We have many weeds in the Panhandle that are a nuisance to our landscape, with some being very difficult to control. Dollarweed certainly falls into this category. But, does dollarweed have an upside?
Dollarweed (Hydrocotyle spp.) is a largeleaf creeping perennial that thrives in central and northern Florida, but is found throughout both Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Dollarweed is resilient, as it can reproduce by seed, rhizomes and tubers. The mature plant produces vertical shoots with shiny green round shaped leaves and scalloped edges. The leaves can grow up to the size of a silver dollar, hence the plant’s name. This plant grows low to the ground and thrives in moist environments.
Figure 1: Pennywort (Dollarweed) vs. Dicondra.
Credit: Ramon G. Leon, Darcy E. P. Telenko & J. Bryan Unruh, UF/IFAS
Hydrocotyle umbellate is the species most found in Florida lawns. In city landcsapes, dollarweed can be an indicator of leaking water mains or even septic drainfield problems. It also can be an indicator that you may be over-irrigating your lawn. Hydrocotyle bonarienies or pennywort, on the other hand, is a species that is found on frontal and back dune areas, along with sandy marsh or flatlands. This species is known to help stabilize dunes and assist in combatting dune erosion.
Often, dollarweed is confused with pony’s foot or Dicondra carolinensis. This weed will grow along with dollarweed, as it prefers moist environments as well. Pony’s foot has a distinct difference in leaf structure than dollarweed. Pony’s foot has a kidney-shaped circular leaf, as dollarweed is disc shaped.
How does one control dollarweed in a landscape? Pulling it up by hand can be successful. However, it’s a must to pull all of the white rhizomes from the soil. Otherwise, the plant will rebound quickly. Selective & non-selective herbicides will control dollarweed. However, you must be persistent. Applying a pre-emergent and post emergent herbicide is the best practice when using chemical applications. There are many herbicides on the market that specifically list the control of dollarweed, such as atrazine and 2, 4-D options. Always follow the directions and precautions from the manufacturer when using a herbicide and be sure that the product will not affect your variety of turfgrass. Contact your local county extension office for more information on controlling dollarweed and other pesky weeds.
Supporting information for this article can be found in the following the UF/IFAS publication:
“Pennywort (Dollarweed) Biology and Management in Turf” by Ramon G. Leon, Darcy E. P. Telenko and J. Bryan Unruh: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP38900.pdf
& “Native Plants for Coastal Dune Restoration- What, When and How for Florida” by M.J. Williams, USDA NRCS: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/flpmspu7474.pdf
UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.