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Common Groundsel: Senecio vulgaris

Common groundsel is an early season weed. Common groundsel.a prolific seed producer. Seeds are produced within several weeks of germination, and there are several generations within the same year. This weed likes moist soil and is often found in well-irrigated areas such as lawns and flower beds.

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'Puffball' seedheads

Small yellow flowers occur in cluster at the ends of stems

Deeply lobed leaves

Green bracts have conspicuous black tips

A taproot and a fibrous root system


A dense, healthy turf will prevent seeds from taking root in the lawn. Turf density can be increased with proper mowing, fertilization, watering and other cultural practices. For more information, see CSU Fact Sheet 7.202, Lawn Care.Good drainage will also help to discourage the growth of common groundsel. The plants can be easily pulled by hand from moist soil. Be sure to pull and dispose of them before they set seed, as seed can mature in opened flowers even after the plants have been killed. .

If there is heavy infestation, spot treat with a post-emergent herbicide containing glyphosate (Roundup, Kleenup).

Photographs courtesy of Judy Sedbrook.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010