Weed group: Summer annual
Characteristics: Reproduces by seed in early spring. Leaves have a red blotch of color in the center. When cut, oozes a milky substance and is often confused with Knotweed. Has a very deep growing taproot which allows it to survive and thrive in hot dry compacted soil. Heavy seeder. Flowers are very small and can prove difficult to see because of their size.
- Cultural: Hard dry compacted soil where the lawn is thin. Often found in newly unestablished lawns as well as growing through cracks in driveways and roads.
- Natural: DO NOT scalp your lawn in the spring. If seeds cannot contact the ground nor get sun light they will not geminate. Hand pull the weeds from the center, over the tap root when soil is damp. Continue to pull young plants before they produce seeds. I also use 20% horticulture vinegar (see Nature’s Wisdom) in a 24 ounce spray bottle. I spray weeds that come up in my drive or cracks in the sidewalk
- Chemical: Pre-emergent can be used to keep the seeds from emerging once the temperature reaches about 60 degrees. Unless you have a unusually wet spring or thin grass, the one application will usually get it. Post-emergent broad leaf herbicides are most effective when the plants are young. Mature plants can be resistant. Prevent spring weeds by NOT scalping your lawn in the spring. If seeds cannot contact the ground nor get sun light they will not geminate. The best weed control is a healthy managed lawn.