Weed Identification

COMMON GRASS WEEDS

Winter Grass

winter-grass
Occurrence:

Wintergrass seed germinates in autumn. The plants grow actively from late Autumn through to late Spring, seeding throughout Winter and Spring.

Treatment:

Can be treated with a pre-emergent spray throughout Autumn and Winter or post-emergent in Spring.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass
Occurrence:

An annual weed with fibrous roots and clusters of soft stems which grow close to the ground. Germinates in Spring/Summer.

Treatment:

Can be treated with a pre-emergent spray in Spring before seed germination occurs, and post-emergent in couch species throughout Summer/Autumn.

Nutgrass

Nutgrass
Occurrence:

Invasive grass growing actively throughout Spring/Summer/Autumn.

Treatment:

Spraying is most effective in warmest months of the year.

Guildford Grass or Onion Grass

guilford-grass
Occurrence:

Germinates in late Autumn from a brown bulb or small brown seed. Firm, shiny, grass-like leaves grow actively through Winter and it flowers in Spring.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying when weeds are actively growing, preferably before flowering.

COMMON BROADLEAF WEEDS

White Clover

White clover
Occurrence:

A perennial plant with white flowers in Spring which attract bees. The flowers produce seed that can remain viable in the soil for many years.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds in Winter/Spring.

Bindii/Jo-Jo

bindii
Occurrence:

An annual weed that establishes from seed in Autumn, grows actively through Winter and flowers in Spring.

Treatment:

Control needs to be timed to prevent seeding in Spring as it produces burrs with sharp spines.

Capeweed

capeweed
Occurrence:

An annual weed which establishes from seed in Autumn, grows actively through Winter and flowers in Spring.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds.

Creeping Oxalis

creeping-oxalis
Occurrence:

A perennial weed that establishes from seed. Very persistent in low cut turf due to the stoloniferous growing habit.

Treatment:

Programme should include a pre-emergent spray plus spraying actively growing weeds.

Onion Weed

onion-weed
Occurrence:

An erect annual, biennial or perennial plant up to 30cm high, reproducing from seed or bulb.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying when weeds are actively growing, preferably before flowering.

Plantain

Plantain
Occurrence:

A commonly occurring perennial weed that grows from a rosette which produces new leaves and seed heads.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds.

Cat’s Ear (Flatweed)

Cats Ear
Occurrence:

Mature plant is semi-erect up to 30cm. Deeply lobed leaves with yellow flowers. Also known as flatweed.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds.

Fleabane

Fleabane
Occurrence:

An annual weed which, if left untreated, can shoot a seed head to over a metre high.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds, preferably before flowering as seed head can become tall and woody.

Cudweed

Cudweed
Occurrence:

Flat, dense weed which can shoot a hairy seed head up to a metre if left untreated. Mature plants can ‘choke’ grass underneath and leave pockmarks or divots in lawn surfaces once removed.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds, preferably prior to 4 or 5 leaf stage.

Creeping Buttercup

Creeping Buttercup
Occurrence:

Erect, creeping, flowering perennial weed, sometimes referred to as ‘pop’ or ‘flick’ weed as seeds ‘pop’ off flowers when disturbed.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds as early in the cool season as possible to avoid seed-set.

Chickweed

chickweed
Occurrence:

A delicate, erect annual weed which protrudes above the lawn canopy.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds.

Carrotweed

Carrot Weed
Occurrence:

Similar in appearance to Bindii; carries no spike-forming flower, just a small yellow-lobed flower on the end of a 40—50mm shoot. Generally forms earlier in the season than Bindii.

Treatment:

Controlled by spraying actively growing weeds.

INSECT PESTS

African Black Beetle

african-black-beetle
Larvae occur from early Spring to mid-Summer and cause damage to turf roots.

Lawn Armyworm

lawn-armyworm
Occurs throughout Summer/Autumn, with humidity favouring development. Feeding damage occurs at night, with brown caterpillars eating the leaf down to the crown of the plant. Very damaging when in large numbers.

Sod Webworm

sod-webworm
Occurs throughout Summer/Autumn, with humidity favouring development. Feeding damage occurs at night, with lime caterpillars eating the leaf down to the crown of the plant. Very damaging when in large numbers. Soft leaf Buffalo varieties appear most susceptible.

DISEASES

Dollar Spot

dollar-spot
Turf damage:

Small (4-5cm) circular sunken patches that can join up if left untreated.

Occurrence:

First appears as mycellium (cottony thread). Generally occurs at 15-30 degrees Celsius with high humidity or dew, and low nitrogen levels in turf.

Brown Patch

Brown Patch
Turf damage:

Rapid onset of ’smoke ring’ patches within a period of less than a week. Can be from 5cm up to 1m in size.

Occurrence:

Onset is from October through to mid-May with moist, warm conditions favouring development.

Pythium Blight

pythium-blight
Turf damage:

Begins as circular spots with a light brown water soaked appearance. Can feel slimy and affect large areas of turf quickly.

Occurrence:

Warm nights (+20 degrees Celsius) and warm days especially with soft growth from nitrogen application.

Spring Dead Spot

Spring Dead Spot
Turf damage:

Circular patches appear late Autumn/Winter as lawn growth declines. These patches can be 10—15cm across in 1st year, increasing to 15—40cm in subsequent years if left untreated. Patches may get larger than this.

Occurrence:

Late Autumn/Winter, with recovery evident throughout hottest months.

Fusarium Patch

fusarium
Turf damage:

A small circular patch with a distinct smoke ring apparent in winter. May show a pink ring with a white centre.

Occurrence:

Prevalent in cool conditions (0-8 degrees Celsius) in turf with high nitrogen levels.

Helminthosporium Complex

Helminthsoporium Complex
Turf damage:

Causes reddish-brown to purplish-black spots on leaves and stems which spread quickly. Leads to turf dessication.

Occurrence:

Wet conditions with high humidity between 3-30 degrees Celsius.

Photographs courtesy of Bayer Environmental Science.

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