Explore how to control the two most difficult weeds in citrus groves, courtesy of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

There are two different weeds in citrus groves that are hard to control, according to a Citrus Industry article written by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) employees. Explore the two different weeds, and the best methods for controlling them, per the article, below.

The Two Most Difficult Weeds in Citrus Groves

The details on the two weeds—Guinea grass and goatweed—from the article are as follows:

Guinea grass: A Category II invasive species, this perennial features leaf blades that can grow up to 15 feet high and an extensive underground root system, called rhizomes, that can reach down up to three feet. In citrus groves, Guinea grass likes to grow under the tree canopy next to tree trunks in order to take advantage of irrigation and nutrients given to citrus trees. Fast-growing, Guinea grass can quickly overshadow young citrus trees.

According to the article, “the characteristics that make Guinea grass difficult to manage include the ability to tolerate a wide range of environmental stresses: drought, salinity, shading by other plant species, temperature fluctuations and a wide range in soil pH (3.8 to 8.4).”

Goatweed: A native weed, also called sweet broom or licorice weed, goatweed enjoys growing in sandy soils near water, so it’s often found at irrigation systems. It grows about 2.5 feet tall, develops a tough woody stem, and puts out abundant seeds year-round. According to the article “The characteristics that make goatweed difficult to manage include prolific seed production and the ability of the seed to move with the wind, on equipment and on wildlife. This ability to produce and move easily allows for many seeds to be deposited into the soil ‘seed bank.’”

According to the article, both weeds are tolerant to many herbicides commonly used in citrus groves and are even more difficult to control in their mature stages. Mangement includes focusing “…on prevention and sanitation. Controlling these weeds at a very young stage before seed sets will reduce their future emergence in the grove. Guinea grass and goatweed can be controlled using post-emergent herbicides for burndown of growing plants and pre-emergent herbicides to prevent the emergence of new seedlings.”

See the article here for more details on using post-emergent herbicides to control these two weeds.

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