Reign in Horsenettle Weeds
With its extensive root system and ability to reproduce by seeds, is a persistent problem in Texas lawns. Though its name contains “nettle,” this is something of a misnomer. The plant is part of the nightshade family just like potatoes and tomatoes. Unlike those helpful plants, no one wants to find horsenettle in their yard and if you have a fertilization and weed control program you can keep them out of your lawn.
This invasive weed blooms all the way from May through September. The majority of the blossoms appear 30 days after the plant emerges from beneath the ground. Blossoms have five points and may be white, blue or violet. These blooms are reminiscent of potato flowers, but when the fruit begins to emerge, they look a great deal more like tomatoes. They start out green but then transform to yellow as they mature. Eventually, the fruit dies and begins to rot. This is the time when the seeds get deposited on the ground to await their time next year when they will germinate and take root. A single horsenettle plant is capable of producing 100 fruits in a season, and each of these fruits contains an average of 85 seeds. Clearly, what begins as a small infestation one year can become a truly serious concern by the next.
Horsenettle seeds typically don’t get distributed by small animals because the fruit is poisonous. Accordingly, animals, including livestock, avoid ingesting it. The plant is mainly able to spread its influence thanks to its impressive root system. In some plants, the taproot may reach as far as eight to 10 feet below the soil surface. This makes it extremely difficult to remove horsenettle by hand pulling. Plus, thanks to its prickly spines and hairs, horsenettle is particularly odious to handle.
Frequent mowing is often helpful, especially when it is done shortly after the blossoming begins as the plants are at their most vulnerable then. However, a properly applied herbicide is the absolute best way to reign in horsenettle. Though it may still take time to gain the upper hand, herbicide is the only tried-and-true method for eradicating this stubborn weed.
If you are seeing the prickly leaves and five-pointed blossoms of horsenettle in your Texas lawn, then give us a call. With our knowledge and experience, we are able to help home and business owners achieve the healthy, green, thick lawn they’ve been dreaming of. Don’t let horsenettle take control of your yard. Let us take over instead.