PINELLAS COUNTY, FLORIDA - Helpful information about Pinellas lawns & landscapes.

How to Control Dollar Weed in St Augustine Turf Grass Lawn

Dollar Weed Dominating a St Augustine Lawn

The Problem with Dollar Weed

The waxy glossy green leaves of dollar weed present themselves just above and horizontal to the mowing plane of the lawn – making dollar weed one of the most visible and noxious weeds in a St Augustine grass lawn.

The only hope is to “control” dollar weed – eradication is nearly impossible

But that highly visible leaf is only a small part of the problem because dollar weed lives primarily below ground - about 90% of the plant is below ground. So, killing the leaf does little to control the plant!

The good side of dollar weed is that it thrives in the same culture as does St Augustine turf. If you have a dollar weed problem, chances are lurking just below the dollar weed is the remnants of a St Augustine lawn. Then, if and when you control the dollar weed, you will have a lush green lawn.

Controlling Dollar Weed is Difficult with Home Improvement Store Herbicides

Herbicides used to control dollar weed in lawns such as Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed and Ortho Weed-B-Gon are ineffective and potential lawn killers if applied incorrectly. The reason products such as Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed and Ortho Weed-B-Gon fail to work are twofold:

  1. The home improvement store products are weak watered down formulations
  2. The below ground parts of dollar weed are resistant to herbicides and capable of repopulating a lawn in a very short time.

In other words these watered down consumer products simply knock the tops off and leave the below ground roots and stems unharmed.

Using Atrazine or Weed n Feed To Kill Dollar Weed

Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed is more “smoke and mirrors” than true dollar weed control 

Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed uses atrazine, a great herbicide for dollar weed control if used properly but has two major problems:

  1. Regulations have reduced rates to below effective levels
  2. If atrazine is applied when temperatures are above 85⁰F it will kill a St Augustine Lawn.

So you can only apply atrazine during the winter and spring and the dosage - set by law – is so low that the dollar weed often escapes the treatment. Scotts Bonus S Weed and Feed is more “smoke and mirrors” than true dollar weed control – the fertilizer turns the St Augustine brilliant green so the lawn “appears” to have fewer weeds.

Lawn Myth #36 - Over Watering Causes Dollar Weed - Fact: Dollar weed causes dollar weed – not water. Reducing the water only stresses your St Augustine grass lawn and does not stop dollar weed from growing in your lawn. Nearly 90% of the plant lies below ground and out of sight. Each underground stem is capable repopulating your lawn when conditions permit – like a lawn stressed from under watering. Stressing your lawn by cutting back the water allows more dollar weed not less!

Using 2,4D Herbicides to Control Dollar Weed in St Augustine

St Augustine turf grass - especially Floratam – the most widely used St Augustine turf grass for lawns in Pinellas County - is very sensitive to 2,4D compounds used in herbicides like Ortho Weed-B-Gon. These products are listed as “spot” treatments are not intended to be broadcast over the entire lawn. They work great for one or two dollar weeds scattered in a lawn. However rarely does anyone have just a “weed or two” to treat and treating the entire lawn will result in a dead lawn.

Metsulfuron Methyl is sold as Manor Herbicide and many “generic” brands. Look for Metsulfuron Methyl on the label as the active ingredient. 

How to Control Dollar Weed in St Augustine Grass Lawn 

Persistency, consistency and Metsulfuron Methyl (MSM) herbicide are my best methods and tools to control dollar weed.

A quick search on Amazon revealed several generic MSM herbicides for sale. The most difficult problem with using MSM is you use so little - 0.06 oz to cover an average 5000 sq. ft. lawn. 

A persistent “never give up attitude” is required when the dollar weed seems to reappear after each application.

Repetitive consistent effort is the only way to defeat the below ground roots and stems and keep them from repopulating your lawn.

And with St Augustine grass the safest most effective herbicide is Metsulfuron Methyl – it is expensive, it is slow, it is difficult to apply but is an effective herbicide on dollar weed and safe to use on St Augustine grass.

Warning: Procrastinating treatments will permit dollar weed to repopulate the area – if you can’t be consistent, you can’t get rid of dollar weed.

Best Method for Controlling Dollar Weed in St Augustine

If you want to control dollar weed it will take an investment of persistent and consistent effort using Metsulfuron Methyl herbicide.Treating the lawn every 8 weeks is minimum and once a month will give very good results.

The alternative is to hire a good lawn spray company. APL Lawn Spraying will includes fertilizer, insecticides and herbicides with Metsulfuron Methyl as part of the 6 basic services per year to keep your lawn healthy and thriving.


Related Articles: 

A Weed Free Lawn is Not Sold in a Bottle

This Weed Has Round Leaves Similar to Dollar Weed but is Dichondra



Article by Rick Orr
APL Lawn Spraying Inc.

Rick Orr is the creator of, an Agronomist and the Owner/Operator of APL Lawn Spraying. Rick is a graduate from VA Tech in Agronomy (Turf Ecology). He has been a Golf Course Superintendent, Certified Arborist, Landscape Contractor, Irrigation Contractor and Adjunct Professor for Environmental Horticulture.

Rick is an expert at growing St Augustine turf. Since 1995, Rick has spent his time researching, developing and testing the best management practices for St Augustine turf grown in Pinellas County.

The results of that work is a one of the top rated lawn spray companies in Pinellas County – APL Lawn Spraying. APL Lawn Spraying is a family owned business serving residential and commercial properties in Pinellas County, FL.

APL Lawn Spraying provides lawn spraying to commercial properties, HOA’s and single family homes. To request a free quote for your property, click here: Free Advice or Price Quote

Speaking Engagments - Does it seem like you are only hearing one side of water restrictions, fertilizer bans, plant restrictions and many other urban landscape hot topics? Rick Orr is available for speaking engagements for your HOA, Community or Professional Association or Garden Club about a variety of subjects. Call or email for more information.

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