Virginia Buttonweed

Daniel Gill  |  10/24/2015 3:39:56 AM

I had sent a couple of questions on this subject. I would like to add to the list. In an attempt to understand the life cycle of the plant - does the mother plant die during the winter or is it a perennial? Does spraying the plant (with green seeds on it now) with weed free zone also kill the seeds or will they germinate anyway?

- Ken G.

Virginia buttonweed is a perennial. That means that every plant left alive in the fall goes dormant over the winter and returns in the spring. This weed also makes copious amounts of seeds, and this is another way the weeds spread. Preemergence herbicides are not very effective on Virginia buttonweed.

Click here for information on control. It is not too late to make an application of metsulfuron or Celsius now to kill the existing buttonweed.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

Appreciate the response. I have already sprayed and killed hundreds of plants. Do you have an opinion on whether the seeds from these dead plants can survive and germinate in the spring?

- Ken G.

Yes, seeds produced in late summer can overwinter and sprout as the weather gets warm in the spring. While the green seeds on dying plants sprayed with herbicide may be killed, you can assume that copious amounts of viable seeds have already been produced this late in the season. That’s why an application is important next year in April and/or May to kill the young Virginia buttonweed plants that sprout from seeds. After the spring herbicide applications, watch the yard through the summer. If you notice any small patches of buttonweed getting started, spot treat as needed.

It is important that you follow through with your control efforts next year, as indicated in the article I referenced above. Spraying in late summer will certainly help kill off existing Virginia buttonweed in the lawn. But, making control efforts in late summer are not as effective (plants are old and tough now and more resistant to herbicides), and spraying now will not control seeds that have already been produced.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture

Top