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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 weed. 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.

Whether you call it chamberbitter weed 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.


How To Get Rid of Chamberbitter: Solutions 4 Step Process

Step One: Identification. Before proceeding with a plan of chemical control and removal, it's important to have confirmation that the  type of weed you have is actually chamberbitter and is not confused with a different invasive weed. Proper identification of the weed you are encountering on your lawn will help you to understand what the weeds tendencies and characteristics are and can also point you in the right direction of which products can best treat that particular weed. 


Chamberbitter looks very similar to the leaves of a mimosa tree and is a member of the spurge family. It goes to seed when it is only about an inch tall and the seeds are actually little balls which develop on the underside of the leaves. It is a slender shrub with alternate leaves which are oblong to almost linear. The stems often branch and can be reddish colored. When they have matured, chamberbitter can develop a deep tap root which makes this weed particularly difficult to completely remove without the help of chemicals.

If you are unsure whether you have chickweed or not, simply shoot an email over to identification@solutionsstores.com and send us a photo of your weed and we will identify it for you and suggest treatment options.

 

Step Two: Inspection. Once the plant has been properly Identified, you can then move to the inspection process. Chamberbitter is a warm-season broadleaf annual and usually springs up around May or June when the soil temperatures have warmed to approximately 70oF.  It spreads by seeds that are located on the bottom side of the branch.  Ornamental beds and turfgrass are the two most common places to find Chamberbitter. When mowing this plant, it's seeds can explode and spread everywhere over a large area. If you were able to find chamberbitter and break the stem, a milky white sap would ooze out from the stem, much like other spurge species.

 

Step Three: Control. Chamberbitter is a difficult plant to control for various reasons. It grows quickly, can tolerate drought and manual methods of control are not effective because of the seeds which explode spread around everywhere and the extensive taproot which makes handpulling a largely useless option because they will just pop up again before long. The best option to take with this weed is chemical herbicides. We recommend using a pre-emergent , but this can be tricky because chamberbitter germinates later in the spring than most summer annual weeds so timing would have to be perfect to achieve pre-emergent control.

 

Post-emergently some herbicides which work well to control chamberbitter is the active ingredient atrazine or a three way herbicide which contains 2,4-D or dicamba. Since chamberbitter is such a stubborn weed, a combination of both herbicide options may be necessary to ensure total control.  Multiple repeated applications may be necessary spaced between 7 to 10 days apart to see if a difference has been made against this pesky invader.

 

Step Four: Prevention. Chamberbitter requires a combination of mechanical, cultural and chemical methods to get rid of the weed and keep it away. Make sure you keep a good schedule with mowing, watering and feeding your turf so it is healthy and nutrient rich, making it better equipped to choke out any invasive weeds that want to establish themselves. Pre-emergent applications in the spring can help to keep chamberbitter from making a return and also mulching can help. As long as you are persistent in your efforts to keep chamberbitter from coming back.

 

Have Some Grassy Weeds You Want Gone? View Our Grassy Weed Control Section

 

Learn More About The Chamberbitter Weed

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) is also known as gripe weed (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. In the Latin world, the plant is called "niruri" which mean "break stone" in Spanish. It is also called gripe weed (perhaps because people gripe about it a lot when it plagues a landscape) and "mimosa weed" because of its close resemblance to the mimosa tree.

 

Chamberbitter needs hot weather and sunlight to germinate. That’s why you don’t see it around until the end of May or in early June. Once it gets started it quickly makes up for lost time, spreading like wildfire. By the end of summer, chamberbitter can literally become a ground cover in shrub beds. And even though it has an upright growth habit, your lawn mower won’t kill it. This weed just adapts to the mowing height and keeps on spreading.


Along with its adaptability, its rampant seed production in the yellow, ball-like capsules on the underside of the leaves makes it a problem. So unless you’re planning on trying to get rid of your kidney stones with a home remedy from South America, this plant doesn’t have much value.


Have A Lawn Issue That Isn’t Chamberbitter ? Check out Our Lawn Care Main Category!


Chamberbitter Control Options

Chamberbitter weed 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.


Better Safe Than Sorry: Equip Yourself With Protective Safety Equipment Before Spraying


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 chamberbitter weed 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.


Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment For The Job. SHOP For Sprayers and Other Lawn Care Essentials


Additional Resources on Chamberbitter:

Chamberbitter: Invasive and Difficult to Control - LSU AgCenter

 

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