Winning the War on Weeds

Winning the War on Weeds

Several products have been introduced over the past few years that promised to control broadleaf weeds. Several of these products have shown promise in fighting weeds in sports turf, although the use of one, Imprells, was suspended in 2011 due to suspected injury to pines, spruces and other ornamental plants. In fact, the number of products registered to control broadleaf weeds in sports turf has doubled since 2000. Before using any herbicides, however, it is important to consult the label to be sure the product is safe for the type of turf it will be used to treat.

Preemergence Products

There are several products available for preemergence that have been released recently and show promise in treating broadleaf weeds:

  • Dimethenamid-P



    – This product should only be used on sports turf with warm-season turfgrass, although it is labeled for cool-season turfgrass for golf courses. The explanation for this labeling is that the product will discolor annual and rough bluegrass on cool-season fields, but will not control the grass. The product is marketed by BASF under the Tower name. It is particularly effective on goosegrass and has a quick reseeding interval of six weeks.

  • Prodlamine and Quinclorac

    – Often, preemergence herbicide does not control crabgrass efficiently. However, Cavalcade PQ, introduced by SipcamAdvan a few years ago, works well at controlling crabgrass if it is applied in the leaf stage. Although the product can be used earlier in the season, there is more chance of having adequate control if the product is applied later. In fact, a study at Ohio State University found that when the product was applied during May, 85 to 95 percent control was achieved.

Pre- and Postemergence Products

There are several products that have been released over the past few years that perform well for both pre- and postemergence weed protection, with the most promising being topramezone. This product inhibits carotenoid biosynthesis, a process that causes bleaching of leaf tissue. It is recommended for use only on centipedegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and a few species of fescue. It is only recommended for spot treatment on sports turf, although there is indication that the company will lift that recommendation in the near future. It provides exceptional control of goosegrass and sedges, and some research indicates that it could also provide postemergence control of crabgrass. The product is sold by BASF under the name Pylex.

Postemergence Products

For postemergence treatments, several products released over the past few years are showing promise in the control of annual bluegrass and ryegrass:

  • Flazasulfuron

    – This product was originally only labelled for use on college and professional football fields, but the labeling has changed. Today, the product may be used on sports turf that consists of bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, centipedegrass and seashore paspalum. It is not recommended for use on carpetgrass or St. Augustine grass. The product works well in removing overseeded cool-season turfgrass species, such as annual ryegrass. It is registered for control of 58 grassy and broadleaf weeds, and although it has shown promise in preemergence, it is primarily used for post-emergence. The product is marketed as Katana Turf Herbicide and is manufactured by PBI Gordon.

  • Amicarbazone

    – This product is designed to control annual bluegrass along with other weeds, even on sports turf. Some research indicates that the product is 90 percent effective in controlling annual bluegrass, whose control can be variable at best. The label recommends two application schedules for Kentucky bluegrass and perennial ryegrass, but some experts say that a lighter application works best. The product should only be applied at temperatures below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. One of the best aspects of the product is that it can be used on dormant or active warm-season turfgrasses. The product is marketed under the name Xonerate from Arysta LifeScience.

Although these products show promise in the treatment of broadleaf weeds, it is important to read all labels thoroughly before application to determine if the type of sports turf that will have the product applied is suitable for the herbicide. As some of these products are still fairly new, there could still be other problems that develop as they increase in use, much like what happened with Imprelis in 2011.



Commonwealth Sports Turf has been improving and maintaining quality sports turf since 2003. If you have questions about products being used on your sports turf, contact Commonwealth Sports Turf today online or by telephone to learn more.

Photo Credits:

Artificial Turf

Wikipedia: Acetochlor

Imprellis Damage by John Kaminski

Keith Kitchen