Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dollar Weed

If I had a real dollar for every dollar weed that I have in the Back Forty and Park, I would be a millionaire, no make that a billionaire.  The dollar weed gets its name from the silver-dollar-shaped leaves which are round, bright green, flashy, and looks like a miniature lily pad with scalloped edges.  That's how the Clemson University SC describes this weed.  How kind!

This little monster is also known as pennywort.  It's a forever plant;  it returns every year.  Actually, it never leaves.  It grows low in the grasses but it is no mistaken it.  The weed spreads by seeds, small corkscrew-like rhizomes, and long white tubers.

The dollar weed, or pennywort, is a water loving weed.  The presence of an abundance of dollar weeds is an indication of excessive moisture in the yard or in the garden.  In research conducted by the University of Florida, it was clearly demonstrated that a reduction in irrigation frequency reduced the presence of the dollar weed.

In a healthy lawn with St. Augustine grass, I am hoping that the grass will overtake the dollar weed and squeeze it out.  The dollar weed thrives in weak, thin turf with some moisture.  It will seek out bare spots in the lawn, grow and prosper.

For me, there is only one other method to control the dollar weed and that is manually:  digging it up and pulling it up.  The white root system seems to go on forever.  What amazes me is that the roots are pure white reminding me of spaghetti.

The dollar weed likes every soil condition.  It grows well against the house in the rose bed.  I may be able to mulch the rose bed heavily but the dollar weed still manages to poke through.  It likes sandy soil; it likes loamy soil; it likes rich soil; and it likes poor soil.  It doesn't discriminate.

Caution:  As a last resort, there are herbicides, or weed killers, that could be used with extraordinary caution.  One such thing is Atrazine that may kill the dollar weed for one season, but the herbicide travels through the soil and may enter the ground water.  Users are advised not to apply to sand or loamy sand soil where the water table, the ground water, is close to the surface.  Please, read the label carefully and ask extension agents and professionals at nurseries for advice.

Although the dollar weed is a nuisance, I don't want to use herbicides to eradicate this blooming weed because I am acutely afraid that I will destroy not only the grass but other plants as well.  I am keeping in mind that the spray will be carried by the wind and it will also sink into the ground.

Source:  Clemson and me.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.

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