Skip to content
Home » Lawn Care Blog » What You Should Know About Virginia Buttonweed

What You Should Know About Virginia Buttonweed

No one likes to see their manicured lawn overrun with weeds. They are ugly and difficult to bring under control. If there’s the most difficult broadleaf weed to control in Atlanta it’s probably got to be the Virginia buttonweed. This deep-rooted perennial thrives in moist and poorly drained sites. As such, its removal requires a multi-pronged approach. Your friends at Arbor-Nomics do offer weed control for Virginia buttonweed. Here is a primer on the Virginia buttonweed, its description, and some controls.

What is the Virginia Buttonweed?

The Virginia buttonweed is a difficult-to-control turfgrass weed widely considered to be the most invasive weed in the South. It owes its prolific characteristic to its multiple methods of reproduction including heavy seed production from self-pollinating flowers both above and below ground, rooting stem fragments, and tap roots which allow the weeds to survive through winters. It can tolerate mowing heights as low as one-half inch, but even mowing aids in the spread of buttonweed as stem fragments can root.

Identifying Virginia Buttonweed

The Virginia buttonweed is fairly easy to identify thanks to its white tubular flowers with four star-shaped petals, which have tiny hairs and sometimes have pink streaks in the center. Its leaves are opposite and lance shaped, joined across the slightly hairy, branched stems by a membrane. The plant produces a green fruit that is elliptical, hairy, and ridged.

Controlling Virginia Buttonweed Growth

Removing Virginia buttonweed by hand is usually not effective because creeping roots and fragments left behind are likely to establish a viable plant. There are, however, some cultural practices to control or reduce the proliferation of Virginia buttonweed. You can limit Virginia buttonweed growth indirectly by maintaining a healthy and dense turfgrass to stamp out the invading perennial weeds.
Water your lawn deeply but infrequently to allow surface soils to dry between watering. This improves turfgrass root depth and development, which can improve the turfgrass’ ability to compete against perennial weeds. It might even be beneficial to withhold water until desired turfgrass displays initial drought stress symptoms. In any case, avoid overwatering during growing periods as this can predispose the site to buttonweed invasions.
To further support the growth of healthy and dense turfgrass, you want to avoid practices that promote soil compaction. To this end, turf managers should redirect traffic away from thinned areas and areas susceptible to Virginia buttonweed invasions.

Herbicides and Chemical Treatments

Most pre-emergence herbicides provide poor control of Virginia buttonweed, and those that do have potential are often inconsistent. Several post-emergence herbicides are more effective, but timing is key and repeat applications are often necessary for true control of buttonweed.

Leave It to Us

If you prefer to leave the Virginia buttonweed control to the experienced specialists, then call Arbor-Nomics to get in touch with a courteous representative. We can control this stubborn broadleaf weed with three applications of a product created specifically for buttonweed. This service is included at no charge with our Silver Plus, Gold Plus, and Platinum programs. Grassy weed control is also available as an add on service for Silver and Gold programs. Call now to learn more about treatment of Virginia Buttonweed.