Ouch! – It’s the sound of summer in South East Queensland as the annual Bindi weed season rolls around once more and gardeners of all ages venture out to their lawns to try and beat back the notorious weed before it takes hold.

According to Gardening Australia, a bindi infestation indicates that the grass in your yard is being cut too low. But ask any gardener and they will tell you, there really is no way around bindi season.

Originally from South America, the Bindi weed produces a seed capsule protected by spines. The seed prickle is very sharp and makes it impossible to walk on a badly infested lawn in bare feet.

The weeds first emerge September in south east queensland, and continue to germinate for several months. Flowers begin to appear in spring and continue to form at the base of the leaves (axils) until early December.

Bindi is often confused with carrot weed (Cotula australis), a native plant which at first glance seems similar. However, carrot weed begins to produce flowers during the early part of winter, with pale yellow flowers on the ends of stalks. Bindi flowers much later and has no flower stalks.

What makes Bindi weeds grow?

Given half a chance, bindi will rear its ugly head in anyone’s lawn. However, there are certain conditions that will facilitate the growth of this weed:

  • compacted soil: if your soil isn’t properly aerated, your lawn will suffer… but the bindi will thrive
  • dry soil: if your soil lacks moisture your grass will die back, opening the doors to weeds such as bindi
  • acidic soil: bindi seems to be more of a problem in acidic soil, so keep a close eye on the ph levels of your dirt

Control methods include:

  • Spraying with products such as Chemspray Bin-Die or Yates Weed ‘n’ Feed, which will also kill other broadleaf weeds.
  • Removing the bindii by hand.
  • Keeping the lawn well maintained, thus providing competition for the weeds.
  • Water and fertilise regularly, and raise the mower height up a notch so that you don’t scalp the grass.