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What will kill "star of bethlehem"

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by UTM-PIKE, Mar 14, 2003.


    UTM-PIKE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I am really puzzled by this weed! I have seen it popping up all over middle and west Tennessee have not found a way to kill it. It looks like a small version of "monkey grass" and almost looks pleasing with its dark green color and light strip down the middle, but always apears in the not so pleasing areas like a typical yard.

    I was talking with one of my turf mgmt. proffessors and they havent heard of anything that will kill it, not even round up ultra. Has anyone else had a similar problem? It is a very hardy plant with a durable, smooth outer texture.

    Anyone else with simialar problems?
  2. loser135

    loser135 LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 36

    Also in Middle TN and yet to find a cure. It seems to fade away in late spring but will be back. Might try some dynamite. (TNT)
  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Since Star of Bethlehem is similar in life cycle to wild onion, I started treating with ester formulation of 2,4-D as soon as Star of Bethlehem grew out well (usually late Mar here, just now this year). In 2 (or maybe 3) years of application, I have reduced one area, about 15 ft x 50 ft of solid star of B plants, by about 90%. Actually, appl last year was Riverdale's Cool Power, an ester of MCPA, if I remember right.

    They will not completely die down after treatment, but will yellow significantly and will not flower. It usually takes a few treatments to completely control any type of weed with bulbs or tubers as root structure.

    If they have not yet flowered for you guys in TN, I'd try an ester control right now.

    UTM-PIKE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I didnt know they flowered. I thought they just looked like a small version of ornamental grass. I talked with the head plant expert at UT Extension, Dr. Tom Samples and he told me that repetitive treatments of 2,4-D is the way to go, hence repetitive. I just got done with two 9 page papers, one on brown patch disease and the other on plant growth regulators. I will probably post them if anyone would like to take a gander. Sure put alot of time in them. Im working on the power point presentation as we speak for both of them, 15 minute speach each.
  5. NC Big Daddy

    NC Big Daddy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    I'd like to read your papers. Post them when you get a minute.
  6. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Plant gets its name from the little white flower. They spread by division and by seed. Get denser every year unless controlled, and usually do best in shady, sandy areas up here.
  7. strickdad

    strickdad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 544

    other than the light stripe it sounds like johnson grass. this is hard to control too.

    UTM-PIKE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    More durable, hearty plant than Johnson Grass with thinner leaf blades. When you pull the leaf in two, there is a stringy film in the veins. Rubbery texture.
  9. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Learn about "Star of Bethlehem" weed: http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/otgum.htm . Their leaves are hollow and very moist. When they get dense enough, mowing is like mowing peas - every pass through a the 50' bed mentioned above, the mush would have to be removed from the mower deck by bucketfuls. Sometimes twice in one pass, ugh.
  10. vegomatic40

    vegomatic40 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 6
    Messages: 406

    I've battled "Star of Beth." in middle Tn. for years and have to say that ester formulations work the best. Turflon ester applied when the temps are within the labels range can be particularly devastating to this problem. Even the lowest rate with 2,4-d gives excellent control for this and many hard-to-control broadleaves including the bane of my existence...wild garlic/onions. Control is very fast in warm weather and is superior to the premixed ester formulations in that you can adjust to rising/falling temps we get in the spring. Good luck.

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