Cinquefoil Weed Control: Tips For Controlling Cinquefoil Weeds

Cinquefoil Weed Control: Tips For Controlling Cinquefoil Weeds

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

Cinquefoil (Potentilla spp) is similar in appearance to strawberries; however, this weed isn’t as well-behaved as its domestic cousin. You can tell the difference between the two by looking at the leaves; strawberry leaves have only three leaflets, while each cinquefoil leaf displays five leaflets.

If you determine the bothersome plant is indeed cinquefoil, you have a difficult problem on your hands. Attack the unwanted visitors as soon as possible. Controlling cinquefoil weeds is easiest while the plants are young – before they get a foothold in your garden.

How to Get Rid of Cinquefoil Weeds Organically

Control of cinquefoil requires dedication, as the plant grows from long, persistent taproots. Pulling is a good solution if you don’t have a huge number of plants. Watering the area a day or two ahead makes weed pulling more effective because the weeds are easier to pull and you are more likely to get the entire taproot.

The plant will regrow if you are unable to remove every bit of the taproot. You may be able to make headway with a dandelion weeder, but if the roots are large and well-developed, it may be necessary to use a shovel or garden fork to remove every piece.

Mowing isn’t a good solution for controlling cinquefoil weeds because mowing stimulates growth of the roots and forces the plant to spread.

Cinquefoil Weed Control with Herbicides

Herbicides are always a last resort. Drift of spray herbicides can kill neighboring, untargeted plants, and as the chemicals seep into the soil, the runoff often ends up in waterways and drinking water.

If you decide to use herbicides for your cinquefoil weed killer, follow the directions carefully and use the product only for its intended purpose, as indicated on the label. Many herbicides are not safe to use in the vegetable garden or any place where edible plants are present.

Herbicides may also require several applications.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

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Natural Methods to Get Rid of Common Garden Weeds

Photo by: David Prahl / Shutterstock.

With so much controversy surrounding the use of chemical weed killers, especially those containing glyphosate, many gardeners are turning to more organic and natural weed control methods to deal with weeds — even if it means more work. If you would like to get rid of weeds without harsh chemicals, here are 10 ways to knock them out.

    NATURAL WEED KILLERS: Post-emergent herbicides target and kill growing weeds. They are available in spray forms that enter through the foliage, or granular forms that are watered into the soil and penetrate through the roots.

There are two types of post-emergent formulas:

  • Systemic formulas that absorb directly into the plant and are best on perennial weeds
  • Contact formulas that kill only the exposed part of the plant and are more useful for annuals or smaller weeds
Most organic herbicides are comprised of acetic acid, citric acid, clove and/or citrus oils, as well as other ingredients. There are others that are based on iron content, such as Iron X, that have a better effect on broadleaf weeds, such as creeping Charlie, than on grasses.
Common weed killers to try:
  • Natural Armor Weed & Grass Killer
  • Bonide Burnout All Natural Weed & Grass Killer
  • Avenger Organics Weed Killer Concentrate
  • NATURAL WEED PREVENTERS: Pre-emegent herbicides affect the weed seeds and don’t allow them to germinate, but they don’t work on existing weeds. Most natural pre-emergents are made from corn gluten meal, and it comes in granular, pellet and liquid formulas. If you’re targeting mainly annual weeds like crabgrass, henbit, chickweed, or purslane, pre-emergents can provide good weed prevention when applied at the right time of year (see Types of Common Weeds below). Read labels carefully and make sure the product you are using not only kills the specific weeds you are targeting, but is also safe for use with the type of lawn you have. Don’t use pre-emergent weed control at a time when you are sowing new grass seed or will be in the near future some pre-emergents can be effective for months.
    Common weed preventers to try:
    • Espoma Organic Weed Preventer
    • Preen Vegetable Garden Weed Preventer
    • Safer Brand Weed Prevention Plus
    Within each herbicide category (post-emergent or pre-emergent), there are selective and non-selective options. Selective treatments target specific weeds and are non-lethal to other weeds or plants. Non-selective treatments do damage to all plants they come into contact with, good and bad. When using any type of herbicide, remember that ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘safe for kids and pets.’ Treat all products carefully, read labels, and follow instructions.

    Stand-up weeding tool. Photo by: Jari Hindstroem / Shutterstock.

  • DIY WEED SPRAYS: Homemade salt, vinegar and dish soap mixtures can be effective on some weeds, but should be used sparingly. Although they may sound safe and harmless, the ingredients can be harmful to the soil. Too much salt can cause soil to become toxic to plants and the vinegar can change the soil pH. Also, beware of using vinegar if there are amphibians (frogs, toads, etc.) near, as it can be harmful.
  • DIG AND PULL: The key to success when removing weeds by hand is to get all the roots, especially with perennial weeds as they can spread and regrow from roots left behind. There are hand tools and stand-up weeders that make the job easier. Combine some sweat equity with other methods, and you’re sure to see results.

    Try these highly rated weeding tools:

    Nisaku Hori-Hori Weeding Knife

    Soil solarization method with drip lines. Photo by: AJCespedes / Shutterstock.

    • Thoroughly clear the area of plants and debris. Till to uproot weed roots, and rake to remove them and create a smooth surface.
    • Water the soil to a depth of 6 inches.
    • Cover the area tightly with clear plastic (1 to 4 mil painter’s plastic works great). Don’t use white or black plastic, as they don’t allow enough heat transmission to the soil.
    • Bury the plastic around the perimeter of the area or hold the edges down with cinder blocks or bricks.
    • Leave in place for 4 to 8 weeks in hottest part of summer.
    • Remove plastic and cover with landscape fabric before planting. Carefully cut the holes in the fabric, keeping dirt from getting on top of it.
    • Tip: This method works best on soils that hold moisture, allowing it to produce steam every day to kill the weed seeds. If you are solarizing drier or sandy soil, lay drip lines or a soaker hose under the plastic and water regularly. Keep an eye on the amount of water that beads on the underside of the plastic in the morning. When it decreases, it’s time to add water.

    Flame torch method. Photo by: Gabor Tinz / Shutterstock.

    Another way to use heat to kill weeds is with boiling water. It will kill any plant growth it touches, so be careful with nearby plants. It will also kill beneficial organisms in the soil. You may find this method to be more successful in killing broadleaf annual weeds, but not as effective in controlling perennial weeds. It is, however, quite useful for weeds growing between pavers or bricks, or in cracks in walkways or driveways. Use caution when transporting and pouring the boiling water.

    Creeping Cinquefoil

    Botanical name: Potentilla repatans


    Common cinquefoil, five finger grass, five leaf, Mary’s five fingers

    General information
    Creeping cinquefoil is a perennial plant that is a member of the rose family. It is frequently found on waste areas, bare ground, road side verges, shrub & flower borders, grassy areas and neglected lawns and turf.

    It is very rare to find it in well managed turf. This mat forming, low growing weed spreads by seed and by creeping runners that root at the nodes.

    Given favourable conditions it can rapidly colonise and area, up to 10 square meters in a growing season. Cinquefoil will grow in most soil types, but favours dry, under nourished conditions.

    Creeping Cinquefoil Identification

    • Leaves: The leaves have 5 leaflets (sometimes 7), each leaflet is narrow and sharply toothed. They are very similar to those of silverweed. However they are arranged differently on creeping cinquefoil, which makes identification between the two relatively easy.
    • Flowers: The bright yellow flowers are borne on long stalks measure between 15-25 mm in diameter. Each has 5 heart shaped petals and the flowering period is between the months of June and October.
    • Roots: Creeping cinquefoil anchors itself with deep tap roots. (See image below).

    Creeping Cinquefoil Images (click image to enlarge)

    Prevention and control of creeping cinquefoil
    Encourage healthy turf with good turf care practices to prevent this and other weeds from invading. Regular aeration, scarification and applying adequate feed with help create a thick, sward of grass that will suppress weed invasion.

    Raking this weed prior to mowing will help remove and weaken it.

    A selective weed killer can be used to control creeping cinquefoil, however a single treatment is unlikely to be enough for satisfactory control. In most instances a further application will be required. However, by keeping the turf in optimum condition should keep this weed at bay and chemicals will not be required.

    Selective weed killers recommended for the control of creeping cinquefoil

    Professional products (The user requires the appropriate certificate/s to apply these products)
    Headland Relay Turf (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
    React Ultra (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
    Everris Praxys (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, Fluosulam)
    Bayer Longbow (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
    Barclay Holster XL (2,4-D, Fluroxypyr, Dicamba)
    Mascot Greenor (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
    Mascot Junction (2,4-D, Flurosulam)
    Mascot Crossbar (2,4-D, Flurosulam, Dicamba)
    Vitax Esteem (2,4-D, Clopyralid, MCPA)

    Products available for non-professional use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores)
    Verdone extra (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
    Resolva lawn weed killer (2,4-D, Mecoprop-p, MCPA, Dicamba)
    Doff lawn spot weeder (2,4-D, Mecoprop-p, Dichlorprop-p)
    Vitax Lawn Clear (2,4-D, Clopyralid, MCPA)
    Vitax Green up weed & feed (Dicamba, MCPA)
    Weedol lawn weed killer (Clopyralid, Fluroxypyr, MCPA)
    Scotts lawn builder weed & feed (2,4-D, Dicamba)

    Weed killers can be tricky to use, because if you get them on your desirable plants, they'll kill them, too. This can happen, for example, if you're spraying weeds on a windy day and the spray drifts.

    But herbicide glyphosates are effective and work by spreading from a plant's leaves to its roots. Available as liquids, solids or ready-to-use products, they eventually break down in the soil.

    However, glyphosates work only on growing weeds they are not pre-emergents. And while they've been used in the U.S. for over 30 years, debate continues about whether they present health risks to humans. See the US. Environmental Protection Agency website for up-to-date news and additional information on using them.

    Centurion Hand Weeder

    To reduce the strain on your hands, look for a hand weeder with an ergonomic design. Its narrow tip lets you pry out weeds without disturbing other plants.

    Photo by:

    To reduce the strain on your hands, look for a hand weeder with an ergonomic design. Its narrow tip lets you pry out weeds without disturbing other plants.

    Common English Weeds

    With that in mind, here are the most common weeds you can find in your garden or lawn:

    Annual meadow grass

    This spear grass grows in clumps of narrow-bladed leaves that grow close to the ground on pathways or lawns. It’s an annual weed that reproduces via seeds, which emerge from its small, white flowers.


    A self-seeding weed, Aquilegia can get up to 15 cm tall. It has purple flowers, strong roots that will make it hard for you to pool it out and blooms quite early.


    A perennial vine, Bindweed grows in large vines, with roots that spread up to 10 metres. It’s commonly found in Europe as well as North America, and can easily be distinguished through its heart-shaped leaves and white or light pink flowers, which get to about 2.5 cm wide.

    You can control it through digging or using glyphosate herbicides.

    Birds-foot trefoil

    A perennial weed with yellow flowers similar to those of Honeysuckle, this weed is part of the Clover family. It one of the tallest weeds in the bunch, considering it can grow to knee-height easily. It can spread in gardens and lawns alike and on most soil types, though it prefers acidic and dry soils.

    The Birds-foot trefoil grows in huge patches and has a deep root system. It spreads via underground stems like rhizomes or above-the-ground stems like stolons.


    Another annual weed, the Bittercress has small, round leaves that grow in a rosette. The flowers are small and white, growing 10 cm above the ground. It spreads via explosive seeds.


    This perennial weed can get up to 2 metres and it looks fairly good. It has blue flowers, shaped like tiny bells that usually bloom in late spring or early summer.

    With evergreen basal leaves, this weed needs full sun or a partial shade to thrive. The best soils for it are moist but drained with an alkaline or neutral pHs, such as Chalk, Clay, Loam or Sandy.

    Cats Ear

    A sturdy weed with serious taproots, Cats Ear is a perennial weed with leaves that can grow up to 20 cm. Basically, it looks like a Dandelion, but without the flowers and usually grows on dry soils.


    An annual plant that’s very hardy and thrives in the cool season, Chickweed is a small, widespread weed. It thrives on moist soil and it has fine hairs that grow on one of its sides. However, this weed can be easily killed if you pull it with a table fork. You can also mulch over free areas on your lawn to stop it from spreading.


    Also known as Sticky willie or goosegrass, this weed is an annual plant with thin leaves and tiny white flowers. It reproduces via seeds, which are green and hairy.


    This weed can easily be recognised because it features blades of grass that grow in clumps. A perennial weed, it has narrow and wiry roots that are usually banded. It can be controlled by cultural or chemical means.

    Cotinus Coggygria

    This deciduous shrub is commonly seen in southern Europe, but it can also grow in the UK. It can get as tall as 4.5 metres, boasting purple flowers.

    Creeping Buttercup

    A tall weed with yellow flowers and six to nine petals, the Creeping Buttercup can get as tall as 50 cm. A low-growing weed, the Creeping Buttercup blooms from around April to late August or early September.

    Moist soils are the best environment for the Creeping Buttercup that has a creeping stem which lengthens periodically. It also boasts fibrous roots, which make it so difficult to get rid of it.

    Creeping Cinquefoil

    Another common weed in the UK, the Creeping Cinquefoil spreads on lawns and turfs alike, especially those that are poorly maintained. This isn’t a tall weed, it can only get to 2 cm in height. Its yellow flowers are visible from early summer to mid-autumn, and its leaves are made from five segments with jagged edges.

    Creeping Thistle

    This perennial weed features light purple flowers that bloom in the summer. It has spiny leaves that emerge from rosettes and deep roots. It spreads via seeds.


    A well-known perennial weed, dandelions are quite resistant thanks to their sturdy taproots. They can get as tall as 50 cm and they thrive in temperate weather. With basal leaves that form a rosette on the ground, dandelions have yellow flowers that open during the day and that turn into white fluff when they produce seeds.

    That’s why it’s a good idea to cut them before they produce seeds to prevent them from growing again. Dandelions also respond quite well to organic, oil-based herbicides.


    A very common English garden perennial and turf weed, Daisies reproduce and spread by stolons. With its round leaves and white flowers, Daisies spread close to the ground, even if the lawns are well-mowed. The blooming season starts in March and lasts all throughout September.


    This perennial weed has forked taproots that grow quite deep underground. You can recognize it thanks to its broad leaves and bluish flowers that bloom during summer. It also produces a lot of seeds, which is why it’s difficult to eradicate.

    Doves-foot cranesbill

    This annual plant can get to a size of about 30 cm. It boasts pink flowers that emerge in late spring or early summer and thrives on dry soil as well as in dry weather.

    Enchanter’s nightshade

    With pink buds from which tiny, white flowers emerge, this grassy weed can grow up to 60 cm. It spreads via its roots, which are brittle and white. The Enchanter’s nightshade is a perennial plant.

    Germander Speedwell

    A perennial turf weed, this one can grow up to 12 cm tall. It can even survive in inclement weather, but it really thrives in moist environments. You can see its blue, kidney-shaped flowers mostly in early summer.

    Green alkanet

    This perennial boasts some hairy leaves and blue flowers that bloom in clusters in early summer. It can get up to 80 cm in height and his tap roots make it quite resistant.

    Ground elder

    Also known as Bishop’s weed or Goutweed, this is a perennial weed. It has lacy flowers that bloom in summer, 45-cm stems and spring-emerging leaves.

    Herb Bennet

    With round leaf tips that form a rosette above the ground, this weed features yellow flowers that resemble those of a buttercup. It can grow up to 60 cm and reproduces by making seeds or via root fragments.

    Herb Robert

    Also known as Red Robin, this annual weed gets to a height of 30 cm. It spreads with seeds and has a strong, mouldy smell. You can identify it by its lacy leaves that form a rosette, its pink flowers and reddish stems.


    This perennial weed resembles a miniature fir tree and can grow up to 60 cm tall. It has deep roots, and it reproduces via root fragments or spores that emerge in springtime. It’s also known as Marsetail.

    Japanese knotweed

    This is a tall perennial weed that resembles a bamboo. Its flowers are whitish and tasselled, while its fleshy stems have pink shades. It’s strong thanks to its invasive roots that help it spread.

    Lesser celandine

    Also known as pilewort, this perennial weed has glossy leaves that appear in spring. Its yellow, star-shaped flowers grow as high as 5 cm above the ground. It can spread via bulbs or seeds.

    Morning Glory

    Another commonly found annual vine, Morning Glory is a weed with heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers. It grows in different sizes, from small to medium and it can be found throughout the world, in different weather and environment conditions.

    Morning Glory has flowers that bloom soon after sunrise. You can pull them out when they’re young or use an organic, oil-based herbicide when mature.

    Mouse-ear Chickweed

    This perennial weed can grow up to 20 cm in height, and its hairy dark-green leaves look like true mouse ears. It has small, white flowers that can bloom anytime between spring and autumn.

    These weeds are experts in skipping mowing sessions, so you need controlled and selective herbicides to get rid of them.


    There are two types of nettles, but both of them can be identified thanks to their green flowers and jagged leave edges. They have irritating hairs and can spread via creeping roots, as well as seeds.


    Also known as wood sorrel or shamrock, oxalis has some clover-like leaves and yellow flowers. It’s a perennial weed, with fleshy roots that spreads via bulbs, rooting stems or seeds.

    Ribwort Plantain

    This weed has long, thin leaves, which is why it’s also called Narrow Leaf Plantain. It grows all year long and gets to medium height. You can find it in both moist and dry environments, in most types of weather and reemerges fast after you removed it.

    However, it’s easy to remove this weed, albeit not comprehensively. That’s why you need selected herbicides or repeated hand weeding. Otherwise, it will quickly spread in big patches that will make your garden lose its good looks.

    Rosebay willowherb

    Also known as Fireweed, this invasive perennial looks pretty good for a weed. You can recognise it thanks to its ornamental spires from which purple flowers bloom in mid-summer. It can spread via stolons on the ground surface, as well as from seeds that grow in long pods.

    Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel isn’t just the chivalrous hero of a famous novel, but a common lawn weed with an annual growth pattern. Its life cycle starts at the beginning of summer and ends in autumn, boasting small branches that spread out quickly.

    With square stems and vibrantly-red flowers, this weed is frequently mistaken for the Common Chickweed. However, if you keep your lawn groomed well, you can deter it from spreading.


    This perennial weed boasts a wide network of rhizomes, also known as creeping runners. It can get up to 30 cm, and it infests most English lawns. It’s a weed with purple flowers that bloom from early summer to mid-autumn. You can find it in closely mown lawns.


    This perennial grass can grow quite tall, up to 1 meter in length. Its leaves look much like those of a fern, and this weed can survive in pretty tough conditions.

    There are a lot of invasive weeds, but hopefully, this article will help you identify the ones that grow in your garden or lawn.

    What weeds have you seen in your garden so far?

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    Weed Control for Asparagus

    Weed control for asparagus can be accomplished through several methods: salting, hand weeding, hoeing, tilling, weed killers, and even pre-emergent herbicides. The key to these methods is to attack the weeds during the period of dormancy between fall and spring, when asparagus is dormant, with the living “crown” sleeping 6–8 inches below the topsoil. At this time, you can go all out killing weeds and reclaim even the most overgrown asparagus bed.

    Once weeding is complete, top your asparagus bed off with a thick layer of mulch to ensure you maintain a food-producing, weed-free haven in your garden.

    Watch the video: How to Get Rid of Weeds in Ponds u0026 Lakes: Aquatic Weed Control Tips