picture of groundselName: Groundsel


Senecio Vulgaris

Control Difficulty:Easy ✭✭✰✰✰

Best Control Product: Any selective broadleaf weed control, like Triplet or Surge

Identifying Traits:

Thick, fleshy, upright stems growing anywhere from 6 inches to one and a half feet tall. Stems are hollow on the inside if broken in half. The leaves are also fleshy, about four inches long and toothed. Lower leaves are attached to stems by a leaf stalk. Upper leaves attach directly to the stem. From April to October groundsel is in flower, producing yellow blooms. The flower heads are often closed tightly revealing a small, yellow “match head” type of look.


Where and When:

Look for groundsel year round in rich, wet soil areas, although it can be found growing almost anywhere that is mainly undisturbed such as beds, road sides, and fence lines. Groundsel is most troublesome in the fall and spring.groundsel1

Control Procedure:

Groundsel is easy to kill but may reproduce with ease, so killing the pest before it can seed is important. There is no special procedure in controlling groundsel, use any broadleaf herbicide labeled for its control, or containing the standard 2-4 d, dicamba, mcpp mixture, at its label rate. Repeat applications as necessary, always trying to stay ahead of the plant seeding. As usual liquid treatments are always better than granular for post emergent weed control.

belly grinder
A belly grinder, by solo on left.
A hand spreader by scotts on right

Because groundsel is a common pest in mulch beds, road cracks, and crevices there are preventative measures you can take. Apply a pre emergent product early in the spring or late winter. Products like snapshot ( generic T/I 2.5) a granular bed weed control work the best for growing beds especially because it can be applied right over the top of plants in a bed through a hand spreader or belly grinder (see image of a belly grinder, also called monkey and organ grinder, I don’t know the real name but will try to find an amazon link so you can get one if you need it). Another pre emergent made for liquid applications, which is best suited to control crack and crevice areas, is gallery ( generic isoxaben). Gallery is a wettable powder that can be mixed and sprayed in tough to control areas to prevent further germination, it can even be mixed with your post emergent product, like triplet, for a one two punch.

Groundsel can be prevented with pre emergent controls.
Groundsel can be prevented with pre emergent controls.

Organic Control Methods for :

Groundsel is easily removed by hand, the root is shallow and should come right up with the plant.