As lawn care professionals, we know the importance of maintaining a healthy and beautiful lawn. Unfortunately, one of the most common and persistent weeds we encounter is Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana). This weed is a major nuisance for homeowners and can be difficult to control. In this blog post, we will discuss the characteristics of Virginia buttonweed, its impact on lawns, and the best strategies to control it. 

Description and Identification 

Virginia buttonweed is a warm-season perennial weed that thrives in moist and poorly drained soils. It is a low-growing plant that spreads via underground stems (rhizomes) and seeds. The leaves of Virginia buttonweed are small, oval-shaped, and have a shiny appearance. The stem of the plant is square-shaped and hairy. The flowers are small and white, and they bloom from June to September. 

Impact on Lawns 

Virginia buttonweed is one of the most problematic weeds in lawns. It forms dense mats that can smother desirable turfgrass, reducing the property’s aesthetic value. The weed also competes with the grass for nutrients and water, weakening the turfgrass stand. Virginia buttonweed is particularly problematic in warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass and St. Augustinegrass. It can survive mowing and quickly regrow, making it difficult to control. 

Control Strategies 

Prevention is key when it comes to controlling Virginia buttonweed. Maintaining a healthy lawn that is properly fertilized, watered, and mowed will help minimize this weed’s growth. However, if Virginia buttonweed is already present on the property, several control strategies can help.

Chemical Control 

The most effective way to control Virginia buttonweed is with herbicides. The best time to apply herbicides is when the weed is actively growing, typically in the summer months. Several herbicides are effective against Virginia buttonweed, including 2,4-D, dicamba, and triclopyr. One option we carry is Celsius WG, which contains dicamba, thiencarbazone, and iodosulfuron It is important to carefully follow the label instructions when applying herbicides to avoid damaging desirable turfgrass. 

Cultural Control 

Cultural control methods can also be effective in controlling Virginia buttonweed. These methods include hand-pulling, mowing, and overseeding. Hand-pulling can be effective for small infestations, but it is time-consuming and may not remove all of the underground stems. Mowing can help to weaken Virginia buttonweed, but it needs to be done frequently and at a low height to be effective. Overseeding with desirable turfgrass species can help to outcompete Virginia buttonweed and reduce its growth.

Virginia buttonweed is a common and persistent weed that can be a significant problem in lawns. Lawn care professionals need to be able to identify this weed and employ effective control strategies. Chemical control is the most effective method, but cultural control methods can also be useful. By maintaining a healthy lawn and using appropriate control strategies, we can keep Virginia buttonweed under control for our customers.