Controlling Clustered Pellitory Weeds in Groves

Josh McGillweeds

Ajia Paolillo and Ramdas Kanissery with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) wrote in an Extension newsletter about clustered pellitory, a recently established weed in citrus groves. Paolillo is a multi-county citrus Extension agent. Kanissery is an assistant professor specializing in weed science.   

clustered pellitory
Clustered pellitory (Photo by Ramdas Kanissery, UF/IFAS)

Clustered pellitory is native to Florida and other areas in the southeastern United States. Also sometimes called white pellitory, this plant is part of the nettle family and is described as a trailing herb. It prefers a moist and shaded environment to grow, which is why it can easily establish and spread under citrus trees in the wetted zone. Not only will this weed rob the tree of water and nutrients, but it can also interfere with microsprinkler irrigation.

This plant is somewhat low growing, typically about 8 inches tall, but can reach heights of up to 22 inches. The stems can be pink or green and are herbaceous, meaning non-woody. Small green flowers grow from the leaf axils, where the leaf attaches to the stem.

Clustered pellitory is an annual weed which emerges in the winter and flowers between winter and early summer. Seeds are produced from the flowers located on the stem and at the leaf axils. Each season, large quantities of seeds are released, and their tiny size makes them easily dispersed by the wind, vehicles and other machinery used in the grove.

Timely weed control implemented before the plants produce seeds can be very effective in limiting the spread of the weed. However, this may be difficult to achieve in the grove.

Begin with good sanitation practices of equipment andpersonnel to limit the movement of seeds from block to block.

Use caution when mowing weeds which have begun to seed, as this will aid in dispersing the seeds over a larger area. Discing can incorporate the seeds into the soil, adding to the weed seed bank.

Chemical control methods can be used in addition to sanitation to provide more effective residual control. For already emerged plants, glufosinate ammonium products applied with surfactants recommended by the product label can offer good burn down control. Use label rates provided by the manufacturer.

After emerged plants have died, apply a pre-emergence herbicide combination of flumioxazin (6 ounces per acre) and indaziflam (3 ounces per acre) to the bare soil to prevent further seed germination.

Get more information here.

Source: UF/IFAS

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