Weeds in your South African lawn

Goeie more, Mense.

I thought long and hard about making this a very complicated and detailed blog, but no one really cares about every detail of every weed in the country. So, I'll make this simple. If you have a weed, it will either look like a flower, or a type of grass. The flower looking ones are called broadleaf weeds and the grass looking ones are called grassy weeds, to simplify this blog. 

Many weeds can be pulled effectively, but a wide range cannot.  However, continual pulling of weeds will result in success at some point. By pulling weeds, you are doing your part for the environment. 

To pull weeds properly, it is advised to wet the ground thoroughly before beginning. This will loosen the soil so the weed, roots and all can be removed completely. Use a proper weeding tool. I have put a photo of mine in this blogs picture. It is the best weeding tool I've ever owned. Get the tool deep below the root system and try to get all of the roots out. In some cases like purple sorrel(looks like tallish clover with purple flowers), there will be nuggets or little balls in and around the root system that will be left behind and they will grow new weeds so be careful of that. The same applies to sedges like yellow nut-sedge(looks like a tall skinny grass type that's easy to notice when you let your grass grow a little. Has a yellow, spikey looking flower). Keep a bucket with your when pulling weeds, and throw the weed into the bucket as soon as you have removed it. Be careful not to shake the weed around because you'll be seeding a million new ones. Do not water your yard after weeding, because you'll be watering in a bunch of brand new weed seeds. You really don't need to help them.

If you are planning on using a herbicide (this is mainly for the lawn care folks), make sure that you understand what you are purchasing. The active ingredients are critical. Most people in SA have warm season grasses, so this is focused on them. Common warm season grasses in SA are Kikuyu, Bermuda(Cynodon Dactylon), LM Berea and Buffalo.  If you have a cool season variety, do your homework properly or wait for me to write a blog about weed control for them. Products that will take care of 99% of all broadleaf weeds in your warm season lawns are MCPA, Dicamba and 2-4D. DO NOT USE GLYPHOSATE. IF YOU SEE THE WORD 'GLYPHOSATE' ON THE BOX, DO NOT USE THIS BECAUSE IT KILLS EVERYTHING. I HAVE HEARBY WARNED YOU ADEQUATLEY!!! There are many more but these will take care of most without harming your lawn...if applied correctly. IN ALL CASES, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!!!!!!!!! All herbicides differ a little and therefore will have different instructions. Take note, LM Berea and Buffalo are a bit more fussy than kikuyu and Cynodon cultivars so again take particular note of their set of instructions. For some weeds, the use of a surfactant is advised. I suggest something like Supawett for most tasks. Aqua-wet for a little more adhesion and Aqua-stick for when you have really tough jobs to do. I do not recommend Aqua-stick for most weeding tasks because that is not necessary and you do run the risk of damaging your lawns and other plants that get a bit of off-spray. Surfactants improve the efficacy of everything that you mix them with. That is not always a good thing.  

If you have read this far, you probably have yellow wood sorrel or khaki burr weed. Both can be tackled with the above-mentioned actives. Khaki Burr requires a surfactant. 

Yellow wood sorrel looks like clover with a little yellow flower. It is creeping, and each flower can contain as much as 50 seeds. This is why they spread like wildfire. You can pull them, but you have to be consistent. If you see them, do something quickly. Spraying them is easier...

Khaki Burr weed are those flat looking ones with thorns on them. We always got them stuck in our feet playing in fields as kids. Yes, those ones. They are easy to get rid of, but they require a surfactant as the leaf does not absorb liquids that easily. 

There are many more but you're most likely looking for weed control for those ones in SA, and this is a basic weed blog.

That's it for this one. If you have any questions, please feel free to pop me an email to info@backyardbushveld.co.za

Cheers, Trav.