Dollar weed is usually found in moist areas in gardens and lawns. It pops up suddenly, taking the lawn over and making it look unattractive. Although Dollar Weed may look lovely and decorative, this weed mostly annoys gardeners because it grows fast and tends to invade an entire backyard in a short time. If you think that Dollar Weed is ruining your lawn or garden, here’s the guide on how to control its excessive growth or to get rid of it completely.
What Is Dollar Weed?
Dollar Weed or Pennywort (Hydrocotyle umbellata) is a broad-leaf weed that thrives in wet areas. This plant looks somewhat like a miniature lily pad – it grows up to 6 inches. It has small, rounded leaves with a stem coming from the center of the leaf. The coin-like, dark-green and glossy leaves can grow approximately one inch in diameter, and they look like small umbrellas.
Dollar weed grows in warm temperate regions and its native habitats are North America and some parts of South America. It is usually found at the edges of ponds, lakes, canals, and riverbanks, but it can also appear in moist, boggy areas of lawns and gardens as an invasive and noxious weed.
Although Dollar Weed looks lovely it is despised because of its invasive nature. It spreads quickly, both by seeds and underground roots. With its creeping growth habit, it may spread as much as 20 feet.
The main culprits in Dollar Weed invasions are poor drainage and over-irrigating. Dollar Weed is likely to appear in areas where the soil is constantly moist, but it tends to overtake the lawn if the grass is weak and unhealthy.
However, since the plant is difficult to eliminate and control, you should consider combining several methods. Prevention is also an important part of dealing with this invasive weed.
Organic Methods to Get Rid of Dollar weed
You should consider some cultural and organic methods first to get rid of Dollar Weed. Here’s how you can manage to get a nice and green, weed-free grass lawn.
First, try to improve the drainage in your backyard. If you have any drainage issues, try to fix them. Try simple fixes first like improving your clay soil or extending the downspout, or you can add a drainage pipe to get rid of the excess water.
Reduce irrigation if possible. This step will not kill Dollar Weed, but it will reduce moisture in the soil, making the conditions of Dollar Weed unfavorable.
You should also try to improve your grass. As previously said, Dollar Weed easily overtakes a weak and unhealthy lawn, so check your grass for infections, diseases, and insects. A healthy, thick lawn is a crucial factor in weeds treatment. Week grass could be a result of a nutrient imbalance or other soil problems.
Hand-pulling is a quite effective method, but only if you pull the root out, so pull out the Dollar Weed whenever you can, especially if you spot young plants. This method can be unfeasible in large areas.
If you want an organic, safe solution rather than a chemical treatment, try to apply a vinegar to Dollar Weed. The higher the percentage of acids in the vinegar, the higher possibility of killing Dollar Weed. Use this organic weed killer on a dry, hot day, so the rain can’t wash the vinegar off the leaves.
The acetic acid in the vinegar will make the leaves unable to produce a food for the plant, so the plant will eventually die. A very strong vinegar can kill a plant in only few hours, but it usually takes a week or two to eliminate the weed.
You can add a lemon juice into the vinegar to make it more effective. However, be careful when using this homemade herbicide because the acid can hurt your skin or eyes.
Another natural solution is pouring boiling water on areas covered with Dollar Weed. Try not to damage nearby desirable plants.
Some people say that baking soda is an effective weed killer, especially when it comes to Dollar Weed. Mix it with water and sprinkle the leaves. Baking soda is safe for your grass, but it will kill any weeds.
Chemical Methods to Remove Dollar Weed
Sometimes when all else fails, you may need to use a chemical method to control and eliminate Dollar Weed.
A herbicide such as Quali-Pro MSM Turf Herbicide should be applied while Dollar Weed is still actively growing. It is quite effective in spring because young plants are more vulnerable.
Chemicals are effective tools for managing unwanted weeds because the application of a herbicide will stop chemical processes such as photosynthesis, protein production, or root growth, crucial for the plant development.
Choose a herbicide that is safe for the grass in your lawn. The following herbicides are said to effectively remove Dollar Weed:
However, check with your local nursery if you’re not sure what herbicide you should use in order to remove Dollar Weed without harming your grass lawn and garden plants.
Is Dollar Weed Edible?
Believe it or not, widely despised Dollar weed is one of those plants of our urban settings that is actually edible. While many gardeners and homeowners are constantly trying to get rid of it, some people make a delicacy of it.
It can be eaten raw or cooked, but it’s mainly used as a salad. Those who have tried it say the taste of Dollar weed reminds of celery.
However, if you want to have a bite of this weed, be sure to make a correct identification before deciding to consume it. It’s often mistaken for Dichondra, but the main difference is in a stem. Dichondra’s stem is attached at the edge of the leaf, while Dollar Weed’s stem grows directly from the center of the leaf.
Also, don’t eat it if it grows in contaminated conditions and wash it thoroughly if a herbicide has been applied to the weed in order to control it.