Weeds are a problem every year, but continued rainfall increases their numbers and our workload. Two weeds showing up now are purslane and yellow nutsedge.

Weed control involves work.  It includes maintaining competition against weeds, hand-pulling, hoeing or rototilling, and the use of the correct herbicide applied at the correct time. A combination of at least two of these works best.

Purslane has succulent green leaves and red stems. Stems lay flat on the ground and radiate from a single taproot, forming mats of fleshy leaves. As a summer annual, it reproduces mainly from seed and begins to germinate in early June and continues well into summer.

Purslane is rarely a problem in vigorous lawns but is found in garden and landscape beds. Hand-pulling and competition are the best means of control.

Do not let purslane go to seed as seed can remain viable in soil for up to 40 years. When you see the plants, pull them. This is an easy task since purslane has a single, shallow taproot. Purslane also reproduces from stem pieces. Be sure to remove all plant pieces. If left in the garden, they will root and multiply.

As an annual that grows from seed, competition is important in controlling purslane. Maintain a dense turf, dense ornamental plantings, and use mulch in garden beds to help shade it out. 

Yellow nutsedge is an apple-green, grass-like plant with waxy blades and a triangular shaped stem. It grows rapidly in summer, becoming most noticeable around late June. This is often when hand-pulling or herbicide applications begin, but this is too late for long term control.

Once established, nutsedge is difficult to control with competition. Hand-pulling will keep it in bounds, but herbicides applied from early to mid-June and in consecutive years are often needed to eventually control this tough weed.

When herbicides are applied or plants are pulled after June 21, individual plants may be killed but they will have already produced many small underground tubers that will regrow this year and in future years.

While herbicides can be applied after June 21, to be successful in controlling nutsedge for the long term herbicide programs must be implemented early in June and used for a number of years.

By: Kelly Feehan, Extension Educator