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Weeds can be a real problem in any lawn. And Oxalis is one really persistent offender that may have made its appearance this spring in your lawn.
With its brightly coloured flowers it really stands out. Oxalis weeds can wreak havoc very rapidly in your pristine turf and your garden and is very difficult to remove completely once established.
A number of species from the Oxalis family of plants can quickly establish themselves as unwanted weeds.
The Oxalis family generally originate in hot climate countries such as Africa and South America and so can easily adapt to life under Australian conditions.
The members of the Oxalis family that cause particular problems include:
Oxalis might easily be mistaken for clover with its green heart-shaped leaves (clover leaves are more rounded) but the small yellow flowers give it away.
It’s also known by other names such as creeping oxalis (Oxalis corniculata), wood sorrel or yellow sorrel (Oxalis pes caprae).
Oxalis corniculata is the species that is especially rampant in lawns and it can be distinguished by the heart-shaped leaves approximately 0.5–1 cm long and 0.5–2.5 cm wide. The small yellow flowers (heart shape leaf) measure around 0.5cm in diameter.
Oxalis quickly spreads across your lawn thanks to a creeping runner system that expands across your lawn building a root system to form new plants.
It further strengthens its stranglehold on your lawns with explosive seed pods that shoot seeds to a great distance from the parent plant.
Prevention is always the best cure. By keeping your turf in a good healthy state, well fed and watered and promptly repairing damage you can prevent weeds such as Oxalis from getting a foot hold.
If you have only a small infestation you can try removing the weeds by hand. You need to be very careful about digging up and pulling out oxalis.
Removing the weeds by hand typically leaves behind small sections of the root system that will quickly form new roots and plants.
Some types of Oxalis also form clusters of small bulbils underground and some of these bulbs will invariably be left behind when you remove the parent bulb.
Avoid dumping the Wood Sorrel weeds in the compost bins as the bulbils will most likely survive and thrive.
Unfortunately, Oxalis is often resistant to many standard herbicides. You’ll also need to choose the correct herbicide because you can easily kill your lawn with many of the commonly used herbicides.
The best weed killer for oxalis seeds is one of the broadleaf herbicide products used at the correct concentration. Be particularly careful about choosing the correct herbicide if you have Kikuyu.
Couch or Buffalo lawn types. Amgrow Bin-die is a particularly useful herbicide / weed control as it will kill the weed, and is specially formulated as safe for Buffalo and Kikuyu lawns and will also kill off a host of other lawn weeds.
The ideal time to spray for Oxalis seedlings is 7 days or more after or before mowing.
Don’t spray when the lawn is wet or if rain is expected within 72 hours. You should also avoid spraying if your lawn is stressed such as during a drought.
Avoid spraying healthy areas of turf and only spray the patches of weed. Broad leaf herbicide products are powerful and can easily damage your grass.
Natural and Organic methods of control may work but they usually require enormous persistence.
Some people swear by a solution of vinegar (or baking soda) and water but this will only kill foliage and not the underground bulbs, seeds or roots and so you will need to repeat the process for a long time.
Covering the infested area with a light blocking sheet such as heavy cardboard, black polythene or old sheets of tin will eventually kill the weed but it will take some years and of course is not suitable for grass areas. It’s also unhealthy for the soil long-term.
Oxalis can also be a problem in your garden beds.
Spot spraying with a broadleaf herbicide is the most effective way of dealing with the problem but be very careful to control spray drift.
You will want to make sure you eliminate this weed from your garden, landscape beds as well as your grass otherwise the problem will simply keep reappearing.
Atlas Turf; we’ve been providing premium quality turf throughout NSW for many years.
And we’re here to help you keep it green too. We supply the best most effective products so you can minimise your impact on the environment.
Neale Tweedie, an experienced operations manager, turf farmer and irrigation services and design specialist with an extensive history in the turf supplies, farming and irrigation industry.
Neale Tweedie is a current board member of Turf NSW, and Turf Australia (Treasurer) and has a formal education in Agriculture at Hawkesbury Agricultural College.
Neale Tweedie is also the owner and General Manager of Hawkesbury Valley Irrigation, Grechs Turf and Buy Turf Online.
“We have used and recommended Atlas Turf for the last few years and have been extremely satisfied. Kerrie and Neale grow exceptionally good quality grass of various varieties, that meet both our high standards as well as meeting our customers needs. Availability and delivery has never been an issue and their staff have always been very helpful. If you’re looking at new grass or looking to change suppliers, we would have no hesitation in recommending Atlas Turf.”
“…The turf was delivered and the delivery gentleman from Atlas even informed us, by eye that we had ordered too little turf, and recommended an amount we needed, and was spot on. The process from ordering, to delivering, to laying was all made easier by Atlas and all of their staff, and I would definitely recommend them to any friends or family.”
“We used Atlas Turf to turf our whole yard, front and back. The staff on the phone were prompt, lovely to deal with and were very knowledgeable not only of their own product but also helped answer many questions about the preparation, maintenance and also a few tips to help lay the turf.”
“Just a quick note to let you know that I am extremely happy with my new Sir Walter Lawn. Thank you to the Great Service and Advice I received from all the staff at Atlas Turf.”
“Just wanted to send you a quick note to let you know how happy we are with our Lawn, right from the start you were fantastic recommending the best lawn for me since I have always lived in a unit it was all a bit confusing. I have a bit of a smile on my face when I walk out on the weekends and my neighbours are all having to mow every weekend but you were right the lawn you selected for me even in summer only needs a quick cut every 3 to 4 weeks to look awesome! Thanks again.”