Sherriff Amenity logo

Selective Weed Control

The first step in selective weed control is to identify the weeds present. In this article we shall look at some of the more unusual turf weeds and a few species that can be awkward to identify. Unfortunately, limited space here means that this cannot be a complete work.

Article written by Graham Paul

Starting with those seaside plants, ‘bathed’ in the salty mists that pervade coastal habitats. Their ability to survive in this environment is due to a genetic adaptation that allows them to withstand conditions of high salinity. The salt mist coming from the sea will increase the levels of sodium chloride in the soil, which is then absorbed by the roots and accumulates in plant tissues. Abnormally high levels in plant cells will seriously affect the movement of water across cell membranes and as a consequence, growth is slowed or halted completely. This osmotic imbalance can cause the ‘stunted growth habit’ that some species exhibit in coastal regions or it can eliminate them altogether.

Three other weeds occasionally found in coastal turf include; Sea Plantain (Plantago maritima) similar in appearance to Ribwort Plantain but with narrower fleshy leaves, Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritima) a creeping perennial weed with stalkless fleshy leaves and pink flowers and lastly Sea Stork’s-bill (Erodium maritimum), which has simple lobed leaves and small pale pink or white flowers that rapidly lose their petals.

These coastal species fall into the category of ‘unusual turf weeds’ and are relatively easy to control with what I have termed the ‘general purpose’ selective herbicides. These are a group of similar products that contain MCPA, mecoprop-P and dicamba such as ‘Longbow’, ‘Relay’, ‘Re-Act’ or ‘T2 Green’.

Incidentally, some senior readers may remember the pre-decimal three pence coin that was minted between 1937 and 1952 and featured a design of Thrift on the ‘tails’ side.

The common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) gets its name from the corrupted French description of the leaves (‘dents de lion’ – lion’s teeth) but natives of France may also know this weed by the name ‘pis en lit’ - a reference to bed wetting that myth tells us can result from picking dandelion flowers! Most people can identify a dandelion but there are several other ‘look-alikes’ that produce a similar single yellow flower-head, which can fool the untrained eye when the weed is found in mown turf. The first of these; Cat’s-ear (Hypochaeris radicata) has fleshy, lobed, hairy leaves that (with a bit of imagination) resemble the ‘fight-torn’ ears of a tom cat! I have seen many different species of cat but never one with green ears! The flower stalk is quite different from a dandelion; being thinner, wiry and bearing a few scale-like dark-tipped bracts.

Cat’s-ear is relatively easy to control with most general purpose selective herbicides but some products may require a further application.

The next of the dandelion ‘look-alikes’ are the Hawkbits; Autumn Hawkbit (Leontodon autumnalis) and Rough Hawkbit (Leontodon hispidus). Rough Hawkbit is a very hairy plant in contrast to Autumn Hawkbit; which has more slender, often hairless leaves. Rough Hawkbit has un-branched flower stems whereas Autumn Hawkbit can have two or three branches in its flower stems.

These two Hawkbits can be controlled by with two applications of products containing MCPA, mecoprop-P and dicamba at a rate 3.5L/ha, such as ‘T-2-Green’ or ‘Re-Act’.

Another dandelion flower ‘look alike’ is Mouse-ear Hawkweed (Pilosella officinarum – formerly Hieracium pilosella) This perennial herb has long leafy runners and produces a rosette of grey-green leaves that have soft, dense, short white hairs on the underside and long stiff hairs on the upper surface. The florets have red stripes on the under surface. The leaves are quite different from the dandelion but the flowers can appear similar when fully open because the red stripes are not visible from above. Mouse-ear Hawkweed is fairly easy to control with products containing 2,4-D, MCPA and mecoprop-P.

Sanswer to weed control in turf. However, due to the diversity of weeds found in managed turf situations, the quest for complete control has so far been elusive. Furthermore, repeated use of products that leave some weeds uncontrolled can, over several seasons, lead to domination by these resistant species. Two weed groups spring to mind in this respect; the yellow clovers and the speedwells can both increase in numbers to the extent that the small flowers become highly visible, requiring specialist herbicides to remove them.

The yellow clovers are all members of the pea family (Fabaceae); three species of Trefoils and two species of Medick. These five species can all be found in UK turf and are fairly difficult to control and even more difficult to identify!.

To distinguish between the three yellow trefoils look for leaf hairs, leaf size and the number of flowers in the flower head.

Hop Trefoil (Trifolium campestre) has sparsely hairy leaves and has 25 to 40 flowers per head

Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium – also known as yellow suckling clover) has similar sized leaves to Hop Trefoil but they are usually hairless and there are between 15 and 25 flowers per head.

Slender Trefoil (Trifolium micranthum – also known as Least Yellow Trefoil) has smaller leaves and flowers with only 2 to 10 flowers in the flower heads.

The yellow trefoils are best controlled with specialist selective herbicides containing mixtures with fluroxypyr such as ‘Cabadex’, ‘Praxys’, ‘Swiftsure’ and ‘Trafalgar’. The general purpose products will give some control but re-growth from early treatments may require a second spray.

The two species of Medick have similar shaped leaves and flowers to the Trefoils. Spotted Medick (Medicago arabica) has obvious dark spots on the leaves that easily separate it from all of the others.

Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), a perennial, can be distinguished from the yellow trefoils by its ‘mucronate’ leaf tips. These are short, abrupt points on the end of the leaf mid-vein. The seed pods are kidney shaped and turn black when ripe.

Black Medick can be controlled with the general purpose products at the highest dose (where a range of rates is recommended) but retreatment may be necessary in some cases. Best control is indicated with the specialist herbicides suggested for the yellow trefoils. Spotted Medick may also respond to these recommendations but I could not find a label or other reference to confirm this.

Speedwells are members of the genus Veronica, which includes about 15 UK species, many of which are found in turf and will require specialist selective herbicides to control them. All speedwells have flowers with only 2 stamens but vary considerably by the leaf shape, size, hairiness and by the colour of the flowers; which can range from deep blue to lilac, with some that are almost white.

The more common varieties found in turf include; Slender, Ivy-leaved, Thyme-leaved and Germander Speedwell. The latter, Germander Speedwell (Veronica chamaedrys), has two opposite lines of long hairs on the stem and is notoriously difficult to control, with frequent reports from users of re-growth after 6 weeks of treatment with some products.

Other species occur in local environments and particular habitats such as Marsh and Heath Speedwell. Like the yellow clovers, if they are left uncontrolled by general broad spectrum herbicides, they can proliferate to the point that they dominate the sward. Most speedwells flower very early in the spring (March/April) so they are often difficult to control before the flowering stage.

The majority of speedwells can be controlled with specialist selective herbicides containing fluroxypyr, for instance; ‘Cabadex’, ‘Praxys’, ‘ Swiftsure’ and ‘Trafalgar’. The dual purpose moss control product ‘Jewel’ that contains carfentrazone–ethyl and mecoprop-P will also give moderate control of speedwell species.

Tank-mixing to increase weed spectrum
In circumstances where the weeds present in turf include deep rooted or difficult to control weeds such as thistle, speedwell or yellow trefoils then it may be prudent to treat the area with a tank-mix to extend the capabilities of a general purpose product such as ‘Relay’ or ‘T-2-Green’ with another amenity approved product. To achieve control of deep-rooted weeds, consider using a mix with a product containing 2,4-D amine, such as ‘Depitox’. Difficult weeds, for example speedwell or yellow trefoil would require a mix with one of the specialist herbicides referred to in the relevant sections above.

REMEMBER:In order to stay legal when tank-mixing it is important to stick with the following guidelines:
Check with your supplier that the proposed mixture is suitable for the intended use. A supplier offering to support a mix should have tested it and will know if there are any compatibility issues or effects on the performance of the products.
Note that when mixing two or more pesticides in a tank-mix all conditions of approval on all of the product labels and safety data sheets must be complied with.

If any product in the mix is subject to a LERAP requirement, then this applies to the tank-mix as well.

Technical Updates

Cap Fungi – Mushrooms and Toadstools

Autumn is often referred to as the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and each year it can bring back the problems caused by fungi on turf.


Another One Bites the Dust...

This spring we learnt of the loss to the Amenity market of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, currently used to prevent damage to turf on sports and recreational turf.


Grandpa's Last Rites

A wind of change is on the way towards the end of this year, for those who apply professional plant protection products (PPP’s) approved by the government.


Rosate Green Technical Update

Rosate Green is one of a new generation of glyphosate formulations exhibiting high levels of safety to humans and animals and to the environment.


Common pests in the UK: Chafer Grubs

This article explores the life cycle and potential control methods of Chafer grubs, the larvae of the chafer beetle, which are a fairly common pest of turf in Britain.


Nutrient Guide & Turf Disease Management.

The role of plant nutrition is increasing in importance as we strive to improve the quality of playing surfaces. This booklet takes an in-depth look at the basics and more.


NPK Nutrient Input Calculations - Granular

To plan accurate turf fertiliser input it is important to know how much actual nutrient is being applied in any given treatment.


Lichens - Solar Powered Survival

Lichens grow on a variety of plants and hard surfaces and sometimes need to be controlled or removed by those managing amenity areas.


The Wonderful World of Liverworts

Liverworts will grow in containers and on the surface of flower borders and rockeries where they are usually associated with compacted soil or poor drainage.


Added Treatment Makes Most of Natural Nutrients

A range of seed mixes with renovation & overseeding for golf courses, sports pitches and new surface establishment.


Red Thread, Pink Patch and Rust

Focussing on three diseases of turf that we may see in the summer months.


Bracken Control

Bracken is a rhizomatous species of fern belonging to the Dennstaedtiaceae family that are characterised by large, highly-divided fronds.


Harness the power of tank-mixing

Harness the power of tank-mixing with T2 Green Pro, Depitox and Duplosan - to put real weed control muscle in your spray tank.


Managing Pesticide Storage

For those whose job requires them to use pesticides, the chemical store is an important feature of the working environment.


Protect against Chafer infestation

As we finally head into spring, Bayer recommends that Greenkeepers act now to safeguard against potential Chafer Grub infestations.


The Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush, Buddleia davidii, was introduced to the UK from China in 1896. It is a non-native invasive species that can be difficult to control.


When is a mare not a mare ?

We are often asked to advise on the control of the weed, Mare’s-tail, causing problems in cultivated land.


Top Pest & Disease Queries 2013

For the second year in a row, fairy rings and thatch fungi were the most queried subjects at the STRI Pest & Disease Clinic.


Selective Weed Control

In the UK there are over 50 species of broad-leaved weeds that can be found in mown turf.


Day of the Triffids - Giant Hogweed

‘The Day of the Triffids’, the invasive species Giant Hogweed is not to be messed with. . .


News & Events

Sherriff Amenity Support Key Volunteer Cricket Events

Sherriff Amenity recently underlined its commitment to educating and supporting volunteers in the turf industry after proudly....


Amenity Forum Press Release: Article 50

John Moverley reacts to the trigger of Article 50


New Product - GoGreen Energy

Sherriff Amenity has announced the launch of GoGreen Energy, a concentrated bio-stimulant formulated to assist plant health and relieve stress symptoms.


Sherriff Launch Marathon TCR

Sherriff Amenity has announced the launch of Marathon Turf Core Renovator, which is the latest addition to the popular range of Marathon fertilisers.


BTME 2017 - Sherriff Amenity

Sherriff Amenity to feature new products and FREE education


Sherriff Amenity launches two new fungicide tank mixes

Sherriff Amenity is pleased to announce the addition of two new fungicide tank mixes to its comprehensive portfolio.


New Bio-stimulant Range from Sherriff Amenity

Sherriff Amenity has announced the launch of a new range of Amino, Humic and Fulvic Acid bio-stimulant products designed to improve plant health and root growth.


New E2 Pro Soluble Range from Sherriff Amenity

Sherriff Amenity are please to announce the addition to our ever expanding product portfolio a range of high quality water soluble fertilisers.


Asulox granted Emergency Authorisation for Bracken control only.

This effectively means there is a very limited time for storage and use of Asulox to control Bracken.


Sherriff Amenity help create ‘Mirror- like pond’

Exeter Golf and Country Club with the advice of Sherriff Amenity have created a 'mirror- like pond'


New Product - Calcipirll

Sherriff Amenity is delighted to now be offering Calciprill a 2.6mm lime granule (calcium carbonate) made from finely ground, high purity limestone.


New Product - Garland

Sherriff Amenity is delighted to now be offering Garland a concentrated suspension fertiliser based on garlic extract produced by cell-burst technology.


Bowls Seminars

Dennis and SISIS educational seminars combined practical tips and information from industry experts followed by the now infamous ‘Turf Clinic’ open forum session.


New Product - BunkerFilter

Sherriff Amenity is delighted to now be offering BunkerFilter a robust bunker filtration system offering drainage at a flow rate of up to14.5 litres per minute.


ICL launch four new products

ICL has expanded  its product portfolio after announcing the launch of four new formulations.


Leaf SAP Analysis

A new Leaf SAP Analysis service available through Sherriff Amenity.


Everris launch H2Pro DewSmart

Everris has announced an addition to its H2Pro range with the launch of a new product called DewSmart.


Hammer receives approval to be used on hard surfaces.

Hammer has received approval to be used on hard surfaces by The Chemicals Regulation Directorate (CRD).


Chlorpyrifos Loses Amenity Grassland and Managed Amenity Turf Registration



Wildflower Mix Impresses Lamberhurst Golf Course

Lamberhurst Golf Course has turned to Sherriff Amenity to help create a beautiful array of wildflowers.


Merit Turf to be withdrawn from the market

Bayer Cropscience has received a formal notification from CRD that its granular insecticide Merit Turf (MAPP No 12415) is to be withdrawn from the market.


Sussex CCC Bowled Over By Marathon

Sussex County Cricket Club has heaped praise on Marathon fertiliser products, noting a vast improvement in the turf of its famous cricket pitches.


Ferromex moss killer gains new approval

Ferromex - a high performance liquid moss killer, has been given a new license approval.


TurfReports launched

TurfReports is an exciting new service that will help industry professionals monitor the health and performance of their turf.


IOG Award Winner Says Sherriff Amenity Was Key to Success

One Leisure, a multi sports complex based in St Ives, deservedly picks up the 2014 IOG Grassroots Sports Grounds Team of the Year.


Sherriff Amenity Improve Bowls Greens.

Following a tailored nutritional programme from Sherriff Amenity, two bowling clubs in Chesterfield can now boast of healthy greens of the highest quality.


New Product: Fossil

Fossil is a phosphite & silicon based nutrient product that supports the plants natural defences against disease.


Matthew Le Brun joins Sherriff Amenity

Matthew will be focusing on maintaining and growing business opportunities in Cambridgeshire and its surrounding areas.


Greens Relief at Sweetwoods Park.

Basic principles and sound biological knowledge are helping to turn around playing surface difficulties at Sweetwoods Park Golf Club.


The Royal Jersey Golf Club signs an exclusive supply agreement.

Channel Islands golf club has become the latest course to sign an exclusive supply agreement with Sherriff Amenity.


GoGreen range updated with a new formulation

GoGreen range enhanced with the addition a new dual action wetting agent which utilises new surfactant technology.


Paul Copsey joins MGD.

MGD, a rapidly expanding golf course maintenance contractor based in the South East of England, is pleased to announce the appointment of Paul Copsey as Project Manager.


Fortetub twin walled tree shelters

The Fortetub range of twin walled tree shelters are available exclusively through Sherriff Amenity to the UK market.


New Fungicide Tank-Mixes Launched

Sherriff Amenity has announced that it is launching some new additions to its popular fungicide packages.


Seminar for Channel Islands Turf Professionals

Turf technology was the theme of the most recent seminar for groundsmen and greenkeepers in the Channel Islands.


Durham School's Showpiece Pitch Evolves

With the help of Evolution5, our controlled release fertiliser, Head Groundsman Barry Boustead has produced the best outfield grass cover anyone can remember.


Sherriff Amenity encourages golf clubs to ‘bee friendly’

Mytime Active has made a decisive move to raise its environmental credentials with the introduction of a bee and wildflower package on its courses.


Amenity Forum - Staying in Control

The Annual Conference Exhibition of the Amenity Forum is to be held on Thursday, October 16th 2014 at the King Power Stadium, Leicester.


Foamstream & Languard VM Power Forward

LanGuard VM has taken delivery of the UK's first new Weedingtech MW Series unit.


Interface wins European Innovation Award

Interface wins the NWST Innovation Award in the Turf Maintenance category.


Bowdry Winner Announced

David Bentley, Head Groundsman at Darlington Cricket Club is the winner of our Bowdry competition.


Turf Rewards programme launched

Turf Rewards is a brand new programme for sports and amenity turf managers in the UK and Ireland who use Everris and Syngenta products.


New Product: Bunkerstamp

Create an impression that will be the talk of the clubhouse with the new Bunkerstamp from Sherriff Amenity.


Hazardous Chemical Disposal Service launched

Sherriff Amenity launching a new service to tackle the disposal of hazardous chemicals, and in particular revoked products.


Sherriff Amenity Continue Education Programme in Orlando

A party of Sherriff Amenity customers and staff from the company and sponsors Everris recently attended the Golf Industry Show in Orlando.


Jockey Club Racecourses Stay on Track With Sherriff Amenity

Jockey Club Racecourses has signed a 3 year supplier agreement extension with Sherriff Amenity.


Village Cricket Club Thanks Sherriff Amenity for Pitch Win

Sedgwick Cricket Club had a season to remember in 2013 both on the pitch and because the pitch, thanks to Kevan Grieve and Sherriff Amenity.


Line Marking Prowess at York City FC

York City Football Club has signed a three year supply agreement with Sherriff Amenity for all line marking and paint requirements.


Commemorative Poppy mixes launched

To commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the start of the First World War, Limagrain UK have created two poppy seed mixtures.


Amenity Forum announce new SUD event.

A free event in Edinburgh explains new legal requirements for the use of pesticides introduced under the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive.


New Duo Spreader Launched

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Duo, the only spreader available on the market to feature two dispersal plates for a highly accurate spread pattern.


MGD sign preferred supplier agreement

Martin Guy Developments, a golf services supplier and maintenance contractor, has signed a rolling 12-month preferred supplier agreement with Sherriff Amenity.


Essex Golf Club Sign Exclusive Agreement with Sherriff Amenity

Hainault Golf Club in Chigwell, Essex has signed a three year preferred supplier agreement with Sherriff Amenity.


Councils fine turf transformed by fertiliser programme

A local authority in Nottinghamshire has seen a marked improvement in its fine turf sports facilities since it adopted a prescribed fertiliser programme from sp


Oldham Athletic AFC Sign Three Year Supply Agreement

Oldham Athletic Football Club has signed a three year supply agreement with Sherriff Amenity for all line marking and paint requirements.


STS Selects Sherriff Amenity

Marked improvement in the sports facilities that the company looks after since exclusively using a range of Sherriff Amenity products.


Sherriff Amenity's Pledge to Cricket Groundsmen

Sherriff Amenity continue to give on-going support to the work of the Surrey Cricket Groundsman’s Association.


Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

 T:01638 721888 F:01638 721815

Follow us on Twitter
Agrovista Uk Ltd Trading as Sherriff Amenity, Rutherford House, Nottingham Science & Technology Park, University Boulevard, Nottingham, NG7 2QP