Creeping Woodsorrel is a weed that is fairly common in grass lawns, gardens, nurseries as well as greenhouses. Like any other weed, it competes with the plants for water and sunlight which eventually leads to a decline in the health of the planted vegetation. It also grows all year long which makes it very competitive and a large concern for vegetation that has dormant periods. The decision on a weed management approach can be a difficult one to make, especially without all the proper information on the given weed. This article should give you a wide variety of approaches to choose from when dealing with creeping Woodsorrel depending on your preference, soil type and overall environment.
How to prevent creeping Woodsorrel
This involves ensuring that the weed does not have the opportunity to seed and spread out through your planted vegetation. There are a few measures you can take to prevent creeping Woodsorrel:
- Ensure that you maintain a thick and healthy turf growth. This is because creeping Woodsorrel thrives in fertile open soil, so maintaining a thick turf reduces the area it can sprout on.
- Sod or seed any bare spots on your lawn. As mentioned above, Woodsorrel thrives on open soil, so seeding bare spots also reduces the area it can potentially sprout on.
- Keep your lawn watered and well fertilized. This is because creeping Woodsorrel thrives in well drained dry soil, so frequent watering and periodic fertilizing would make the soil an unsuitable environment.
- Measure the pH of your soil. Creeping Woodsorrel thrives in basic soil (A pH of above 7.) Therefore if your soil acidity is less than 7, there is little chance of a Woodsorrel infestation.
- Mulch your garden beds with a layer of organic mulch (between 2 to three inches thick). This prevents the weed from growing beside the plant by cutting off any potential access to sunlight. Creeping Woodsorrel does not do well in shade and the weed seeds will not germinate. This method is great because it also provides fertilizer for the primary plant.
- Air spray or wash your lawn mower and other farm implements after using them in an area with Woodsorrel. This is because seeds from the weed or root particles could attach themselves to the farm implements and would be spread to an unaffected area.
If all else fails, ensure that you dig or pull out any creeping Woodsorrel plant immediately it is spotted, ensuring that you remove as much of the root as possible. You should also look around that particular area for more germinating seeds and dig them out too.
How do you controlcreeping Woodsorrel?
There are two primary methods of controlling creeping Woodsorrel; controlling germinating seeds and removing mature plants.
Controlling germinating seeds
This is the preferred method because it does not give the weed the chance to fully encroach on the plant. It can be done in a number of ways including;
This is a very tedious process and is only practical on a very small scale. It involves removing the Creeping Woodsorrel weed by hand, taking care to remove the entire root, because a new weed plant could sprout from weed particles left behind. This method is particularly difficult because you would have to carefully observe the soil for any root remains, since the roots of this weed are tiny. In addition to being thorough, you would need to take great care in watching out for seed pods. This is because just touching one of these seed pods could make it erupt, spreading Creeping Woodsorrel seeds everywhere.
This is the covering of the primary plant’s root area in a layer of mulch. It is particularly effective for Creeping Woodsorrel because the weed requires well drained and dry soil and open space to thrive. It is also preferable because it is completely organic, therefore minimally affects the soil’s pH. It also offers fertilizer for the primary plant in form of the decomposed mulch added to the dead creeping Woodsorrel that may have tried to germinate.
Post emergent herbicides
These are herbicides that work to kill emerging and mature weed plants. They are particularly effective when the temperature conditions favour growth of the primary plant. This allows the primary plant to thrive as the weed dies, as opposed to the primary plant struggling against the season as the weed struggles because of the herbicide. It is imperative that you follow the instructions on the herbicide label and take extra care around tree roots and shrubs growing in a lawn since some of these products may be active in the soil. It may be helpful to add a surfactant (herbicide helper) to the mixture before you spray it, following the directions on the label, to increase penetration by the leaf and herbicide coverage.
Controlling mature Woodsorrel in different environments
The methods of controlling mature Woodsorrel are similar to those of controlling germinating seeds, but they would be done with more care and with greater consideration for the environment, since the weed is already mature and has deeper roots.
Woodsorrel in garden beds
There is only one organic approach in this case, digging out all the weeds inclusive of the roots to ensure that there are no pieces left behind. This is rather impractical, though not impossible, depending on the size of the garden bed and level of weed infestation; this is because the weed roots are very small and the tiniest piece left behind can easily sprout into more weeds. You may even need to temporarily dig out your primary plants to sift through the soil looking for root ruminants. A way to make this approach more effective would be following it up with mulching to prevent any remaining roots from sprouting.
The best inorganic solution of creeping Woodsorrel would be a Glyphosate herbicide or fertilizer. This is because the chemical has the ability to kill the whole plant plus the roots, preventing them from sprouting again. Most weed killers do not affect creeping Wood sorrel as would be desired, leaving traces behind that simply sprout to form more weed coverage.
Woodsorrel in Turfgrass
In this case the creeping Woodsorrel would be as vigorous as the Turfgrass so irrigation and fertilization would not work. The advised treatment in this case would be post emergent herbicides for broadleaf plants like fluroxypyr and Triclopyr, which are usually sold in combination with other herbicides that are similarly for broadleaf plants.
Getting rid of Creeping Woodsorrel can be quite a headache, particularly in areas where planting is done in an open and well drained area. There are a couple of ways to prevent the weed from sprouting, which centre around ensuring the soil is not dry or open and bare, which would favour the weed’s growth. It is also notable that it has very small roots which should be carefully looked out for when uprooting the weed to avoid additional sprouting from remnants.