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Mulberry Weed: Identification and Control C 867-5

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Authors

Mark Czarnota, Extension Horticulturist

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Published with minor revisions on Jul 11, 2011.

Summary

Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) gives both crop growers and Extension agents in Georgia a lot of problems. Also called crabweed or hairy crabweed, it invades landscapes, field nurseries and containerized ornamentals. It has been reported in Arkansas, and in all states east of the Mississippi, from Florida to Indiana.

Publication Full Text

Mulberry Weed: Identification and Control

Figure 1. Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) in flower. Figure 1. Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) in flower.

Mark Czarnota, Ph.D., Ornamental Weed Control Specialist
Department of Horticulture, 1109 Experiment Street
Griffin, GA 30223

Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) (Figures 1 and 2), gives both crop growers and Extension agents in Georgia a lot of problems. Also called crabweed or hairy crabweed, it invades landscapes, field nurseries and containerized ornamentals. It has been reported in Arkansas, and in all states east of the Mississippi, from Florida to Indiana.


Figure 2. Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) plant. Figure 2. Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) plant.

Plant Characteristics

Mulberry weed is an herbaceous annual with a taproot. Leaves are alternate and serrated along the margins. Purplish-green flowers are without petals, and are produced in 1-inch clusters (cymes) in leaf axils. The plant grows to 3 or 4 feet tall.

Control Measures

Mulberry weed seeds are small. Maintaining a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch will help smother germinating seeds. Both pre- and postemergence herbicides are also very effective at controlling mulberry weed. The following non-selective postemergence herbicides can provide good control of mulberry weed:

Trade Name
Chemical Name
Roundup and others
glyphosate
Finale
glufosinate
Reward
diquat
Scythe
pelargonic acid

Experiments at the University of Georgia have indicated that many preemergence herbicides (listed in the table below) also provide good control of mulberry weed from seed.

Trade Name
Active Ingredient
Dimension
dithiopyr
Sureguard
flumioxazin
Gallery
isoxaben
Pennant
metolachlor
Surflan
oryzalin
Ronstar
oxadiazon
Pendulum
pendimethalin
Barricade
prodiamine
Treflan
trifluralin

Other Tips

  • Don’t let weeds go to flower. If you see flowers, seeds are on the way, and they only lead to more plants.
  • Keep vegetation mowed as far back as possible around production areas.
  • If you see any plants growing, eliminate them as soon as possible.
  • Rotate preemergence herbicides so the plants are exposed to different herbicide chemistries. In other words, don’t use Surflan followed by Barricade since both have the same mode-of-action. Instead, rotate to something like Gallery, which has a very different mode-of-action from Surflan or Factor. For excellent weed control, try tank mixing Gallery with products like Surflan.
  • Always read and follow product labels.

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C 867-5 | Published with minor revisions on Jul 11, 2011.
The University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization Committed to a Diverse Work Force

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