Doveweed is an increasingly problematic weed on golf courses. It infests warm-season fairways, roughs, and tees. The weed’s life cycle and growth pattern make it especially difficult to control. 

Doveweed is a summer annual weed that germinates in soil temperatures between 60°F and 70°F. Its seeds can stay dormant in the soil for years before germinating, which means that managing it can be a multi-year process.

Identifying doveweed is a challenge because of its grassy characteristics. It can be mistaken for desirable grasses, such as St. Augustinegrass. However, doveweed produces distinctive flowers that help with identification. Doveweed flowers have three small purple petals, as seen in the photo below from Clemson Home & Garden Information Center.


With a creeping growth pattern, doveweed spreads quickly via stolons. Mowing can break these stolons and incidentally help the weed spread even further. Doveweed favors wet soils, which means that high rainfall or irrigation levels can contribute to an infestation. You may find that doveweed clusters around irrigation heads because of the wet soil there.

Because doveweed is such a resilient weed, you’ll probably need chemical solutions to manage it. Specticle FLO is one pre-emergent herbicide labeled for doveweed. Use it in split applications for extended residual control.

Typically, post-emergent applications are more successful for doveweed control. Blindside is one post-emergent herbicide labeled for doveweed, providing the best results when applied in split applications 14 to 21 days apart. Celsius WG and Tribute Total are two more options, which may also require repeat applications. A non-ionic surfactant, such as Chem-Stik LpH, can improve the effectiveness of these applications

Although doveweed control is neither quick nor easy, chemical and cultural solutions are available to help. Knowing how to identify doveweed—and understanding the conditions that provoke its growth—will help you stay ahead of this issue on your course.