Louisiana Home Lawn Series: Yellow woodsorrel

Jeffrey Beasley, Strahan, Ronald E., Sanders, Kayla

Louisiana Home Lawn Series banner. A guide to maintaining a healthy Louisiana lawn.


Yellow woodsorrel (Oxalis stricta L.), or oxalis, is a perennial weed common throughout Louisiana. It is easily distinguished by its heart-shaped leaflets, which occur in sets of three per leaf. Yellow woodsorrel produces flowers in the spring and spreads through seed. It is commonly found growing in areas where turfgrass is thin and weak. It has an upright, mat-forming growth habit in turfgrass.

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Yellow woodsorrel


Yellow woodsorrel has green to yellow-green leaves with hairy edges. Leaves are made up of three heart-shaped leaflets, which are partially folded along the middle vein. Yellow flowers with five petals extend from the plant on long stalks that usually bend before branching outward. Flowers mature into long, slender fruiting capsules that resemble okra. Yellow woodsorrel typically grows in small, upright bunches but can also form dense mats. For more information on yellow woodsorrel identification and characterization, visit the USDA Plants Database at https://plants.usda.gov.

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Heart-shaped leaflets

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Yellow flower

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Fruit capsules

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Bunched growth habit

Cultural Control Practices

The best way to prevent or reduce weed encroachment is to maintain a healthy lawn through proper fertilization and soil pH management and regular mowing. Properly maintaining a lawn through these cultural practices promotes dense and vigorous turfgrass, allowing it to better compete with weeds. Below are the recommended mowing heights and nitrogen fertility rates recommended for each turfgrass species. In addition to these lawn care practices, manual removal of weeds may also be necessary.

TurfgrassMowing Height

Nitrogen Rate (per 1,000 ft2 per year)

Bermudagrass1 - 2 inches
Up to 3 pounds
Centipedegrass1 - 2.5 inches
Up to 2 pounds
St. Augustinegrass2.5 - 3 inches
Up to 3 pounds
Zoysia1 - 2.5 inches
Up to 2 pounds

Chemical Control Practices

In addition to cultural practices, herbicide applications may be required to achieve effective weed control. However, yellow woodsorrel can be very difficult to manage with pre-emergence and post-emergence herbicides. The most effective herbicides on yellow woodsorrel contain the active ingredient metsulfuron.

When applying any type of herbicide, you must follow the manufacturer’s labeled directions. For more information regarding pesticides for turfgrass, please reference the Louisiana Suggested Chemical Weed Control Guide at the LSU AgCenter website, www.lsuagcenter.com.

St. AugustinegrassCentipedegrassZoysiaBermudagrass
Pre-emergence Herbicide Active Ingredients
dimethenamid + pendimethalin
Post-emergence Herbicide Active Ingredients
metsulfuron + dicamba
metsulfuron + sulfentrazone
thiencarbazone + iodosulfuron + dicamba

For information regarding weed identification and control options please contact your local LSU AgCenter Extension Parish Office. To find your local LSU AgCenter Extension Parish Office visit www.lsuagcenter.com.

1/10/2020 10:16:35 PM
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