Mind-your-own-business (soleirolia soleirolii)

By | 23/02/2017
Mind-your-own-business lawn weed

Mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii) is a very small, but troublesome perennial lawn weed. It can become very difficult to control if allowed to spread onto a lawn. It often begins to grow in a shady, damp corner and easily spreads into the grass.

The latin name soleirolia literally means “one species” and the plant also has a latin synonym Helxine soleirolii. It is also called baby’s tears, angels tears, mother-of-thousands (in the USA), irish moss (although mind-your-own-business is not a moss) and the Corsican curse. Soleirolia is a genus in the Urticaceae family of flowering plants, more commonly known as nettles.

It is very common throughout the UK and Europe, originating from the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia. Mind-your-own-business can be a very decorative plant in the garden. Inhabiting cracks and crevices at the edges of of paths, softening hard landscaping and bringing a natural feel to cottage gardens. It seeds itself easily, spreads quickly and can regenerate from small pieces of stem left in the soil (vegetative reproduction). This is why the plant can be difficult to eradicate if allowed to spread into other areas of the garden.

How to identify mind-your-own-business weed

Mind-your-own-business leaves close up

Mind-your-own-business has very small leaves.

Mind-your-own-business (MYOB) is a small ground cover weed. It only grows up to 5cm (2 inches) high, well below mowing height of a normal lawn. Its numerous dark green leaves are round and only a few millimetres in diameter. It does flower, but the flowers are tiny and the seeds are microscopic. Most often it appears as a dense mat of plants.

In the UK, it generally stays green and grows all year round. Foliage may sometimes die back in very cold winters, but quickly grows again once warm weather returns. Most sources concur that it prefers damp conditions and even grows in swamps. In South Manchester it grows in damp, shady corners.

Mind-your-own-business (Soleirolia soleirolii) infesting a lawn.

Mind-your-own-business (soleirolia soleirolii) infesting a lawn.

Control

The only way to control the weed without the use of chemicals is by hand weeding. Care must be take to remove as much as the plant as possible, as any left in the soil will grow a new plant. Re-visiting the area and clearing any re-growth will keep it in check effectively.

Mind-your-own-business is resistant to all known selective weedkillers, including those used by professional lawn care businesses. A strong total-kill weedkiller containing glyphosate can kill it, and damaging the plants by crushing or mowing will improve the effectiveness of the weedkiller. Note though that glyphosate WILL KILL GRASS AND OTHER PLANTS, so care of use is very much recommended. If a total-kill method is used, then new grass can be sown straight away. When re-seeding grass, be vigilant that MYOB is not re-sprouting in the area as the new grass is coming through.

If you have a problem with this troublesome weed in your lawn and live in the South Manchester area, get in touch and I will be happy to advise.

Further reading

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