Weed of the Month — Virginia Buttonweed

Virginia buttonweed (Diodia virginiana L.) is a troublesome broadleaf weed in turfgrass throughout the southeastern United States. Virginia buttonweed is a deep-rooted perennial with prostrate or spreading branches. It usually proliferates in moist to wet areas and can tolerate mowing heights as low as one-half inch. The species is a member of the Rubiaceae family and is found from New Jersey, west to Missouri and south into the Gulf Coast states.

Virginia buttonweed leaves are slightly thickened, opposite without petioles and slightly rough along the margins. Leaves are green on the upper surface, light green on the lower surface and often have a mottled yellow mosaic appearance caused by a virus that commonly infects foliage. Branched stems are occasionally hairy and reproduction occurs via seeds, roots or stem fragments. Flowers are white with four star-shaped petals, which sometimes have pink streaks in the center and two sepals. Fruit are green, elliptically shaped, hairy and ridged.

Removing Virginia buttonweed by hand is often ineffective because creeping roots or fragments left behind may establish a viable plant. Several cultural practices can be utilized to control or reduce pressure of Virginia buttonweed in lawns. Deep and infrequent irrigation encourages turfgrass root development, which may improve the ability of desired grasses to compete with perennial weeds in mixed stands. Withholding water until desirable grasses exhibit initial drought stress symptoms can help reduce soil moisture for potential weed infestations. Overwatering or excessive rainfall during growing periods may predispose the site to the invasion of Virginia buttonweed. Most pre-emergent herbicides provide poor control (< 70%) of Virginia buttonweed in turf but there are several postemergent herbicides that effectively control Virginia buttonweed in turfgrass.

If you have buttonweed in your lawn call TDI for a free service call to have your technician come and resolve the weeds.