May's featured weed is Gamochaeta coarctata (shiny cudweed or gray everlasting).Shiny cudweed is an annual winter weed that loves disturbed soils, low fertility, and thin lawns. I've also read it's a biennial 🤷🏻♀️ and this may be true if you don't eradicate it, LOL.
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- Shiny cudweed is in the aster family, but the flowers don't look like asters - they look like lumps (see pics at bottom). Asters are usually pretty as can be. Not this one.
- Habit: grows in a rosette (like other weeds of the month: chickweed, hairy bittercress) that shoots off some longer stems that grow upright or flop down on the ground
- Flowers: are spikes in the center of the rosette, but mainly on the ends of the longer stems
- Leaves: bright green on top, silvery on the bottom
- Stems: they are thick and can be silvery too
There are a lot of cudweeds and it gets confusing because there have been changes to the scientific nomenclature. Other types in the Southeast are:
- Gamochaeta purpurea - purple cudweed
- Gamochaeta pensylvanica - wandering cudweed
Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium - rabbit tobacco
Learn more from these websites:
Eat it or Treat it
If you aren't going to try to eat shiny cudweed as "chewing gum" (hence, cud) or smoke rabbit tobacco (hence, tobacco), then I think identifying to the level of simply cudweed suffices for our purposes of eradication from our lawns.
Bonus: Cudweeds are hosts to American lady butterflies, so that's something to consider before you totally set your heart against this ugly-but-useful group of weeds.
- In September spread pre-emergent herbicide to prevent germination of winter weeds, such as cudweeds. Come by for products or sign up for Lawn Coach.
- It is easy to prevent with thick layers of mulch or by cultivating a thick, healthy lawn.
- Cudweeds like low fertility soils, so if you have Zoysia, Bermuda, or Tall Fescue, increasing fertility may help (increasing fertility for Centipede grass may harm the lawn itself).
- Hand pull - easy peasy and so satisfying to pull it up!
- Mow to keep larger plants from going to seed.
- It is easy to kill with post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds, especially something with 3 active ingredients such as 3 Way Max. Come by for products or sign up for Lawn Coach.
Flowers form in the center of the rosette (top pic) and also from the longer side branches (bottom pic). Note: oak tree catkins (flowers) have fallen on the cudweed leaves, so don't confuse them with being part of the weed.