Your Lawn Grass Weed Removal Guide


We provide a step-by-step procedure for removal of common weeds from your lawn grass using herbicides...

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Removing Lawn Grass Weeds Using a Herbicide

It is not uncommon for gardeners to find great therapeutic value in spending hours hand-weeding their lawns. However, most people have neither the time nor the inclination to rid their lawns of weeds in this way. The procedure outlined below is a step-by-step method which can be used to minimise the infestation of lawn grass weeds.

The various areas of South Africa have differing climatic conditions, with frost occuring in some and rainfall affecting the growth of lawns at different times of the year. Generally though, lawn weed removal should be tackled when lawns are actively growing, not when they are in their seasonal dormancy.

Weed Removal Procedure

Weeds can be removed most efficiently by using a selective herbicide, which will destroy broadleaf weeds, but not your lawn. There are several such commercially available lawn herbicides - read the instructions carefully to ensure you are purchasing the correct product. Most products work by absorbtion through the leaves of the weeds, but will not destroy the seeds of the weeds which have not yet germinated. Hence there might be a need for several repititions of the procedure.

ENSURE THAT YOU DO NOT BY MISTAKE USE A GENERAL HERBICIDE E.G. FOR REMOVING WEEDS FROM PATHWAYS. IT WILL KILL OFF YOUR LAWN, SO YOU MUST USE A HERBICIDE WHICH SPECIFICALLY TARGETS BROADLEAF LAWN WEEDS.

For best results, fertilise your lawn 2-3 weeks before applying the herbicide. You may use a brand of refined peletised chicken manure at about 150 grams per square meter, or a high nitrogen synthetic fertiliser at about 60 grams per square meter. Make sure that this fertilser is watered in well. 

Then, about one week before applying the herbicide mow the lawn - but avoid cutting it too short. 

One day before applying the herbicide water the lawn well. This will ensure that the weeds are under no stress from being cut or lacking moisture, and will therefore readily absorb the herbicide.

Try to plan the above prepararations so that spaying the lawn with the herbicide takes place on a rain-free day. But if rain does occur within six hours after spraying, then simply re-spray. Apply the herbicide at the rate recommended in the instructions provided with your chosen herbicide. This might be something like 60 ml of herbicide mixed in 5 litres of water and applied to 100 square meters of lawn surface.

After spraying, avoid watering the lawn for three days to allow the herbicide to fully penetrate the leaves of the weeds. Experience shows that generally about 95% of weeds will be eradicated at the first attempt. Give the lawn a chance to recover from the spraying (even the lawn grass itself does get "knocked back"), then go through the above procedure a second time.


Questions and comments

 

The questions/comments section has been closed as of 1 Sept 2015

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Aug 23 2015, 01:22 PM
bronwen
How do I kill wonder lawn which is taking over
Aug 24 2015, 11:49 AM
Rod
Please scroll down from here and read my Response to Shirli Carswell's Question dated 5 February 2014. She also had a Wonderlawn problem. I suggest a couple of herbicides to her, as well as some precautionary measures.
Aug 12 2015, 08:47 AM
Wendy Parris
I am looking for an environmentally friendly weed killer for my vegetable garden and vineyard? Can you suggest anything? Many thanks
Wendy
Aug 19 2015, 12:07 PM
Rod
Kindly scroll down from here and read my Response to Johann on 14 Otcober 2014. There I mention an eco friendly recipe for a weed herbicide for lawn weeds. But it is equally applicable to weeds generally. I have not used it personally but our Cape Town retained landscaper swears by it. You need to do whatever is necessary to prevent any spray from drifting onto adjacent soft foliage. This would mean spraying with a very focussed beam on a totally wind-free day. This herbicide is non-toxic to other life forms and is short-acting. Just wash your vegetables or grapes thoroughly if you wish to consume them soon after spraying, as a precaution.
Jan 22 2015, 09:51 AM
Charlie
Hi .I live in Bulawayo ,Zimbabwe.The front paddock of my home ,area of 50sq mts is inundated with paper thorn.I have sprayed with Mcpa but it does not seem to be working.What else can i use or do i increase the dosage of Mcpa ? Thanks
Jan 06 2015, 09:31 AM
Derek
I live in the Vaal triangle and have removed all the Kikuyu grass and allowed the natural grasses to grow they seem to require less water. I have not used fertilisers and relied on the rain to water the grass (about 4000M2). i am plagued with weeds which seem to have been transported by the municipal grass gutting.
can I use broadleaf herbicides on this type of grass? Can I use the same procedures described in your comments pages? I have hand weeded the grass for the past three years but this is proving to be too labour intensive.
Jan 07 2015, 09:27 AM
Rod
I had not expected photos from you, so I thought they might be from Casper/Pieter - see below if you scroll down from here. Sorry about the confusion but thank you anyway! Indeed the photos do seem to show a familiar looking broad-leaf weed. Yes, you can use the same spraying procedure as mentioned in the article. But you might want to exclude the pre-spraying feeding, as you don't seem to use fertilisers and the area is quite large, and natural. Not feeding means though that your other natural grasses might not be in prime condition to face the herbicide. If you do decide to fertilise, then do go the organic route and throw down some crumbly Neutrog Bladerunner which is refined poultry manure. I'd also suggest that you first, as a pilot project, feed and spray a small out-of-the-way section just to be sure that the herbicide does not impact on any of the natural grasses, some of which might be a bit broad-leafed. And please be sure not to use a herbicide which is NOT suitable for use on lawns! That means definitely NOT using toxic stuff like Roundup!
Jan 01 2015, 03:42 PM
Casper
Hi, I live in Roodepoort and have a weed problem in the Kikuyu lawn. It is a four-leaved plant in clusters with centre cushion which seems to have tiny brown seeds. It looks as it's going to take over the lawn! Will a broadleaf herbicide be OK, or will it kill the kikuyu as well?
Jan 05 2015, 06:04 PM
Pieter
i have the same problem !!!
Jan 06 2015, 11:33 AM
Rod
There are many many different types of lawn weeds, and I would need to have close-up digital pictures to stand a chance of identifying your specific lawn weed. If your lawn is Kikuyu Grass, then you can use pretty much any of the broad-leaf weed herbicides on the market. One has to be a bit more careful if one has Buffalo Grass as a lawn. Just be careful that you use a herbicide which is suitable for weeds on lawns, and not one that will kill everything including the lawn! There is a pre-spraying procedure to be followed, as well as some rules for the actual spraying. You would probably also have to spray a second time. Do scroll down further from here where you should find more details. It's always best to know exactly which weed you're targeting, but no sweat if you can't identify it. It's probably enough to know that you have a broad-leaf weed. For interest sake, you can Google "south african lawn weeds" which will give you pictures of South African weeds, and see if you can spot yours there.
Jan 07 2015, 09:12 AM
Rod
I received some digital photos of a lawn weed from derek-h@mweb.co.za. Was that you? One of the photos, though not really quite close up enough, seems to be similar to a weed I have seen pictures of on the Internet. But even without a positive identification, I'd still say go ahead and use a broad-leaf weed herbicide. It should work for you. And DON'T use ROUNDUP! It's not meant for use on lawns, and will kill everything including your Kikuyu Grass! The packaging insert must state that it is safe to use on Kikuyu Grass.
Dec 17 2014, 02:20 PM
Marietjie
If using in a paddock where horses graze - how long after application is it safe to allow them back there again?
Dec 18 2014, 09:29 AM
Rod
You do not mention what herbicide you intend using, but if it's Banweed, then its half life is 14-28 days, which means it will still be effective to a degree for anywhere between 1 and 2 months. Please scroll down from here and check the Question from Jane around 6 September, and my Response to her. There I give a link to Efekto's website which has a technical information page for Banweed. Horses are large and robust animals, so maybe there would only be a minimal chance of problems (relative to Jane's guinea pigs!). If I were you, I'd also give Efekto a call and confirm with them what I've said. No doubt they will have had many questions such as yours.
Dec 18 2014, 09:42 AM
Marietjie
Thanks Rod, I want to use Turfweeder APM. I will call Efecto.
Dec 10 2014, 12:17 PM
Andre
can i use banwweed in my vegetabletable garden i am from Hartbeespoortdam
Dec 12 2014, 10:54 AM
Rod
You should definitely not use Banweed anywhere near your vegetable garden. If any of the spray drifts onto the vegetables it will kill them. And herbicide on any of the vegetables you eat will also be toxic to you. I don't know the extent of your weed problem or the size of your vegetable garden, but hand-weeding is always the first and safest choice. It's initially a mission to get the weeds under control, but becomes easier the more regularly you do it. If you want to use a safe, non-toxic weed killer, then try the following cocktail : 25l (yes, liters) of either white or brown spirit vinegar (must be spirit vinegar), 500ml of orange oil (from health shops or Dischem) and 250ml dishwashing liquid. You can pro rata the ingredients to make a smaller volume. But don't add water. And you can use more orange oil if you want quicker action. The spray will also kill ANY vegetables so you will need to be ultra careful, and spray with a very focused beam, close to the ground, and on a windless day. But at least the cocktail is no-toxic and remains effective for only a couple of hours. I've also heard (but not tried it personally) that Coca Cola sprayed onto weeds will also kill them! Below is a link to Efekto's website and the Banweed herbicide, for your information :

http://www.efekto.co.za/shop/garden-protection-herbicides/banweed-mcpa/
Nov 26 2014, 03:39 PM
thelma
My lawn is soo bad full of weeds I'm about 2 give up gauteng roodepoor
Dec 01 2014, 09:11 AM
Rod
It's generally accepted that weeds take over lawn areas when soil conditions are too poor for the lawn grass itself i.e. too little nutrition and too little water. A healthy lawn will always minimise weed growth, provided that the weeds are constantly kept under control. So, I'd propose a three pronged approach to your weed problem : (1) Firstly, get the weeds under control by hand-weeding as much as you can. You can choose to tackle the lawn piece by piece, doing the most visible parts first, or by pulling out all the biggest weeds first. You will probably have to hand weed a couple of times. You could (should) also spray with a weed herbicide for broad-leaf weeds. This too will have to be done a second time, to catch the second crop of weeds. It is essential that you follow a preparation regime prior to spraying. You will find details in other places on the eGardens website, but essentially it involves feeding and watering the lawn, and not mowing it, for about two weeks before you spray for the weeds. Most weed herbicides are fine to use on Kikuyu Grass, but you have to be selective if you have either Buffalo Grass or LM Berea Grass (2) Secondly, start watering your lawn twice weekly, in the morning, each time equivalent to about 25mm rainfall i.e. deeply. Feed your lawn four times a year with a balanced fertiliser e.g. 5:1:5 or a pelletised poultry manure such as Neutrog BladeRunner. This is generally done in January, April, July and October. (3) Mow your lawn regularly, but leave the leaf blades longer in the Summer to protect the roots from the hot sun. And monitor for any signs of disease such as rust, leaf spot or fungus.
Nov 19 2014, 03:11 PM
Anonymous
What herbicide can we use to remove big areas of clover in the lawn? Mainly kikuyu and LM grass.
Nov 20 2014, 04:09 PM
Rod
Since Kikuyu Grass (fine) and LM Berea Grass (broad) have leaf blades of differing width, the choice of a herbicide needs to be done carefully. LM Berea Grass will react badly to any weed herbicide with either dicamba or 2-4D as an active ingredient. So make sure that whatever you buy, the package insert does not mention either of the latter two as active ingredients. Examples would be Efekto's Banweed MCPA and also Kombat Weed (but check the specification sheets). Now some further spin... Have you confirmed that your "clover" is indeed Clover and not something like Wonderlawn? Anyway, Clover is said to only be a problem where the soil is too acidic. So people have succeeded in getting rid of it by throwing down agricultural lime, causing the soil pH to rise more towards 7.0. But this is a slow process, and the Clover should gradually disappear over a period of say a year. The other thing people have done (but I don't have personal experience to back this up) is pour a not-too-concentrated dish washing solution onto the area for a time. This too is a slow process. It's quite amusing - some people have been asking me how to find seeds and grow Clover lawns, while others are trying their level best to get rid of Clover!
Nov 16 2014, 01:54 PM
pierre
i have a huge amount of the flat leave weed and some have thorns,i think they called paper thorn.we can not walk on the lawn without shoes,please help.I'm in Durban KZN
Nov 17 2014, 04:19 PM
Rod
I assume you have positively identified the weed as Paper Thorn. Please look at the website from the link I am providing for you below. It states that there are two ways of tackling Paper Thorn weeds (1) By hand weeding and/or (2) By applying a broad leaf weed herbicide. A very important thing to note is that the herbicide you choose must NOT contain active ingredient dicamba in it IF you have either Buffalo Grass or LM Berea Grass. But if you have Kikuyu Grass you may use a herbicide with dicamba in it. So for Paper Thorn weeds on Buffalo Grass or LM Berea Grass ONLY use Efekto's Banweed MCPA, BUT on Kikuyu Grass you may use Efekto's Banweed MCPA, Turfweeder APM or Hormoban APM. You must follow a pre-spraying procedure for about 2 weeks prior to spraying and follow the instructions on the herbicide package insert exactly as specified. Please also scroll down from here and read more about the spraying procedure in my Responses to other people.

http://gardeningeden.co.za/gardening-weeds.html
Nov 11 2014, 08:53 AM
Desiree
I have a Buffalo lawn and accidentally used Mahkro Super Lawnweeder on patches of broadleaf weeds. Now the buffalo in those areas have died...what can I use that wont affect buffalo?
Nov 11 2014, 01:09 PM
Rod
Yes, Mahkro Super Lawnweeder might have active ingredient dicamba which is detrimental to Buffalo Grass, as it has broad leaf blades. The lawn weed herbicide which I know is safe to use on Buffalo Grass is Banweed MCPA, and probably also Kombat Weeds (but if you use the latter, check the herbicide package insert and verify that it is indeed safe for Buffalo Grass). And lastly, any lawn weed herbicide will knock the lawn grass itself back a bit, resulting in slight yellowing. So you must boost your lawn for two weeks prior to spraying by following a feeding/watering program. Please scroll down from here and see in other Responses what you need to do in this regard.
Nov 07 2014, 01:37 PM
Shannon
I stay in Cape Town, Brackenfell and I have a fairly lage patch of kikuyu grass. I am struggling to get rid of the weeds could you identify and advise what I can use to eradicate this weed. It is brownish in colour and has a rather wide spread in the lawn. If stepped on it has tiny thorn like pieces which get stuck in your feet.
Nov 10 2014, 02:33 PM
Rod
By your description, I think your problem thorny weed might be the Common Dubbeltjie, Tribulus terrestris. Rather than repeat what I've said about this particular lawn weed elsewhere on the eGardens website, I'll ask you to go to the eGardens Library section and click on the "Your Healthy Lawn Grass Landscaping Guide" article. Then scroll down to my Response to a Question from Louise. The approaches to eradicating this weed vary from application of a herbicide, to using an organic environment friendly cocktail, to hand weeding! Please see if you can find something which suits your needs there. I spent quite considerable time pulling this same weed out of my daughter's lawn and found it both therapeutic and effective. But you might not have the time to do this!
Oct 23 2014, 02:49 PM
Johan
I live in Centurion,Pretoria, My lawn is Kikuye.. I have a weed that is rapidly overtaking the lawn,small rounded leaves with deep strong roots, looks like a miniture tree when you pull it out. the more I pull out thhe more it just takes over,tried some herbicides but not killing it off.At the moment killing it with boiling water,but dont know what impact that will have on the overall lawn.
Oct 23 2014, 04:33 PM
Rod
I have a vague mind picture of your weed, but would prefer to see a few close-up digital pictures. If you can do this, send them to : rod@egardens.co.za. Here is an environment-friendly weed herbicide you may want to try. Make a mixture using 25 litres of white or brown spirit vinegar (yes, 25 LITRES, not 2.5 litres and MUST be spirit vinegar), 500 ml of orange oil and 300 ml of dish washing liquid. Don't use water, as the vinegar provides the liquid volume for spraying. The dish washing liquid helps to stick the herbicide on the leaves of the weeds. You can use more orange oil in the mixture if you want faster results. This organic herbicide kills EVERYTHING of a plant nature, so the beam of your spray must be very focused, close to your target and there must be no spray drift. If you accidentally spray onto a bit of the lawn or surrounding plants they will be impacted too. You may pro rata the ingredients if you wish to make up a smaller batch. Apparently (I haven't yet tried it) the herbicide kills weeds DEAD (if you know what I mean!). It can be used on paths and driveways too. It has no residual effect after a few hours.
Oct 20 2014, 08:06 PM
edgar
Good day gents

I have a problem with what I believe is chickweed. I have remove it and now sit with gaps (holes) in my lawn (what is left of it at least).

Should i go ahead with fertilusing it anf top it with a lawn dressing?

Regards, edgar
Oct 23 2014, 04:45 PM
Rod
You can send a digital picture of the "chickweed" to rod@egardens.co.za if you want me to try to confirm it is indeed that - and if you still have any left. Chickweed is not common at all on lawns - it is rather found in semi-shaded moist flower beds. It has a very fine structure and also fine roots which are easy to remove. It spreads quite readily via the seeds from the tiny white flowers. I think if you can get your lawn to grow well, you would not even see the chickweed and it would eventually disappear after a season's mowing. By all means fertilise and top dress your lawn. You might also want to buy plugs (or get runners) to plant into those gaps in the lawn to speed up the covering process.
Oct 24 2014, 10:53 AM
EdgarJ
Thank you Rod.

I will fwd pics of three weeds in my grass which incle the one i think is chickweed.

I wonder if nurseries sell plugs / runners? Thx for the advice. Much appreciated.

Regards
EdgarJ
Oct 24 2014, 02:22 PM
Rod
You don't mention in which part of the country you live, nor what type of lawn grass you have. Certainly in the Cape Town area Kikuyu Grass is most commonly sold in the roll-on form, but I'm sure there are suppliers of Kikuyu in plug form - I imagine so. And I know of one supplier who will provide it in the form of runners - Master Organics. Buffalo Grass is definitely available in this area in the form of plugs, but also (depending on availability) as roll-on. LM Berea too is available in plug form. Irrespective of lawn grass type, the plug trays comprise 200 rooted plugs, and the coverage is 8-12 m2 per tray, depending on plug planing density. I know for a fact that lawn grass plug trays are sold in other major centers. I'll update this Response when I've seen your weed pictures.
***Update***
I can't really see clearly in your pictures what weeds you have. Chickweed has very small white single flowers, and even your first picture does not seem to have those. It also has quite thin stems, unlike in your picture. What I would normally do is try to identify them using pictures from various websites. You can Google 'south africa lawn weed pictures". Then I would go to the Herbicides section of Efekto's website and check to see which of their lawn weed herbicides target that weed (or hopefully those weeds). Always bearing in mind which type of lawn grass you have, of course, as some can't be used on Buffalo Grass for example. If your herbicides are not working, then you might want to scroll up from here and read my Response to Johan. I tell him about an organic weed herbicide made from spirit vinegar, orange oil and dish washing liquid. It kills any plants, including weeds onto which it is sprayed DEAD. So use a VERY focused spray nozzle, or maybe even paint it onto the leaves of the weeds (if there aren't that many). And DON'T let the herbicide get onto the lawn grass itself or surrounding plants. This herbicide has no residual effect after a couple of hours. And I know it might be difficult, but pulling as many of the bigger weeds as possible out by hand, ongoing if necessary, is something one can always do. Here is a link with some more information on approaches to lawn weed problems :

http://www.lawnpro.co.za/weeds.aspx
Oct 14 2014, 05:09 PM
Anonymous
What can I use to kill weeds that won't kill the lawn
Oct 15 2014, 08:37 AM
Rod
Any herbicide you use to kill lawn weeds will have some sort of impact on your lawn grass. This is why it is recommended that you feed and water your lawn well for say 2-3 weeks before spraying for weeds - to ensure that your lawn is in an optimal state. Some also say don't mow for a while before spraying - to maximise weed leaf surface area for absorption of the herbicide. Also important in choosing a herbicide is the type of lawn you have. If It's Kikuyu Grass, then you could use Banweed MCPA or Turfweeder APM or Hormoban APM for example. But if it's LM Berea or Buffalo Grass then AVOID Turfweeder or Hormoban as their active ingredient is dicamba, which is detrimental to LM Berea and Buffalo Grass. If you find other brands check on the package insert to see if it is safe to use on your type of lawn grass. And always follow dilution rates exactly as specified. Even if you are careful, your lawn grass might show slight signs of yellowing, but it will recover. Finally, you might need a second application, with say 2 weeks in between, as the first application typically takes out only 90-95% of the weeds.
Oct 06 2014, 05:44 PM
Petro Viljoen
Hi Rod! I stay in Centurion and have a tiny townhouse kikuyu lawn. A weed I know from childhood as "suurtjies/suuruitjies", has invaded my lawn starting from the edges of my flowerbeds. I tried remowing them by hand but its an overwhelming job because they have a web-like root system which seems to entangle itself around the kikuyu. Can you recommend a weedkiller that I could use on my lawn for this problem? I didnt put any topsoil or fertilizer on my lawn this season - thought it best not to give these weeds more reasons to grow!
Oct 07 2014, 12:57 PM
Rod
Yes, I also recall tasting Suurtjies in my young days - sour as anything! It is a type of clover. Apparently they tend to grow/spread where the soil is very acidic. This means that the pH is substantially less than 7.0 (which is considered neutral). You can purchase a soil test kit at a retail nursery, if you wish to verify your soil acidity. The environmentally friendly way to combat Suurtjies is to spread agricultural lime (landboukalk). This will neutralise the acidity, and shift the pH towards the alkaline side. Experience by gardeners indicates that it can take up to a year to get rid of the Suurtjies using this method. Expect a little yellowing of your normal lawn grass, but it will recover. One person also recommended watering the area with Sunlight Liquid (same concentration as you would have in your wash-up sink) - he said that worked like a bomb. The other way is to simply spray with a broad-leaf weed pesticide such as Banweed MCPA, Hormoban APM or Turfweeder APM which should be fine to use on your Kikuyu lawn. And it's always wise, irrespective of which approach you want to take, to green up your lawn before you do anything else. Perhaps read through some of my Responses to other clients if you scroll down from here. They mention a standard pre-and post-spraying procedure to follow.
Sep 21 2014, 08:43 PM
Sophie
Hi Rod, I have an unwanted grass in my kikuyu / LM lawn. It looks a lot like Bermuda grass (and might be Bermuda grass) although people in our area (North West Province - Klerksdorp) call it horse grass. I not sure they have the correct name. It has extremely deep roots and grows faster than kikuyu, so it slowly takes over. Impossible to remove them mechanically without destroying the whole lawn, due to its very deep roots. Is there any poison that selectively kills this grass?
Sep 23 2014, 10:30 AM
Rod
Yes, it's probably Kweek - Cynodon dactylon - sold locally as Bermuda Grass. Often used on sports fields where cricket or hockey is played, and occasionally on golf fairways. Other than mechanical removal, I am not aware of any herbicide available locally which targets Bermuda Grass specifically and only. Herbicides such as Efekto's Roundup will kill Bermuda Grass, BUT ALSO the rest of your lawn grass. So effectively you would then need to replant your lawn. I did some Internet research which indicates that Bermuda Grass is a major invasive grass in places in the USA. They seem to use a Bayer herbicide called Bayer Advanced Bermuda Grass Control which specifically targets the Bermuda. Also mentioned quite commonly there are two other herbicides, Ornamec and Poast. Your best bet would probably be Bayer. You could perhaps order some of the Bayer product from eBay, or you could try to contact Bayer South Africa. Below is the "Bermuda eradication blog" which makes very interesting reading! My father always said that Kweek makes a very nice and firm lawn if it is fed and watered regularly. I wish I could offer you more substantive advice, but this is the best I can do on this difficult to answer Question...

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/weeds/msg0706132316567.html?43
Oct 02 2014, 02:40 PM
alf
I reside in Potchefstroom on a small holding and have a rugby field of grass to maintain and I use a product called 2-4D MIXING AT 20 ml to 10 liters water, you may have to cheak your water PH (7.2 IS THE NORM) and I keep the weeds under control. It is a broad leaf killer so be careful.dont spray on a windy day ar if their is a chance of rain winhin 48 hours.add a cup of sugar to the mixture as this makes it stick and it stays on the weed for longer. Good luck.
Sep 21 2014, 01:08 PM
Janey Edwards
I have a weed in my lawn that I can't identify. It is a weak little thing that creeps all over the place - in among wonderlawn and grass. The leaves look like tiny delphinium leaves. It has tiny little roots and creeps along like grass. I want to get rid of it! I can send you a picture if you give me your email. I live in Joburg.
Sep 22 2014, 04:36 PM
Rod
It always helps to identify the exact weed. This way one can see if it is listed in the package insert information sheet of a proposed herbicide. So perhaps send a close-up picture or two of the weed to : rod@egardens.co.za. You do not say what type of lawn you have. If it's Kikuyu (thin-leafed) then you can use Efekto's Banweed MCPA, or Hormoban APM or Turfweeder APM. But if your lawn is LM Berea or Buffalo, then AVOID Hormoban APM or Turfweeder APM as they have an active ingredient dicamba not liked by LM Berea and Buffalo. These are broad spectrum herbicides and will kill many varieties of broad-leafed weeds. Please scroll down from here and see my responses to Questions from Debbie and Dougie - they contain important lawn weed spraying directions. And below is an American website with weed information and pictures (we have many of the same weeds over here), so perhaps see if you recognise your weed and let me know if you do.

http://www.louisvilleky.gov/nr/rdonlyres/3e824c1e-57e3-4eb3-b051-59e2e33f92e3/0/srag300pocketfieldguidetoweeds.pdf
Sep 24 2014, 11:48 AM
Rod
Thanks for those pictures you sent. Not being a botanist I don't know the botanical names of many weeds, but I'm sure I've seen your lawn weed down here in Cape Town. I'll do some more Internet research today, and update this Response if I positively identify it. I've just seen in your email that you have Wonderlawn amongst your Kikuyu - this also has broad roundish leaves so I'm a little concerned that the Banweed MCPA might impact on it, as well as your weed. But you mentioned that you had already done one session of spraying, with no noticeable effect on the weed. Your weed definitely has broad leaves, and I'd be surprised if the herbicide did not get rid of it. Sometimes these herbicides take a few days to produce visible signs of dying of the weeds, so do be patient, and perhaps also spray for a second time after a week or so. IMPORTANTLY - be meticulous in preparing your lawn well in advance of spraying, to minimise the effect of the herbicide on the lawn grass itself, plus adhere strictly to the herbicide package insert. I'll check to see if there is an alternative to Banweed MCPA but different brands often use the same active ingredient in their herbicides.
I'll keep you posted if I find anything. Is your lawn very large? What about hand weeding? You say the weed is fairly loose. Very therapeutic is lawn weeding, you know, and gives you the opportunity to avoid other household chores!
Sep 24 2014, 12:36 PM
Janey Edwards
Thanks so much Rod! I'll apply more banweed next week. My lawn is tiny (I live in a complex) but that weed is so invasive ... despite the fact that I DO find weeding therapeutic (one weed = one politician) it's an overwhelming task to dig them out by the roots! Many thanks again. Enjoy your day.
Sep 06 2014, 05:28 PM
Jane
How long must I wait after using banweed on my lawn before I can allow my guinea pigs to graze on the grass?
Sep 07 2014, 06:44 PM
Rod
Sorry I've taken a little longer than usual to respond - lots of Questions for me to answer! Your guinea pigs must be quite hungry by now. I've got no actual experience with Banweed and guinea pigs, so I resorted to Efekto's website. I'm giving you a link to the technical page on their website, for Banweed. You'll see under Point 11 that guinea pigs have non sensitisation to Banweed. I THINK that means it should not affect them, if Efekto's dilution rates are strictly followed. You'll also see that Banweed has a half life of 14-28 days, which means that it will have disappeared after 28-56 days i.e. 1-2 months. So to be absolutely sure your guinea pigs are safe, you'd have to wait that long. But I suggest you contact Efekto via their website and speak to a consultant. I suspect he'll tell you its safe for your guinea pigs to go onto the lawn within a few days. Also, remember that Banweed will have been absorbed by the leaves of the weeds within say six hours, and therefor you could actually water your lawn say the next day after spraying, washing the Banweed off the blades of grass etc. and really diluting the Banweed so as to absolutely minimise the risk. Some say leave the Banweed on the weeds for three days or so to maximise absorption. Your call..... but hope I've given you some choices.

Here is that link :

http://efekto.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Banweed-MCPA.pdf
Sep 07 2014, 06:57 PM
Anonymous
Thank you very much.
Sep 01 2014, 08:50 PM
Hayley
Hello

I live in Cape Town and want to find a supplier of white clover seeds, also known as dutch clover or trifolium repens. Could you help me as I'm finding it really difficult. I want to plant a clover lawn.
Sep 02 2014, 11:31 AM
Rod
I'm afraid I've drawn a blank on this one! I could not find anyone who supplies White Clover seed in South Africa. eGardens recently became a reference-only website, but we never did stock White Clover seed anyway. Seems like you would either have to source it from overseas by online Internet ordering (and all the red tape that might go along with that process), or find one of the specialist lawn companies who might be able to source it for you. The latter are the companies who both lay lawns and come out to site to do consultations about soil suitability, weed control etc. Wish I could think of something more substantial to suggest.....
Sep 02 2014, 07:40 PM
Hayley
Thanks for the effort anyway Rod. I'm still holding out on Agrimark finding the seed for me, although it's been many phonecalls and emails with not any luck at this stage....however, I'm on a mission!
Sep 03 2014, 09:38 AM
Rod
Several afterthoughts came to mind. Have you perhaps approached Stark Ayres? I know they have a big seed resource, and they might just stock White Clover, or have access to the seed. And there is another Cape Town company called Silverhill Seeds - you should find them on the Internet. They carry quite a wide variety of seed. Lastly, you might want to try Margaret Roberts. You should find her through her website.Phew!
Aug 11 2014, 01:44 PM
Mads
I have grazing that is being destroyed by Dubbeljies. I want to spray Banweed as i have used it before. How long must i leave the horses out of the paddock after spraying?
Aug 11 2014, 04:33 PM
Rod
Banweed is indeed I believe the correct herbicide to use. Your horses will be very precious to you so it is definitely better to establish the exact facts about the period it remains toxic once sprayed. I found an article on Efekto's website which gives all sorts of technical information about Banweed, including toxicity/dosages, mainly for birds, fish and insects. But nothing about large grazing animals. It does mention a soil half-life of 14-28 days which means it will remain active in the soil for twice that time i.e. 28-56 days, before being bio-degraded. Usually lawn/grass pesticides are not dangerous to larger animals such as cats or dogs (unless they get hold of and eat the package contents) because the required solution is very dilute. But then dogs for example would only walk on or roll on the lawn, not eat it. One approach would be to give the paddock a good watering after the Banweed has had time to be absorbed by the dubbeltjies - with most lawn weeds say 6-8 hours would be adequate. But I do recommend that you contact Efekto via their website www.efekto.co.za and ask them directly, just to be safe.
http://efekto.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Banweed-MCPA.pdf
For now, this is the most practical advice I can give you.
May 20 2014, 04:07 PM
Debbie
Hello, my lawn is being killed by weeds, it looks like a desert. There is a broad leaf weed but more of the clover. I brought ban weed, is this ok? Have previously used lawn weed, but was useless. I live on the Bluff in Durban South Africa.
Jun 24 2014, 03:08 PM
Rod
Yes, everything grows so well in Durban's climate, even the weeds! Firstly, please scroll down from here and read my Response to Dougie. He also had lawn weeds which might have been clover. At the end of that Response is also a schedule of activities for preparing to spray, and for actually spraying. The herbicide you use depends on what type of lawn grass you have. If it's LM/Berea or Buffalo Grass (both broad leafed grasses) then you need to AVOID any herbicide having Dicamba as an active ingredient. For Efekto that would mean using Banweed MCPA (as you correctly did) and NOT using Hormoban APM or Turfweeder APM. Maybe you need to take a multi-pronged approach. Feed and water your lawn as well as you can, remove as many weeds as possible by hand to give the lawn grass the best chance of growing and spreading and also spray with a herbicide. Remember to repeat the spraying as one never gets rid of all the weeds after the first spraying (typically 90%). I don't know how big your lawn is but maybe, as a last resort you would have to completely remove the lawn, spray for weeds, then rework the soil and replant. A bit drastic, and I'd first try every other possibility. Maybe it would also be a good idea to exactly identify your lawn weed via the Internet (or take digital pictures) - then you know exactly what you are fighting with. I hope this helps you!
Apr 20 2014, 07:36 PM
Gift
Which general herbicide can I use to permanently remove grass from my entire premises in Mafikeng, North West province?
Jun 19 2014, 10:59 AM
Rod
Please accept my apologies for taking so long to respond - I was indisposed from late March and now have a big backlog of Questions! Some years back I had the need to clear a large area of Kikuyu Grass plus many other weeds - to make place for plant bags for a wholesale nursery. I obtained a product called Clearout from our local farmer's co-op. It was sold in 5l containers and was very effective. So my first suggestion is that you visit your local co-op and see if they stock Clearout. If not, you can also talk to them about a couple of Efekto products : Roundup and Grassclear. I see from the Internet that in the USA Roundup is very often used for clearing grassed areas. Roundup is also quite often used in this country to spray for weeds in driveways or brick paving. Your co-op might also stock similar products of a different brand. You'd probably need more than one application of your chosen herbicide. And do be careful of the spray drifting onto other plants which you don't want to kill off. Preferably spray on a wind-free day. I hope this helps you a bit!
Apr 09 2014, 10:52 AM
Dougie
HI I have a flat creeper (runner) weed among my Kikuyu It is almost like a ground cover.
it has round leaves about the size of a ten cent piece Can you please identify this and tell me what
weed killer would you recommend
Jun 12 2014, 09:08 AM
Rod
My apologies for taking so long to respond - I've been out of action since late March! It's very difficult to say what "weed" you are having to deal with, without seeing it. By your description it might well be Wonderlawn (Dichondra repens). Some people use this as a soft lawn, especially in shade. If your weed has multiple lobes as leaves, it might be Sorrel (Oxalis stricta), White Clover (Trifolium repens) or Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea). If you think it's Wonderlawn, then please page down from here and see my response to Shirli Carswell who had a similar problem. Since your weed is mixed with Kikuyu in your lawn you could use one of the Efekto products such as Banweed MCPA, Hormoban APM or Turfweeder APM. I have no particular preference, and have used all the above over the years. Before buying your herbicide, read the information insert in the packaging and make sure it is suitable for use on Kikuyu, and preferably also mentions Wonderlawn as a target. Remember these rules for spraying : (1) use exact concentrations as specified in the packaging insert (2) repeat spraying after two weeks (3) don't spray less than a week after cutting as wounds on the grass blades promote herbicide absorption (4) don't mow for at least a week after spraying to maximise absorption by the weeds (5) water and feed the lawn well for say two to four weeks before spraying to minimise knocking back of the lawn by the herbicide (6) spray on a wind-free morning to avoid drift of herbicide onto surrounding plants. Good luck!
Feb 05 2014, 01:48 PM
Shirli Carswell
Hi there, I seem to have an 'attack' of which I have identified as 'wonderlawn' in areas of my lawn areas. What herbicide can I get to kill this off without killing my lawn?
Feb 12 2014, 11:45 AM
Rod
Wonderlawn, if that is indeed what you have attacking your lawn, is classed as a "broadleaf weed". There are a number of herbicides available to control Wonderlawn. Firstly, Basagran (active ingredient bendioxide) specifically lists Wonderlawn as a target. Others like Banweed MCPA and Kombat Weeds have active ingredient MCPA which also targets broadleaf weeds. Don't forget to feed your lawn with high nitrogen fertiliser 2-4 weeks before you spray, and also water well for 3 days before. Don't mow your lawn for two weeks before spraying so that the blades of grass are as long as possible for absorption of the active ingredient. Hope this helps you!
Jan 09 2014, 11:06 AM
Alec
Is my dog safe after applying the weed removal??
Jan 09 2014, 05:51 PM
Rod
I have never heard of or read about dogs being at risk from normal application of herbicides to lawns. One should naturally ALWAYS read the information in the herbicide packaging to understand the risk of improper or unsafe use to humans and insects, and that same information would be applicable to animals. For example any living creature would be at risk if the herbicide is ingested in quantity e.g. by mistake it gets mixed into food or water. I believe that if used correctly herbicides pose no risk to your dog.
Dec 17 2013, 08:51 AM
Anonymous
Is the plant/vine morning glory (creeper with purple/blueish flowers) considered a weed as it certainly seems to grow like one? My neighbour planted it against the boundary wall between our gardens and I keep on having to fend it off from invading my garden.
What is the best way to get rid of it?
Dec 18 2013, 01:29 PM
Rod
I have responded to your query under the Library article "Climbers - Nature's Backdrop".
Nov 19 2013, 06:57 PM
Anonymous
What is best for permanently remove moles in garden - Pinelands. They dig soil out of garden. What product would you recommend?
Nov 21 2013, 12:07 PM
Rod
I'm not sure which type of mole you are having a problem with - the Cape Dune Mole or the Golden mole. The former one typically produces a mound above the soil and the latter one burrows along just under the surface of lawns particularly. Irrespective, moles are virtually impossible to get rid of permanently. The best that you can hope for is to discourage them from coming back. They are creatures which live here and they feed on grubs and insects found under the soil. I think I must have heard nearly 100 different "solutions" to mole problems over the course of the last twenty years or so! They range from highly toxic e.g. Phostoxin to highly commical e.g. waiting at night with a spade. I should perhaps write an article for eGardens about mole deterrents! Maybe the most gentle and least damaging to the environment would be to put something strong-smelling into their burrow when you notice activity. Try mothballs together with castor oil, or eucalyptus oil, repeated if necessary. Some gardeners have tried plastic cool drink bottles with flaps protruding upside down on a stick, while others use a vibrating device which can be purchased at your local nursery. These devices cause ground vibrations which supposedly chase the moles away. But I question their efficacy and they are definitely not visually appealing. I'll try and get together all possible solutions to give gardeners maximum choice, when my time permits. As a last thought, you could approach one of the local mole exterminators, but that would cost you money and I doubt that his results would be guaranteed!
Nov 19 2013, 03:36 PM
Wendy
Please could you advise. We live in East London. We're having a huge problem with a little, very invasive weed that is destroying the enjoyment of my previously beautiful kikuyu lawn. It is minute but has a vicious thorn hardy visible to the eye making walking bare foot impossible. Removing by hand is also not an option and wondering if there is a herbicide that I could use. I have tried to identify it and think it is possibly Sedge or Kyllinga. Not sure. Thanks for the help.
Nov 21 2013, 11:41 AM
Rod
It is vital to identify the specific weed that you are dealing with, before deciding on a course of action. Without seeing it, it's difficult to know whether it is a "broad leaf" weed or not. There are herbicides on the market for broad leaf weeds in lawn. I'm not sure if your specific weed is the same as one I've been having trouble with here in Cape Town : it has very fine almost fern-like leaves and small very difficult to see thorns similar to what are called "dubbeltjies" or "duiweltjies". I managed to pull out all of my thorny weeds (I hope!) by hand. I suggest that you (a) take digital photos of the weed and its thorns and send these to Efekto (they have a website www.efekto.co.za) (b) get them to identify the weed and (c) ask them for a recommended herbicide if there is one on the market. Perhaps you would be so kind as to keep eGardens in the picture so that we can see what Efekto says and assist other gardeners who have a similar problem. The above is I believe the best thing to do in your case.
Sep 15 2013, 09:42 AM
Arnold Spangenberg
What is the best herbicide to use to kill weeds on my lawn. I live in Cape Town.
Sep 19 2013, 11:32 AM
Rod
You might want to look at my reply to Robert of Niewoudtville below. In summary, Super Lawn Weeder or Turfweeder is often used when the weather is a little warmer and drier - but you would know that here in Cape Town we are still experiencing cold, wet conditions despite it officially being Spring! So try MCPA which is mild and can be used in current weather conditions. Kerb is quite a popular general herbicide for lawn weeds but does not kill off clover. Always read the insert in the herbicide box carefully before applying. And there is no substitute for hand weeding - it's good therapy too!
Sep 12 2013, 11:33 AM
Robert
Hi, can you please tell me what is the best weed killer for clover in the lawn. I live in Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape and every year in winter/spring 90% of my lawn is covered in clover. Thanks
Sep 19 2013, 09:49 AM
Rod
There are in fact many types of clover. If you Google the subject of ridding a lawn of clover, you will see many websites recommending removal by hand and allowing other lawn grass space to spread. A lot of resistance out there to the use of herbicides! Apparently the best and mildest herbicide to use at this time of the year (early Spring) is MCPA. When warmer, drier weather sets in, you can try Super Lawn Weeder, which is less expensive than its equivalent Turfweeder. Kerb apparently does not kill off clover. A little clover in the lawn should not detract from its general appearance, so the challenge is to minimise the presence of the clover. Hope this works for you!

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