GAINESVILLE — A new video series will help hobby gardeners and professional horticulturalists identify weeds in their gardens and greenhouses. Proper identification helps lower herbicide use and leads to more successful weed management.
The free, on-demand video series consists of 25 videos that serve as visual components to existing UF/IFAS Extension documents (EDIS) weed management publications and the recently established plant identification online tool that helps identify toxic plants, including weeds.
Each video highlights one weed’s unique characteristics including flowers, leaves, hairs and other identifying features. The videos also explain how the weed spreads. Some control topics will be covered, but the primary focus remains on identification.
“Far too often, people go out and buy the first herbicide they come across and in many cases, it is the wrong option for that weed,” said Chris Marble, assistant professor of environmental horticulture at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center. “This usually happens because they don’t take the time to identify the weed first. We encourage people to use resources like UF/IFAS EDIS articles, university webpages and industry reports to find what herbicides or other control tactics will work best for each weed but it starts with identification.”
Each weed covered in the videos will have a corresponding UF/IFAS EDIS document to provide additional information, including appropriate management techniques.
“Florida has a lot of weeds that are only really problematic here and maybe in Hawaii or a few other places,” Marble said. “For example, artilleryweed (Pilea microphylla). It is one of the worst weeds in Florida landscapes but there isn’t much information on it because it is primarily an issue in central and south Florida.”
Another factor that impacts Florida’s weed issues is the warm, sub-tropical climate.
“We don’t get freezes very often so weed pressure is high, year-round,” he said. The weeds also don’t always play by the rules in terms of seasonality. In most places, a weed-like spurge, which is a summer annual, is only going to be a problem five to six months out of the year. But here in Florida, it still germinates at my house in Winter Park in mid-December. It never really stops here. There is heavy weed pressure all the time.”
To access the videos, visit the Landscape Weed I.D. for Florida Yards YouTube page.