University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #SS-AGR-314

Florida Pusley Control in Pastures1

Brandon Fast, Jason Ferrell, and Brent Sellers2

Florida pusley (Richardia scabra L.) is a common and troublesome weed found in pastures, cultivated fields, waste areas, and roadsides throughout Florida. Plants grow prostrate (creeping along the ground) and have hairy stems that grow to lengths of up to 30 inches (Figures 1 and 2). Leaves are thick and fleshy and often have a rough upper and lower surface. Small white flowers that form a cluster at the ends of stems are characteristic of this weed (Figure 3).

Figure 1. 

Seedling Florida pusley.


Credit: Brandon Fast
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 2. 

Mature Florida pusley in vegetative stage.


Credit: Brandon Fast
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Figure 3. 

Mature Florida pusley in flowering stage.


Credit: Brandon Fast
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Florida pusley grows low to the ground and rarely infests fields with good grass cover. However, Florida pusley can become a prevalent weed in open areas during grass establishment or in areas where grass has died. The dense, mat-like nature of this weed makes it difficult for desirable grasses to grow in its presence.

After Florida pusley has become well established, it can be difficult to control with common pasture herbicides, such as 2,4-D. Several new herbicides have recently been developed for pasture use, but their efficacy on Florida pusley is not known.

Research was conducted to determine the efficacy of several commonly used pasture herbicides on Florida pusley plants that were approximately four inches in size when herbicides were applied. Table 1 details Florida pusley control two, four, and eight weeks after treatment (WAT), as well as the approximate costs of treatments.

GrazonNext HL, GrazonNext HL used in combination with Vista XRT, and GrazonNext HL used in combination with Pasturegard HL provided excellent Florida pusley control (90% or greater). It should be noted, however, that GrazonNext HL is a relatively slow-acting herbicide and often requires up to four weeks for significant weed control to occur. Control provided by Pasturegard HL was fair (84% at eight WAT), and control provided by Vista XRT (18% at eight WAT) and Weedmaster (70% at eight WAT) was much lower.

As mentioned above, control of Florida pusley becomes more difficult as the plant matures. Therefore, if applications are to be made to plants larger than four inches, it is likely that Pasturegard HL and Weedmaster will not provide acceptable levels of control. For larger plants, GrazonNext HL used in combination with Vista XRT or Pasturegard HL will most likely be necessary.

Tables

Table 1. 

Control of Florida pusley with pasture herbicides

Herbicide

Rate

2WAT

4WAT

8WAT

Dollars/ac

   

Florida pusley control (%)

 

Vista XRT

6 fl oz / ac

14

28

18

7

Weedmaster

3 pt / ac

56

75

70

11

Pasturegard HL

1.5 pt / ac

48

81

84

21

GrazonNext HL

24 oz/A

55

90

90

14

GrazonNext HL + Vista XRT

24 oz/A

6 fl oz / ac

73

96

99

21

GrazonNext HL + Pasturegard HL

24 oz/A

8 oz / ac

90

100

100

21

1 All treatments included 0.25% v/v non-ionic surfactant.

2 Control data collected 2 weeks after treatment (WAT).

3 Approximate costs of herbicides are from EDIS Publication SS-AGR-16, Approximate Herbicide Pricing, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/wg056, and do not include the costs of surfactant and application.

Footnotes

1.

This document is SS-AGR-314, one of a series of the Agronomy Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 2008. Revised November 2010, September 2012, and October 2015. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Brandon Fast, former graduate student assistant; Jason Ferrell, professor, Agronomy Department; and Brent Sellers, associate professor, Agronomy Department, Range Cattle Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The use of trade names in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information. UF/IFAS does not guarantee or warranty the products named, and references to them in this publication do not signify our approval to the exclusion of other products of suitable composition. All chemicals should be used in accordance with the directions on the manufacturer's label.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.