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No More Griping: Chamberbitter Weed Control

Pesky invasive weeds give lawn owners and landscapers a lot to gripe about but there is one particular weed that is such a toughie to get rid of that it is actually known as gripe weed. This plant is none other than chamberbitter. Chamberbitter isn’t one of your common weeds that you think of when weeds come to mind but with the complaints and calls we’ve been receiving about this plant lately, they seem to be everywhere. These plants can give yard owners fits but there is a way to control them and we will explain how.

Chamberbitter Background Information

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is also known as gripeweed (as mentioned above) and by other names like leafflower or little mimosa due to it’s resemblance to the mimosa tree. It is a warm-season, annual, broadleaf weed which sprouts up from warm soils during the early summer. It reproduces by seedlings  found in the green, wart-looking fruit attached to the underside of the branch. Chamberbitter grows upright and possesses a well developed taproot. The leaves are arranged in two rows on the branchlets and are thin and oblong, with smooth margins, resembling a mimosa seed.

Chamberbitter is a tropical plant meaning it can thrive in hot weather and drought conditions. It is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and has the sticky, milky sap much like spurge. The fact that chamberbitter is drought tolerant and can produce a large amount of seeds makes it such a difficult to control weed.

It is believed that the weed orig­inated in tropical Asia, but it has become a major lawn pest across the southeastern United States from Virginia to Texas. Interestingly, in South America and Asia it is commonly used as an herbal remedy for kidney stones.

Chamberbitter Control Options

Best Pre-emergent to Use:

Chamberbitter is a very stubborn weed so usually the best way to control it is to prevent them before they spring up with a pre-emergent. Isoxaben has proven to be the most effective type of pre-emergent to treat this weed. With chamberbitter being a tropical plant, it starts germinating as temperatures warm in the springtime, usually late April, so apply preemergence herbicides accord­ingly.Apply isoxaben pre-emergent herbicide in late April and again in mid-June to areas where you will not be planting seeds. Isoxaben comes is purchased in a granular form, and the granules must be watered-in to allow the isoxaben to coat the soil surface for weed prevention.

Timing and persistence is important when dealing with chamberbitter because otherwise your efforts will not stop chamberbitter from repeatedly creeping up. Along with pre-emergent, it will help to put down a good thick mulch to help suppress chamberbitter from emerging.

Best Post-emergent to use:

If chamberbitter have already grown on your lawn, it’d be time to move to post-emergents. Unfortunately, given how persistent and pesky chamberbitter is, there is no one and done solution to take care of the weed so keep in mind that repeat application may have to take place in order to fully kill the invaders. We recommend two options: 2,4-D Amine Selective Herbicide and Glyphosate. With repeated applications, these have done the best job with chamberbitter.

2 4-D Amine is selective meaning it will be harmful to the plant you are targeting while providing little to no effect to desirable plants surrounding the weed. Glyphosate on the other hand is non-selective so it should be used in a very careful spot treatment manner to avoid the risk of damaging other plants you want on your lawn.

Chamberbitter Control Tips and Recommendations

  • When using post-emergents, apply these herbicides in late spring or early summer when the weeds are still young and space applications seven days apart. The earlier you take measures to control this weed, while the weeds are young, the better success you'll have.

  • Chamberbitter is known for producing an exorbitant amount of seeds. it is extremely important to not allow emerged plants to produce seed and add more seed to the soil weed seed bank.You might choose to pull the gripeweeds by hand, but if you do so, do not shake the soil from the roots, since shaking the plant can spread the seeds!

  • Always read the pesticide label and follow its directions exactly. Be sure to observe all precautions listed on the label. Mix pesticides at the rate recommended and never use more than the label says.

  • Wear proper protective equipment when handling pesticides. We recommend gloves, goggles, long sleeves and jeans to be worn.

Whether you call it chamberbitter or call it gripeweed, if you follow this guide when carrying out your herbicide application, you won’t have much to gripe about because these weeds will be gone!

For more information on controlling chamberbitter on your lawn and to get advice catered to your unique issue from experts, contact us at askapro@solutionsstores.com or call our customer service line at (800) 479-6583.

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