Recently I’ve been getting plenty of requests for identification and control of Florida pusley from homeowners frustrated with this common lawn weed. If you wait until this weed is mature with a well-developed root system and after it is producing its white flowers, you’ll find it difficult or impossible to achieve control.
Keys to controlling this weed include maintaining a healthy lawn (watering to prevent drought stress and mowing at the correct mowing height) and controlling the weed before it reproduces itself.
Regular irrigation (during dry periods) to prevent wilting can allow a lawn to better compete with Florida pusley. Small infestations can be physically removed. It is important to control the plants before they begin to reproduce. It reproduces by seeds. Seed production quickly follows flower production. Mature, well-established plants are more difficult to control. Florida pusley can be an indication of nematode infested soil. More information on nematodes and Florida lawns is available through your UF/IFAS County Extension Office or online at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ng039.
Larger infestations of Florida pusley will likely require herbicide treatment. A pre-emergence herbicide such as pendimethalin should be applied during mid February to early March when day temperatures reach 65ºF to 70ºF for four to five consecutive days. A second application may be needed six to nine weeks after initial application to achieve season-long control. With post-emergence herbicides such as those containing 2,4-D, dicamba, carfentrazone, imazaquin, etc., make your application when Florida pusley is young, actively growing and not under drought stress. Check the herbicide label for specific application rates and turf grass tolerance before use.
Florida pusley is a common, native lawn weed that can be difficult to control. It is a summer annual but perennial types of pusley may be found growing with Florida pusley, including largeflower pusley and Brazil pusley.
In routinely mowed lawns, Florida pusley will have a spreading growth habit. Plants produce noticeable white, tubular flowers that are clustered at the ends of branches. Flowers are produced in late spring, summer and fall.
Florida pusley can become mat forming in sunny, thinning areas of a lawn. It’s very drought tolerant and will easily out-compete lawn grass on well drained, sandy soils during dry periods when the lawn is not being irrigated adequately.
All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer’s label. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer’s label.
For additional information on Florida pusley and other weeds as well as information on how to grow a Florida lawn, contact your University of Florida IFAS Extension Office in your county or visit http://hort.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn.