, email me and I'll share what I know about controlling the dreaded dollarweed. It's not organic, though. ;-(

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 4:39PM
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skoot, I live in northern Fla. I know well what your dealing with.
I have had some results with using baking soda but you have to put it down heavy like use a mason jar punch or drill holes in the lid sprinkle as if it looks like a heavy frost but be sure you wet your grass first or it won't work .Also it will turn your SA orange for a couple of weeks. If you like I can foward you photos of mine after I did this last year just send me your e-mail.It will not always get rid of it all but some of those pads will turn black.
I've also read its going to kill the microbres in your soil but my SA came back after damage to the blades only.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2007 at 10:49PM
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ICutUp(Fl 9)

We have a lot of dollar weed in our St Augustine lawn and we were told by someone who tried it, that baking soda will kill the dollarweed and not harm the grass. I researched it and it sounds like it works, so I am going to try it out. The grass has to be wet for it to work (so that it sticks to the weeds), but apparently, it only takes about a day and the weeds turn black.
I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 9:57PM
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I just found an article about using table salt and water as a weed killer, which I understand kills everything it comes in contact with. Then I started thinking

Im thinking about conducting and experiment with Ocean water as I live close to the beach. My thought is, since St.Augustine Floratam is very salt tolerant (of Ocean Water), it might work if I use a spray bottle to spot treat the dollarweed. Im guessing Ocean water does not have the same Salt compound as table salt . Im not sure what it would do to the microbes in my soil or if this is a good experiment.

What do you all think? Good Idea, bad Idea?
Should I dilute it with fresh water?

Like I said its just a thought, but I am willing to try and post the results.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 4:48PM
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mistermango(7a East TN)


Have you made an attempt at ridding yourself of dollar weed with ocean water? Here in Southeastern NC, pennywort grows on the sand dunes, so my assumption is that ocean water will have no affect on the weed. I'd love to hear your results, though.

Anyone here had luck with Baking Soda and pennywort? I need to do something for my SA lawn while my pennywort problem is still manageable.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Have you made an attempt at ridding yourself of dollar weed with ocean water?

Ha, what was I thinking. Once establish, this has to be one of the hardest weeds to kill. I never tried Ocean water, but I did dilute salt and water and tried that. I didnt work. It did burn/kill the leaf temporarily, but quickly grew back. I also tried the baking soda and the results were the same.

I ended up having a buddy of mine (who is a landscaper) spray for them (chemically). Im not sure what he used but it was not Atrazine. Im pretty sure he gets it at Lesco. I know he said its very expensive for a homeowner, I think Its around $125.00 per bottle and covers 1 acre.

Since he's sprayed in 2008, I still get a few dollar weed popping up here and there. About 10 or so per month. I now take a painters brush and a little Round Up and paint each weed. Seems to do the trick for a month or so. Like I said this is the hardest weed to kill.

Heres why I think/know this is on of the hardest weeds to kill once its established; I was able to successful pull 1 dollar weed out completely without breaking the root. I had a a single dollar weed head on the edge of my grass which I started to pull. I noticed it was going under my mulch bed. I moved the mulch and some of the dirt to follow the root. It ended up being about 3 foot long with with tiny nodes/sprouts along the entire root. At the end of the root there was a small bulb (about a 1/4" round) My guess is that if you do not kill/removed the bulb, this weed will happily grow back.

I Hate Dollar Weed.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 2:00PM
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I have tried every organic method to kill dollar weed that I can think of. None of them work. If you pull up a long 'chain' of dollar weed you will note that there is a tiny root beneath each leaf. This means that each leaf is an individual plant, even though the leaves are growing on a single stem. A rather interesting weed. So, you learn to live with it and for those of you fighting it this probably is not acceptable. So, the next question does one use a chemical in the least harmful manner? The chemical of choice is Image, following package instructions. In the gardens where you do not want anything sprayed on your prize perennials, etc. one pours the Image mixture into a can and using a paint brush paints each dollar weed leaf starting in the center of the garden and working to the outside. For a serious infestation this is a long job. Been there. Done that. Be prepared for a two or three week wait before the foliage begins to yellow and die.

To treat dollar weed in the lawn use a hose end sprayer, again following package instructions. Treat just after the lawn has been mowed. Move quickly when spraying. The leaves only need to be lightly dampened. No need to soak the soil. Image does not harm southern lawn grasses.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 2:47PM
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Take gasoline..... cover the entire yard with it,,,light a match......wwwwwwwoooooooooooooFFFFFFF,,,,,,problem solved..

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 10:18AM
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beacivil1(8a/8b NW Austin, Tx)

Carla, that cracks me up!....something I would at least have the thought of doing.... :)

I have SA and have a huge dichondra problem. It does spread very fast throughout the growing season. I have done experiments with baking soda and while it does turn it black and kills it for the season, it comes back the next season. Same with horseherb (another problem I have). It does turn your SA grass yellow, but it bounces back after a few weeks. So I'm kind of at a loss now with finding an organic way to deal with all broadleaf weeds in SA.

Should we be looking at something like: is there something in the soil that broadleaf weeds really like? Same question with our fertilizers- dichondra really really likes sugar, mollasses, and corn meal. What about our water- is there some mineral in our water that these broadleaf weeds like? Is it something of a drainage issue...or the opposite?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 9:56AM
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dchall_san_antonio(8 San Antonio)

Dichondra usually dies out from an insect called a flea beetle. Sometimes it takes most of the growing season, but you're right, it comes back next year. It seeds prolifically. The real problem with dichondra is each leaf comes from its own root system. If you go to pull it out, each leaf needs to be pulled individually. If you can kill the dichondra early in the season with baking soda, it will put down fewer seeds. Repeat that for several seasons and you should have it licked. There is a technique for baking soda. You pre spray it with a sugary soapy watery mix and then dust the baking soda from a sock. CAUTION: Baking soda only works on St Augustine. It will kill most other grasses. But how are you watering? See questions below...

Horse herb, on the other hand, spreads from a central root system. If you find the central root you can pull 1 square foot of horse herb all at once. No so with dichondra.

How often do you water? and for how long?
How high do you mow the SA?
Are your weeds in a shady area?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:09PM
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beacivil1(8a/8b NW Austin, Tx)

I did not know about pulling a square foot of horseherb at once. I'll have to check this out. I hate the stuff, as I'm a SA grass person.

To answer your questions, fyi, I just purchased my first house last year, and I've inherited some drainage problems in the yard, and have heavily compacted soil. Last season was a "do what I can with the leftover money" season, and, I had to deal with a 10'x25' section of take-all patch. I will be core aerating in a couple weekends as this is the earliest my schedule will allow. I already put down corn glutten meal about a week before it warmed up, so I know my timing was right becuase I already notice a huge difference in number of weeds between this year and last. Now on to your questions:

Water- Did not water all winter (I know, I'm still learning) Last season I did not have to water much due to the enourmous amount of rain, but when I did, I followed the deep and infrequent watering schedule you have posted on this website.

How high mowing? A do a "step" approach in that I watch how fast my grass is growing and follow the rule of now more than a third off the top, so as the season wears on, I get to where I use my mower's highest setting, mowing at least once a week. I had a month last season where I averaged mowing every four days due to the large amount of rain we had.

Weeds in shady area- I have dichondra and horseherb in both full sun and in full shade. They flourish in both places. I've notice that the dichondra is mostly in the areas where I have problems with rainwater collecting (my drainage issue). The horseherb could care less if I water it or not- it just thrives no matter what.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2011 at 11:21AM
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I live in Houston and have a St Augustine lawn. After quite a bit of research online about controlling weeds organically in St Augustine lawns and after reading conflicting advice and various suggestions of products/mixtures, I have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is take care of the soil and let the grass take care of the weeds.

So you need to do a soil test to see what is lacking that is allowing the weeds to grow in the first place. Then treat the deficiency and St Augustine will be able to overcome the weeds. Most say you will not have complete success in one season, so you have to be patient. You can also use the organic products in the meantime, but using chemical products will only cause a different deficiency in your soil health that you will have to deal with later.

Some good online sources are Clean Air Gardening, Gardens Alive, Soils Alive and The Dirt Doctor, but there are many more.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2012 at 10:36AM
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Hi. I have been looking for the Dollarweed for a long time. Can I have some of your weed please.
Thank you

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 11:40PM
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