Florida pusley is a common lawn weed that can be difficult to control. Florida pusley is native to our state. It is a summer annual but perennial types of pusley may be found growing with Florida pusley, including largeflower pusley and Brazil pusley.
In routinely mowed lawns, Florida pusley will have a prostrate, spreading growth habit. Plants produce noticeable white, tubular flowers that are clustered at the ends of branches. It reproduces by seeds.
Florida pusley can become mat forming in sunny, thinning areas of a lawn. It is very drought tolerant and will easily out-compete lawngrass on well drained, sandy soils during dry periods when the lawn is not being irrigated adequately.
Regular irrigation to prevent wilting of grass plants can allow a lawn to better compete with Florida pusley. Small infestations can be physically removed. It is important to control the plants before they begin to reproduce. Seed production quickly follows flower production. Mature, well established plants are more difficult to control. Florida pusley can be an indication of nematode infested soil.
Larger infestations of Florida pusley will likely require herbicide treatment. A preemergence herbicide such as pendimethalin should be applied during mid February to early March when day temperatures reach 65° to 70°F for 4 to 5 consecutive days. A second application may be needed 6 to 9 weeks after initial application to achieve season-long control. With postemergence herbicides such as those containing 2,4-D, dicamba, carfentrazone, imazaquin, etc., make your application when Florida Pusley is young, actively growing and not under drought stress. Check the herbicide label for specific application rates and turf grass tolerance before use.
All chemicals should be used in accordance with directions on the manufacturer's label. Use pesticides safely. Read and follow directions on the manufacturer's label.
For additional information on Florida pusley and other weeds as well as information on how to grow a Florida lawn, contact your University of Florida IFAS Extension Office in your county or visit http://hort.ufl.edu/yourfloridalawn.
Larry Williams, UF/IFAS Extension Agent, Okaloosa County, July 6, 2011