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Dichondra micrantha from Plants Daily Post

8/20/2008 Florida Ground Covers

Dichondra micrantha icon: A No-Mow Lawn Alternative for Moist Well-Drained Sites  

Old-timers call it "Penny Grass," no relation to the turf grass vandal "Dollarweed" but instead a member of the morning glory family also known as "small flowered pony's foot." What matters most to landscape designers and property owners is that Dichondra has enormous potential for achieving a soft, flat texture in plantings, even as a lawn, which is a very difficult task with the usual Florida landscape materials palette. Maturing at 1"-2," it is lower maintenance than Zoysia or Bermuda grass varieties and a good deal less expensive. It is sown with seed, at a cost of about $78 per 2000 square feet of coverage.



Dollarweed9/8/2008 Florida Lawn Maintenance

Mind Control of Dollarweed

No relation to False Pennywort, the wetland plant Hydrocotyle umbellata L. (Water Pennywort or Marsh Pennywort) is in the Ivy Family, which of course is not in the same family as Poison Ivy. Marsh Pennywort is also referred to as "Dollarweed" by the agricultural chemical industry. The Dollarweed moniker is something of a board room joke about the inexhaustible market for an herbicide designed to temporarily eradicate plants which will return nevertheless. Product use recommendations for chemical control of Dollarweed generally call for an eternal program of applications at least once or twice a year.

In landscaped areas, Marsh Pennywort can be an indicator of water main leaks or drainfield problems, but more hopefully of sprinklers which are broken or leaking and where sprinkler radii are not adjusted for proper overlapping, but are providing too much coverage in one place. Then repairs and adjustments to the system with refinement of the irrigation volume and intervals will effectively eliminate Marsh Pennywort. Sometimes a landscape site has been designated on a compacted rock base covered with muck. Assuredly, owners of these problem areas will find Marsh Pennywort will always be present at least sporadically, unless the heroic measures of a trench drain, soil structure improvements and carefully refined irrigation practices are employed.

Still, Marsh Pennywort is not an unattractive plant. Butterflies seem to enjoy the flowers. So why are we compelled to aggressively eliminate it as though it were a detestable weed?

Scott's describes its Dollarweed as "An invasive species....(forming) dense mats that crowd out desirable plants." Such misleading spin comes direct from "corporate" upon whom volumes of botanical knowledge have been completely wasted. Marsh Pennywort is not an invasive species, but will grow on wet soil where lawn grass has too little oxygen available to its roots to survive. The slender creeping stems of Marsh Pennywort can float along the oxygen-rich surface of the ground, or even shallow water, rooting at nodes which contact favorable conditions. So it is not by crowding out desirable plants, but by an enhanced ability to exploit waterlogged niches that the maligned Dollarweed forms mats due to lack of competitors. Conversely, where soil is draining, St. Augustine wins the contest and the ephemeral hydrophile vanishes in the mist.

Plants such as Hibiscus, Gardenia, Bougainvillea, and Citrus which require excellent drainage will not do well in an area where Marsh Pennywort is thriving and should therefore be planted elsewhere. If amending a poorly drained area is not cost effective, appreciation of the presence of a few meek freshwater marsh plants is preferable to supporting the forces of chemical pollution through scheduled purchase and release of unnecessary chemicals into the environment. Lawn maintenance can be expensive, but there are economical ways to have a beautiful Florida lawn. Homeowners should not need a TitleMax title loan to pay for landscaping and lawn maintenance.

Lawn Links

Bahia Grass Website
Site dedicated to the Bahia Grass (Paspalum notatum) seed industry and the promotion of Bahia for turf and pasture, by Parsons & Sons, Inc., Wellborn, Florida.

Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.)
Illustrated article on "The Sports Turf of the South" by Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Chinch Bugs in Turfgrass
Ohio State University Extension Factsheet tells how to recognize chinch bugs, how to estimate the population present, and recommended methods of treatment.

Establishing Your Florida Lawn
Fact Sheet ENH-03, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, May 1991. Revised: January 2001. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

Fertilization and Irrigation Needs for Florida Lawns and Landscapes
L.E. Trenholm, E.F. Gilman, G.W. Knox, and R.J. Black

Florida Lawn Handbook
Comprehensive publication by IFAS on Florida lawn selection and maintenance.

Website of the University of Florida Turfgrass Science Program in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Discussion, turf-links, publications, weed management.

How to Calibrate Your Sprinkler System
Fact Sheet ENH 61. First published: May 1991. Revised: January 2001. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

Irrigation of Lawns and Gardens
IFAS publication by Dorota Z. Haman, Gary A. Clark, Allen G. Smajstrla.

Key for Identification of Turf Diseases
By Gary W. Simone, Plant Pathology Department, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Preparing to Plant a Florida Lawn
IFAS publication by L. B. McCarty tells how it should be done.

St. Augustine Decline
Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, reports on St. Augustine Decline (SAD),a virus causing a chlorotic mottling or stippling of St. Augustinegrass leaves and centipedegrass. The virus is widespread in Texas and has been reported in Louisiana and Arkansas.

Sample Lawn and Landscape Maintenance Contract
Before hiring a lawn service, read this IFAS Fact Sheet outlining the contents and specifications of a good contract.

Selecting a Turfgrass for Florida Lawns
IFAS Fact Sheet by L. B. McCarty outlines considerations for selecting the right turfgrass variety.

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