If you’re in charge of maintaining a sports field so that it’s in pristine condition year-round, you’ll know how difficult it can be to keep weeds at bay. Certain weeds in Australia can spread with gorilla-like tenacity, and once the cursed things have taken a hold of your turf, it’s very difficult to eradicate them. This is why using preventative measures is always best when it comes to avoiding widespread weed damage.
Here are some of the most common species of weed to wreak havoc on Australian sports fields, and the best ways to prevent them from ruining your carefully manicured turf.
Crabgrass (also known as Summergrass)
Crabgrass likes to strike early in Spring, before your lovingly tended Kikuyu has had the chance to recover from winter frosts. It’s an annual grassy weed that spreads seeds and can overtake your sports field swiftly if not treated. The best way to prevent crabgrass seed from emerging and dispersing is to spray the field with a pre-emergent herbicide such as pendimethalin, dithiopyr, and oxidiazon, in late August. Get in quick before crabgrass has the opportunity to weasel its way into your turf. Ensure that you check that the pre-emergent herbicide you are using will not react negatively with the type of turf on your field.
Crowsfoot also thrives in Spring, especially after rain. It will clump over your field, resulting in an uneven playing surface. Crowsfoot loves moist, warm conditions and compact soil, so be sure to make aeration a priority! Chemical treatment to prevent crowsfoot is quite specific, so deterring it using natural methods is always a good idea. However, if you want to undergo chemical treatment, use pre-emergent herbicides such as pendimethalin, dithiopyr, and oxidiazon. Spraying should take place when the soil temperature at 10cm deep is above 15 degrees Celsius for more than 24 hours.
Bindii and white clover are the most common species of broadleaf weeds in Australia, and plague turf on a regular basis. In fact, it’s the bane of most groundskeepers existence. The good news is that it can be fairly painlessly treated, either before or after its appearance. Dithiopyr is an effective pre-emergent herbicide, or herbicide brands such as Spearhead or Millenium can be used to eradicate after spread has occurred. Spraying is best carried out early July.
Wiregrass is another stubborn weed that grows in clumps, resulting in unsafe playing fields. It thrives in Summer and is surprisingly resistant to soil compaction. Again, aeration is your best defence here to give your turf the chance to combat its aggressor. Alternatively, treatment can be carried out by wick wiping with Glyphosate.