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Extension advice: Tips for dealing with recurring yard weeds
Richard Evans
Richard Evans is UGA Extension Service agent in Bryan County.

I like to tell someone what is wrong and after giving them helpful information, watch them solve the problem.

Sadly, few problems are like this. Many problems take time in the form of years or months to solve and may never fully go away. I wish I could make these problems go away, but I cannot.

In fact, we have a couple of these type problems in our lawns now. With the warm winter and excess rain we’ve been getting, weeds are a real problem right now.

Florida betony is not a Florida vacation spot. It is a perennial weed. That means it comes back again every year. The leaves are opposite each other on the stem and are about 1-inch long with little teeth on them. The stem is square and flowers are white or pink with purple spots.

It has a white underground tuber that looks like a rattlesnake rattle.

This gives it another name - rattlesnake weed.

The plant smells when crushed.

Florida betony invades lawns and flower beds.

Herbicides will kill the top but it will regrow. This means you will have to re-treat for several years.

Also, you must treat it all for best control. If you miss some, the weed will continue to spread.

Do you get the idea that Florida betony is hard to control? Spraying Florida betony at bloom gives best control. Spray the weed in the lawn with Weed Be Gon or in beds with Round Up or similar chemicals. Use the Weed Be Gon or Round Up repeatedly every three weeks or so. You may have to do this several years to make an impact though.

Remember that Round Up (and similar chemicals) will damage all green leaves and stems it touches. Keep it off your good plants.

Is there any other way to control Florida betony? You can pull it over and over again. This will slow its spread and may slowly kill it. You must not let any escape.

Dig up the tubers. This is where it grows from.

Do not move soil with Florida betony tubers or roots in it. Mulch heavily all beds, though this is not a big help with this weed.

Wild garlic is another headache weed. The best chemical control is Image. Once again, it will probably take several years for good control.

Spray twice several weeks apart and again next year. Weed B Gon or similar products work fairly well, but not as well as Image.

The best control is digging up all the little garlics. Dispose of the plant in the garbage can.

If you put it in the yard wastes beside the road it may be composted and sent to someone else’s yard to live.

Dandelions can be a beauty to some and an eyesore to others. If you want to be rid of them, spray them repeatedly with Weed Be Gon or similar chemicals as recommended for Florida betony. Weed Be Gon and other chemicals contain 2,4-D and banvel, which control many broadleaf weeds.

Some lawn problems are incurable. All we do is manage them. They are like a chronic illness – diabetes, heart disease, etc.

We just learn how to live with it. Remember that a healthy lawn is often the best weed control.

Contact the Bryan County Extension Office at or at 912-653-2231 for details on better managing your lawn and weeds.

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