Catsear is a perennial broad-leaved weed that is very common in all types of turf. It takes it name from the shape of the lobes on the edge of the leaf, which resemble a cats ear. It is also known as flat-weed or false dandelion. It can be a major nuisance in fine lawns, as it grows as a flat rosette, smothering and killing the grass beneath and it will withstand close mowing. This dandelion type weed anchors in the soil with a deep fleshy taproot and it spreads by seed.
Catsear leaves are similar to those of dandelion, in that they are lance shaped. However, where the dandelion leaves have sharp, toothed edges, catsear’s are more rounded and unlike dandelion, they are covered in hairs.
The yellow flowers can be seen between May and November. They are smaller than dandelion flowers and the tips are flat. Catsear has branched flower stems, supporting several flowers, unlike the dandelion with its solitary single flower per stem.
Catsear prefers light, free draining soils but it will grow in most conditions.
- Catsear can be removed by hand, but it is important to remove the whole root, as this weed will regenerate if any part of it remains in the ground.
- Remove the flowers before they have a chance to produce seed.
- Practice good lawn care techniques that produce a thick lawn, to prevent this and other weeds from invading
Catsear can be controlled using a selective weed killer, however more than one application may be needed for complete control of this weed.
Recommended herbicides for the control of catsear
Professional products (All operators must be trained and certificated in using and applying any Ministry Approved professional product)
- ICL Enforcer (2,4-D, Dicamba, Mecoprop-p, MCPA)
- ICL Praxys (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, Florasulam)
- ICL Esteron (2,4-D, Furosulam)
- Barclay Holster (Fluroxypyr, 2,4-D, Dicamaba)
- Headland Quickfire (Mecoprop-p, Dicamaba)
- Headland Blaster (Triclopyr, Clopyralid)
- Headland Cabadex (Flurosulam, Fluroxypyr)
- Hygrass-P (Dicamba, Mecoprop-p)
- Hysward-P (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba, MCPA)
- Bayer Longbow (MCPA, Dicamba, Mecoprop-p)
- Mascot Junction Turf (Flurosulam, 2,4-D)
- Mascot Greenor (Fluroxpyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
- Mascot Crossbar (Fluroxpyr, 2,4-D, Dicamaba)
Products available for non-professional use (These products are available from garden centres and DIY stores and do not require any training or certification for use and application.)
- Weedol Concentrate (Fluroxypyr, Clopyralid, MCPA)
- Vitax lawn Clear (Clopyralid, 2,4-D, MCPA)
- Resolva Lawn Weed Killer (Mecoprop-p, Dicamba)
Tips for successful weed control using selective herbicides
- Treat weeds when growth is strong, this is usually in May and June.
- Don’t mow the lawn 3 days prior and 3 days after the treatment, to allow for maximum uptake of the chemical.
- Spray when the leaf/foliage is dry, as this reduces runoff and allows the chemical to stick to the weed.