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Mulberry Weed: Identification and Control

Mark Czarnota, Ph.D., Ornamental Weed Control Specialist (
Department of Horticulture, 1109 Experiment Street
Griffin, GA 30223

Mulberry weed (Fatoua villosa) (Figures 1 and 2), gives both crop growers and Extension agents in Georgia a lot of problems. Also called crabweed or hairy crabweed, it invades landscapes, field nurseries and containerized ornamentals. It has been reported in Arkansas, and in all states east of the Mississippi, from Florida to Indiana.

Plant Characteristics

Mulberry weed is an herbaceous annual with a taproot. Leaves are alternate and serrated along the margins. Purplish-green flowers are without petals, and are produced in 1-inch clusters (cymes) in leaf axils. The plant grows to 3 or 4 feet tall.

Control Measures

Mulberry weed seeds are small. Maintaining a 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch will help smother germinating seeds. Both pre- and postemergence herbicides are also very effective at controlling mulberry weed. The following non-selective postemergence herbicides can provide good control of mulberry weed:

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