0 Weed of the Week - Daisy

Weed of the Week: Daisy (Bellis Perennis)

By Laurence Gale

What is a weed? By definition a weed is a plant that is growing in the wrong place. Weeds take valuable space, water, sunlight and nutrients that may otherwise be accessible to important crops, in our case turf grasses. Weeds not only compete for these resources they can disfigure and cause problems to playing surfaces.

Weeds are very good competitors and take advantage of any opportunities to colonise turf situations, particularly when the sward is under stress and weak, leaving bare soil areas for weeds to populate. Weeds have many mechanisms and characteristics that enable them to do this, having thick waxy cuticle leaves that can be resistant to some chemicals, fast reproduction methods, the ability to reseed in 6 week cycles and deep tap roots enabling the weed to survive in compacted dry ground conditions.

Weeds have one of three life cycles: annual; biennial or perennial.

  • Annual weeds: Live for a single season. These weeds germinate from seed in the spring or summer, flower and then die.
  • Biennial weeds: Live for two seasons. During the first growing season, these weeds remain in a vegetative stage and, in the following year, produce flowers, set seed and die.
  • Perennial weeds: Live for multiple seasons and flower more than once. Perennial structures (rhizomes, stolons, crowns, entire plants or roots) survive from year to year.

Some weeds may be harmful to the environment or noxious to your regional ecology. For example Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia Japonica) is fast becoming a major weed problem on road side verges and urban landscape areas, a very difficult weed to eradicate. It is very important to recognise weeds and seek effective controls methods to eradicate them from our facilities.

Weeds can also be used as an indicator of soil conditions. For example, knotweed and plantains both indicate soil compaction because they can maintain adequate root respiration at lower oxygen diffusion levels than other plants. Different weeds tolerate different soil conditions, some are alkaline loving and others acid loving. Getting to understand and recognise the physiology of these plants will help you become better turfgrass managers.

This week's weed is: Bellis perennis L (Daisy)

Scientific name


Life cycle

Bellis perennis L

Asteraceae Aster Family


Form / Appearance Daisies are low-growing perennials that are commonly seen in turf grass swards, the plant form is seen as a rosette of oval basal leaves with white or pinkish flowers. Daisies flower profusely on upright stalks throughout the season. Daisies can grow and establish in a wide variety of situations including lawns, golf-courses, playing-fields, pastures and roadside banks. Bellis_perennis_plant.jpg
Roots Daisies have strong rooting structures, comprising a tap root and rhizomes, enabling the plant to establish itself in most soil conditions.

Flowers The daisy flower has white petals and yellow centres, although flowers are sometimes a pink or rose colour. Plants have 75-100mm flower stalks. The flower stalks are generally longer than the leaves; stems are smooth and leafless and support a single flower.

The flowers close at dusk / evening, and reopen the next day.

Leaves Leaves are narrow at the base and slightly lobed, usually grouped together forming a rosette appearance. Daisies have a prostrate or spreading growing habit. Leaf texture varies and may be smooth or hairy. bellis-plant5.jpg
Reproductive method Daisies reproduce by seed and rhizomes.
Habitat Daisies thrive in moist, cool and low fertile conditions.
Miscellaneous info Daisies Bellis perennis L are also known as : European Daisies, Boneflowers, March Daisies. The common daisy is very popular with young children,. For generations children have picked the flowers to make daisy chains, especially in May when the flowers are at their best.

Daisies have also been cultivated to produce colourful spring bedding material for gardens, with a range of colours available (pink, reds and whites).

Cultural Control Daisies can be mechanically removed from lawns. Rosettes should be dug up using a knife or weed fork ensuring that all the root system is removed. Maintain a high sward density, preventing bare soil areas being available for weed seed germination. bellis_perennis1.jpg
Chemical Control Apply selective broadleaf herbicides when plant growth is active. There are a number of products available for controlling broad leaf weeds in established turf.

These chemicals are best used when the weeds are actively growing, usually between April-October.

  • Tritox (Contains 178g/L (16.2%w/w) MCPA 54.g/L(4.9%w/w) mecoprop-p and 15g/L (1.4%w/w) dicamba and potassium salts. Scotts.
  • Intrepid 2. (Contains 20.8g/L dicamba,166g/L dichlorprop-p ans 166.5g/L MCPA). Scotts.
  • Greenor. (Contains: 40g/L fluroxypyr, 20g/L clopyralid and 200g/L MCPA). Rigby Taylor.
  • Bastion T. (Contains: 72g/L fluroxypyr and 300g/L mecoprop-p ). Rigby Taylor.
  • Dormone (Contains 465g/L2,4-D(38.1%w/w) as the diethanolamine salt). A herbicide which can be used near water. Bayer Environmental Science.
  • Supertox 30 (Contains 95g/L (8.8%w/w) mecoprop-p and 93.5g/L(8.7%w/w) as the diethanolamine salts). Bayer Environmental Science.

These herbicides are usually applied as a liquid using watering cans, knapsack sprayers and vehicle mounted sprayers.

Ensure you follow manufacturer's directions, health & safety and product data sheets, and comply with COSHH regulations when using these chemicals.

Herbicides are an effective tool where high quality turf is desired. However, they must be applied with care and accuracy and in the context of a good overall turf management programme. Before using any herbicide, carefully review the label for conditions of use including rates, methods of application, and precautions. Never use a herbicide in any manner contrary to its label and be sure that the herbicide will not injure the turfgrass species.

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Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037

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