Khaki Weed Control | How To Kill Khaki Weed

Khaki Weed Image
Khaki Weed Alternanthera caracasana
Khaki weed is one of the most difficult weeds to control and usually requires a little more attention than basic weed control methods. As a matter of fact, a lot of the information that you find on this troublesome weed will tell you that you can't get rid of it.

Khaki is prominent in Carlsbad and Eddy County lawns and can be found in the lawns of most southern states including Southeast New Mexico. It is present in many of the yards we treat. In our weed control service in Carlsbad, it requires specialized methods to get it under control.

Because of the amount of time, effort, and difficulty involved in eliminating Khaki weed, we don't claim that it will be controlled with our regular treatments.

And because of the expense of hiring us or any other weed control company to spray your yard, we suggest you do it yourself. Spraying your own yard is the focus of this article. However, while our service option of weed control does include Khaki Weed control, please just be aware that it will take an undetermined amount of service calls based on an hourly rate including chemicals.

Most Important Steps To Killing Khaki Weed

  1. The key, more than anything else, is diligent persistence. You can't simply spray it once or pull it once and expect it to go away. It readily grows back from the existing tuber root or sprouts from existing seeds left from previous plants. Even spraying it with Glyphosate (Roundup) will only burn off the leaves and the plant generally regenerates from the root.
  2. Don't let it go to seed. The sticker burs are the seed heads. While it's not specifically researched by us, there is evidence that suggests that Khaki seeds are only viable for up to two years. So in the process of eliminating existing plants, make sure to cut off and dispose of any seed heads that may appear. With existing weeds killed and no new seeds, the problem will be under control within a few years. Ya. I know. A few years.

** NOTE ** While we will discuss the use of herbicides in this article, it cannot be considered as advice or recommendation of Horizon Pest Control, LLC of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The label on all pesticides is the law. If they're even available to you at all, how and if you choose to use them is in your own discretion. The label is the law.

Identifying Khaki Weed

While Khaki is widespread and can be found in most of the lawns we treat in Carlsbad, it tends to be most dominant in the looser sandy soil lawns that are closer to the Pecos River. Rocky soils like up on C-Hill have fewer incidents. And in newer sub-divisions like Quail Hollow and Spring Hollow where soil is brought in, there are a few lawns infested with it.

Khaki is a dark green perennial plant with succulent type leaves that has a matt like growth habit. Its seed heads are small hair like burrs which is one of the reasons this weed is such a problem in lawns. There is a lot of Khaki weed information from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture with pictures that will help with identifying Khaki.

More Pictures Of Khaki Weed

 How To Control Khaki Weed With Herbicide

A close up look at Khaki Weed leaves and seed head stickers.
Khaki Weed Stickers Are The Seeds
Photo Courtesy - Starr Environmental

** NOTE **  The herbicides mentioned here may or may not be available to the general public in your area. If not available, then it will be necessary to consult with a professional weed control company.

Khaki is easiest to kill with a Spring treatment when they are young and in a tender immature growth stage. And because our growing season is so long here in Carlsbad, a Summer application is recommended. This may be different in other places with shorter growing seasons. A Fall weed control treatment will do little for the control of Khaki weed.

So you must monitor your lawn and begin treatment as soon as you begin to see young sprouts and continue as new sprouts emerge.

An initial general Spring time pre and post emergent treatment of the entire lawn to address these and other weeds is advisable. This will help eliminate most common weeds while giving the first application to the Khaki removal process. Generally, a three way herbicide like Trimec will give the best results.

** IMPORTANT NOTE **  Three way herbicides like Trimec and Celcius usually contain an herbicide called Dicamba. Dicamba can be dangerous to use around trees and other ornamental plants if not used correctly. Again, it is up to you to follow directions exactly. Read and follow the label. The label is the law.

It is our experience that it will take at least two and possibly more spot treatments of individual young plants to kill them. According to the timing interval and application rate that is allowed by the label, make these direct applications to individual young plants. If there are no trees or ornamentals present, it may be possible to use a three way herbicide. Otherwise, you can use a product with just 2,4-D. 2,4-D is generally available to the public at feed stores.

Use A Surfactant

*** This Is Important ***

Surfactants are compounds used to break the surface tension on the leaf surface of plants which allows the herbicide to penetrate better and be more effective. This is especially important on waxy leaf plants like khaki.

You can generally find professional surfactants online or at feed stores. However, an alternative compound that will do the trick is liquid detergent. NOT SOAP - DETERGENT. Simply adding a few drops into the mix will help break the surface tension on the leaf allowing the herbicide to penetrate better and do its job.

Stay on this program until the weeds are shriveled and dead. Again, only use these herbicides as long as the label allows and in the time frame and application rate allowed by the label. Also, remember to not let any plants go to seed during this time. Cut off any seed heads if necessary. It is pointless and a waste of energy to dig up the plant.

How To Get Rid Of Khaki Without Herbicide

This is a method we learned from a client and actually found it to be effective...most of the time. It involves pouring boiling water in the center of the plant. It is truly a do it yourself method that can be very time consuming if you have a lot of these weeds present in your lawn.

While it may be simple and chemical free, it still goes without saying that you need to be careful. Using a spill proof container such as a small spout tea kettle, you simply bring water to a boil and carry it into the yard where you have located the weeds.

Finding the exact center of the weed, you pour a small amount of boiling hot water in direct center of the plant where it comes out of the ground. You can watch the plant constrict and shrivel right before your eyes.

While we don't know or can explain the science behind this, it is just an assumption that the boiling water causes the weed to constrict cutting off the life flow of any functions of the plant. It's as simple as that...I guess.

Professional Weed Control Services

As I stated at the beginning of this article, due to the time involved, having a professional weed control service company get rid of the Khaki Weed in your yard could be expensive. You may choose to treat your own yard because of this. However, if you're not comfortable doing your own yard spray and are in Carlsbad, Artesia, or Southeast New Mexico, contact Horizon Pest Control and we'll be glad to give you an idea of what service may cost. Estimates are free.

Otherwise, we wish you great success in getting rid of this troublesome weed from your lawn and yard.