turfgrass

Basketgrass

Basketgrass

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Wayne – posted 15 October 2001 18:04

This stuff is killing us here in central Florida. Anyone know the exact relationship between this weed and Oak trees ? It’s absolutely taking over entire sections of lawns. Any info greatly appreciated.

seed – posted 19 October 2001 15:01

Wayne, basketgrass or Oplismenus hirtellus, has certainly been a problem in central Florida. Perhaps high shade tolerance is its secret to successhttp://floridaturf.com/weeds/oplismenus.html

That web page has a vegetative photo; later I’ll try to post an image the seedhead.

No cure is known.

Phil

Skastafari – posted 28 October 2002 11:23

If it were not for this weed, one of my neighbors would not have a lawn. His entire lawn front to back is composed of this stuff, except in a few declining patches were St. Augustine barely hangs on. After seeing an entire lawn of this stuff I have a new perspective of what a lawn really is. I have to say that his lawn is greener, smoother more evenly textured then all but a few St. Augustine lawns on my street. It is soft, and much more pleasent to walk on barefoot then St. Augustine. It is green even in the shadiest areas of his lawn. It seems to survive with almost no watering, and thrives even when watered only once weekly. It tolerates much lower cutting then St. Augustine. I laugh as many unknowing people complement him on how nice his lawn looks, and ask what type of grass he has. Only a few well kept bermuda, and posibly one St. Augustine lawn on the block look better then his.

A lawn is nothing more then a low growing green ornamental crop we grow in our yards to benefit ourselves and our property. One persons weed is anothers lawn. In my opinion this basket grass stuff is not killing us, but saving us from St. Augustine. But then I absolutely loathe that 3 inch tall ankle itching, chinch bug infested, coarse leafed, wire stoloned, fence climbing, root rotting, sidewalk swallowing, heavy thatch producing, rapid declining, weed encouraging, poor wearing excuse for a turf grass people call St. Augustine.

seed – posted 28 October 2002 14:45

Whew, Skastafari, after spending most of my research career trying to improve St. Augustinegrass, I might wonder if I’ve been wasting my time, now that you have discovered basketgrass.

Until now, for many residents in coastal areas, St. Augustine has offered the most reliable combination of salt tolerance, weed resistance, disease resistant, pH tolerance, erosion tolerance, and year round green.

Alternative varieties of St. Augustinegrass including Seville, Palmetto, FX-10, Floratam, Jade, Delmar, and Bitterblue have a place in different kinds of situations, covering for one another’s deficiencies, which no one is trying to hide.

Is St. Augustinegrass perfect? NO. Is it for everyone? NO. Is there a conspiracy to grow St. Augustine when something else is better adapted? NO.

Mother Nature has a great leveling tendency, to let well adapted plants succeed, despite human efforts to promote something else. In this regard, St. Augustinegrass has succeeded spectacularly throughout most of the coastal landscapes of Florida. If one does nothing other than mow and water occasionally, most landscapes will be dominated by St. Augustinegrass.

What you have discovered in basketgrass is something that is obviously better in some situations. When I was growing a native plant hammock several years ago, I was thrilled that my one plant of basketgrass was filling the voids in the understory, but it seemed so weak at the time that I could not imagine it as a serious weed, least of all a turfgrass.

Two weeks ago I saw my first decent stand of basketgrass here in South Florida, growing in perpetual shade in front of my dentist’s office, and I aim to go back and take a picture of how dense it is in this small area. So I agree with most of your positive comments, about the value of a lawn, and how weeds such as basketgrass may save us from a conformity of St. Augustinegrass.

If there’s something better for a particular purpose, I’d say grow it, or if grows on its own, so much the better. But please don’t be so negative.

You loathe St. Augustine, so that’s a weed to you, but to someone else it’s their lawn, because just as you said, one person’s weed is another’s lawn. And where, exactly did we get our lawns? They are all weeds in a biological sense, they are plants that live in disturbed habitats. Just like us humans.

Phil

percussiveone – posted 06 November 2002 09:03

For reference, if anyone WOULD want to get rid of basketgrass, a simple home remedy would be to sprinkle arm and hammer baking soda by the handfuls onto the basketgrass, then water it in. I tried it on some basketgrass intermingled with my st augustine, and it completely burned it up in less than 3 days, and it did not affect the st augustine one bit.

BPLawn – posted 05 July 2003 15:46

Thanks for the great hint. I can’t wait to try it before it rains tomorrow. I have used Roundup to kill all my St. Augustine, then plugged it, but the basketgrass is back with a vengence, especially with all this rain. I have been trying to pull it, but it seems to spread so easily. Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!BPLawn

quote:Originally posted by percussiveone:For reference, if anyone WOULD want to get rid of basketgrass, a simple home remedy would be to sprinkle arm and hammer baking soda by the handfuls onto the basketgrass, then water it in. I tried it on some basketgrass intermingled with my st augustine, and it completely burned it up in less than 3 days, and it did not affect the st augustine one bit.

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 05 July 2003 23:59

percussiveone,What ever possessed you to try baking soda on the basketgrass? I’m glad you did, but where did you get that idea???

And how well does basketgrass grow in the full sun?

Is it otherwise invasive? It sounds like Skastafari has enough experience with St Aug to know it’s drawbacks. Does basketgrass have any of the same drawbacks, or does it seem to be the perfect ground cover?

Jims’ Turf – posted 31 July 2003 20:06

Seed,I have been in the lawn spraying business for over 16 years and Basketgrass has always been my leading cause of customer complaints and cancellation during the Spring and Summer months. Personally Basketgrass does not bother me one bit. When I see it, it is telling me that there is too much shade in the area to grow a healthy thick stand of St.Augustine and mother nature has filled the void. Any attempt at chemical weed control only made the problem worse. The chemicals did more harm to the thin stand of St. Augustine then to the Basketgrass. Out of the need to retain my customer base I continued to search for something that would work, I had no choice. My customers wanted the shade but not the Basketgrass even if it meant just having dirt. Go figure. Anyway, I have been reading message boards and searching the web for an answer. One day I asked one of my chemical reps the same question I had asked him 100 times before and the reps before him, only this time he said there was a new product out called crabgrass control and it also killed basketgrass without hurting the St. Augustine. Guess what, it worked. My customers are happy again, well most of them, some people just can’t be pleased. It is not baking soda, although I have had some success with baking soda it just didn’t look very professional and control was spuratic I just couldn’t get an even coverage. My rep did not sell it he told me where to get it and some of the local grden shops did have it. It is hard to find because it is so new. I get it at crabgrassalert.com , I hope this info is useful.

http://www.crabgrassalert.com/

I don’t know how to add a link to this post so you may have to copy and past to your browser.Jim

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 04 August 2003 14:04

Jim,If you have a bottle of that crabgrass control, would you mind writing about the ingredients. It says it’s safe. How safe is it? I’m wondering if organic lawn folks would be interested in it?

Jims’ Turf – posted 09 August 2003 13:47

Turfmaster, The first bottle I bought was labled for St. Augustine grass at any temperature the second one I bought also included Bahia and Common Bermuda grass above 60 degrees.The active ingredient is .95% cinnamon bark. The inerts are listed as corn flour, wheat flour, sodium hydrogen Bicarbonate, cumin, yellow #5 and red #40. It works a lot better then baking soda and easier to apply because it does not clump. By the way your, your threads are very helpful and informative.

Lynn – posted 10 November 2003 12:55

Basketgrass is native. St. Augustine (despite the name) is probably not. You all may want to rethink which one is the weed.

Dchall_San_Antonio – posted 17 November 2003 10:29

Lynn,A weed, by definition, is any plant you don’t want growing there. You can buy Queen Anne’s Lace seed and you can buy Queen Anne’s Lace killer – depends on whether you want it or not.

If you really wanted to be PC about it, St Augustine came from Africa with the slaves. Is that a reason to not like it?

Jims, thanks for the info. It would seem to be about as organic as it could be. Makes you wonder how this was discovered, doesn’t it? Sounds like someone was making corn bread and dropped a batch on the lawn.

Jims’ Turf – posted 23 November 2003 07:55

Dchall, no problem. Since I first posted in August I have used over 10 cases of the Crabgrass Control and my customers are happy with the results I am getting. I tell them that fighting crabgrass and basket grass is a never ending battle and control is what we need to maintain. If someone thinks they are going to eliminate either with any kind of application they are not being realistic and will always be disapointed with the results. Some of my customers have started buying the Carabgrass Control from a locally owned home and garden and doing it themself. Thats okay, I can’t fight all the crabgrass alone. As far as a corn bread mix gone wrong, hehe, I have a customer who is a food scientist, he creates flavors, and another who is a chemical engineer. They both said that there is baking soda in the mix but that the cinnamon bark is the only active ingredient in there. That straight baking soda has the potential to burn non target grasses at higher temperatures where a smaller amount of baking soda with additives to make it not clump together and maybe stick to the leaf better, possibly the flours, make the product useful at all temperatures. They could not tell me what the cinnamon actually did to the leaf tissue but that it probably enhanced the effects of the baking soda. Anyway, like I said before I tried just baking soda, control was hit and miss. It seemed liked I was just burning the surface and within a couple of days saw new growth coming up, and some dead St. Augustine to boot.

scott – posted 24 February 2004 12:17

that product works good jim, thanks for the news!

papbear69 – posted 28 February 2004 08:44

does any on know where i can buy basket grass seeds/sod possibly in va, norfolk area.

violamae – posted 02 August 2005 15:07

One thing anyone toying with the idea of planting basketgrass intentionally should know, is that, in Florida anyway,it is a summer annual. In my yard where I planted it, it dies off in the fall when the rainy season stops since I don’t irrigate. Perhaps it will persist and be acceptable in a lawn with regular irrigation, I don’t know. Also, it puts seeds just about everywhere which is a problem for me since it spreads into my beds and tends to survive in my container plants where they do get watered. I do love the look, but if I had it to do over again, even I would probably not plant it because it spreads so vastly. It doesn’t grow in my neighbors sunny yard even in the rainy season.

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