“What is the weed with a little white flower in my lawn?”
My clients in Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Davie, and Weston commonly ask me the same question, “What is the weed with a little white flower in my lawn?” My answer usually goes something like, “It’s the thorn in the side of every homeowner and lawn service in South Florida.” It’s name is Richardia Grandiflora or better known as Flowering Pusley. It’s a fast growing perennial. a low-to-the -ground invasive plant that is extremely difficult to control. It has either a white or purple bloom in the winter months but remains in the yard year-round. As a lawn service, what’s difficult is not to spread it from lawn to lawn.
You see, Pusley is a thick, sticky weed when cut. So when a client is serviced and they have this weed in their yard, mowers shoot the weed out of the chute when cutting the grass. This usually has some Pusley seeds go airborne throughout the lawn into the neighbor’s lawn. Also, when Pusley is cut it sticks to the lawn mower wheels and the under the mower deck. On the way to the next lawn it dries and then falls into the next victims lawn when the mower blades are turned on. I first saw this weed on some of my first customers lawns about 20 years ago on the Seminole Indian Reservation in Hollywood. The situation has only gotten worse since then.
So, what can we do about it? The first thing to do is to have a thick, healthy lawn to start with. St. Augustine grass and all its variants are very hardy. The root system can keep most weeds out naturally. Though, only if it’s kept healthy by cutting at the correct cutting height for South Florida Lawns, through proper fertilization, and sufficient but not excessive watering cycles (over-watering is the most common cause of excessive weeds) .
Pulling the weed out by hand usually is counterproductive because you will end up disrupting its seeds and they will fall to ground and create new weeds. For small, spotty patches of Pulsey you can spot treat using a non-selective herbicide. This will kill the plant and the root. After it has died, carefully remove the dead weed and place into a bag or garbage can. Do not walk across your lawn with the weeds in your hand. To stop new weed growth, the area it was removed from must be -re-sodded.
For lawns that have a major overgrowth, things get a little difficult but not impossible for the lawncare veteran. Depending on time of year and the temperature, application of pendimethalin, imazaquin, carfentrazone, and/or dicamba will eradicate this native pest. For DIY homeowners, if the temperature has averaged less than 80 degrees outside, you can try an application of atrazine. So despite it being just a weed with a little white flower it is quite a challenging foe. For any questions about this weed or any other lawn care question, do not hesitate to call us at 954-591-3430