Guide to Doveweed Identification & Control

doveweed grass

Type of Weed: Grassy Weed

Murdannia nudiflora


Doveweed is a summer annual grassy weed that is commonly found in the southeastern states, including Texas. Its seeds germinate in late spring and flowers in the summer until the first frost.

Doveweed thrives in areas of lawns that have overly moist soil, and can look very similar to Centipede and St. Augustine turfgrasses, allowing it to go unnoticed.

Its prostrate growth habits and creeping stems (stolons) allow it to spread aggressively.

How to Identify

Doveweed has a fibrous root system that produce low-lying stems that root at the nodes. Stems can be lighter green or even a light purply red color.

Its smooth, green, leaves are narrow and linear shaped. They grow in an alternate pattern, have parallel veins, and can be up to 4 inches long. This weed has short sheaths that have soft hairs on the upper edges.

In the summer it produces small 3 petaled, blue to purple-colored flowers that are in open clusters on short stalks. These flowers produce seeds in small green capsules which remain viable in the soil for several years before germinating.

Control Methods

Control Difficulty: Difficult

Since Doveweed thrives in moist soil, the first control is to fix any irrigation issues causing areas of your turf to stay overly moist. For mechanical control, hand pulling or digging requires that you ensure all roots and stolons have been removed.

If not, any fragments that remain will resprout, making this method ineffective. Since seeds can remain in the soil for years, chemical control is the best way to control and deter doveweed. Apply a selective grassy weed post emergent herbicide during the growing season (this can be applied every two to three weeks if needed).

Apply a selective grassy weed pre-emergent herbicide during the spring and again in the early summer. These applications will prevent new doveweed seeds from sprouting.

Prevention Tips

The best way to prevent doveweed is to ensure your lawn is dense and healthy. This can be achieved by proper irrigation, routine aeration and fertilization, while also mowing your lawn at your turf’s proper height. Using a combination of selective pre and post emergent herbicides throughout the year is an added layer of defense to protect your turf from this aggressive weed.

If you need further help managing Doveweed, our team of highly trained technicians are experts with grassy weeds and can help get your lawn back to its proper health.
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