Weed Wednesday: Black Medic
Happy Weed Wednesday! This week we want to talk about an early summer annual weed called Black Medic. Believe it or not, this weed actually belongs to the bean or pea family. Plant historians believe that Native Americans may have roasted the seeds of this weed or grounded them into flour.
Unfortunately, most people have found that their taste is bitter. In modern-day times most homeowners know this weed as something they do not want to see in their healthy lawns.
This annual weed, that completes its life cycle in 1 year, often grows in lawns that are stressed from compaction, heat, and drought. It has also been seen along roadsides and railroads. Black Medic can be a warning sign of low soil nitrogen especially if it is outgrowing wanted grass. Though it can sometimes be confused with Clover, Black Medic has dark green teardrop shaped leaves. Once it blooms, it produces small bright yellow flowers. With deep taproots, it can form large infestations if left undisturbed. The seed pods of this weed will turn black once ripe and contain 1 single gold or brown seed. Each plant can produce thousands of seeds so it is vital to eliminate seed production with a pre-emergent treatment in the Spring and then a post-emergent in the Summer. This paired with good maintenance habits such as high mowing, proper fertilization, and reducing soil compaction can help control and eliminate this cool-season weed.
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Black Medic Map
Photo Credit: EDD Maps
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