Florida snow – pretty or pesky?

 

What is that white weed-flower that blankets your lawn like snow during the cool season? That’s Florida pusley, also known as Florida snow or Mexican clover.

Depending on whom you ask, it is either considered pretty, with its dainty flowers, or pesky, a troublesome weed in many Florida lawns.

Blowing in the Wind?

Part of what makes Florida pusley so persistent, is the same feature many find attractive—its proliferation of flowers. These flowers, however, very quickly produce seeds; and, in a matter of just a few weeks, what was once only a small patch of delicate flowers in your lawn has taken over half the yard!

One interesting note about Florida pusley (Richardia scabra) is that there are two other closely related species. One has larger blooms which can be pink, blue, or violet, and is R. grandiflora, aka, largeflower pusley. The other, R. brasiliensis, has thicker roots. Both species reproduce by both seeds and stem/root sections.

Regardless of the species, however, weed control for Richardia requires some amount of patience and persistence. Control recommendations include:

  • frequent mowing to interrupt the life cycle and prevent flowering and seed-set;
  • use of pre-emergent herbicides to inhibit seed germination; and
  • careful selection of broadleaf post-emergent herbicides.
Bottom line

Prevention is always better than a cure. Following research-based turf management practices helps lawns to maintain vigorous growth which deters weed infestations.

Learn more:

11 Comments on “Florida snow – pretty or pesky?

  1. weed killer called atrazine will kill it off witout killing your st Augustine grass.

    note: if you have more weed than grass, when you kill the weed, it will look like you killed the grass too… it will take 6-12 months for your grass to grow back (spread)in that area.

  2. Wild killer weed .. it is super pretty with all the flowers .. but spreads like crazy and convers the lawn from the top until it kills it .. now I have patches of dead lawn all over … what is the best way to get rid of it

  3. Is there a weed killer to kill this weed. Too many bees and killing lawn.
    What brand

  4. Is this a native plant? I noticed at St. Sebastian State Park that this plant is COVERED in native pollinators, but I don’t want to put it on my property if it’s not native. Thanks for any guidance!

  5. I manage a property that focuses on deer management. I have noticed on the edges of my fields that have either drown or are hit hard by the heat and drought conditions, that Florida Pusley grows and looks good, also the deer have heavily browsed on it as well. I haven’t been able to find any data that discusses the health benefits of Pusley for deer. Is there any information/website or a person to speak to that i can follow up with.

    • Hi, Richard. We’ve consulted with our commercial horticulture agent, Dr. Marguerite Beckford, who noted there isn’t much information available, likely because no one typically has to deliberately plant pusley to get it to grow. We have, though, identified a couple of University of Florida publications that might help you. The first is titled “Food Plots for Whitetail Deer,” and can be found at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw262. The second is an archived publication titled “Managing Native Vegetation for Wildlife,” which can be found at http://ufdcimages.uflib.ufl.edu/IR/00/00/18/31/00001/FR24100.pdf. Note that archived publications might contain information (typically in tables or lists) in need of updates.

      Hope that helps!

  6. I love this delicate little plant. I have them all over my yard, and I also have lots of bees and butterflies. It’s beautiful, requires no care, and seems to be drought and salt tolerant, it’s too bad most people don’t see it that way, doesn’t require watering either, so it saves on valuable resources. The iguanas don’t seem to like it either- a real plus. Maybe we should all learn to live with this little native species….

  7. Hi,

    I noticed the “Florida pusley weed biology” link to the pdf does not work. Is there anyway this can be fixed.

    • Hi, Ben. Thanks for letting us know about the link. UF/IFAS Extension offices recently migrated web content to a new server, and links pointing to the old site might not have been updated. We now have replaced the outdated link with one that points to an active page at EDIS. Best, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County.

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