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What Is This Weed Under My Cotoneaster and How Do I Get Rid Of It?



Ask the Expert: killing weed without killing cotoneaster
What is this weed growing under my cotoneaster shrubs, and how can I kill the weeds without killing the cotoneaster?  I have Trimec Plus for post emerge grass weeds, but would that be safe to spray on the cotoneaster to get at the weeds underneath? Rex

Plant Expert Reply:

What you have is called vetch. It is a weed that we find often in lawns, but will also present itself in shrub beds. Trimec Plus is a product for lawn/turf application only. I would not recommend spraying it on your cotoneaster since it is a “broadleaf” killer. Cotoneaster is considered a broad leaf and therefore Trimec would damage the Cotoneaster. Instead I would wick it with a contact killer like Roundup or Hi Yield Killzall.

The method of wicking involves applying the chemical only to the plant you want to kill. You can surround your cotoneaster with a piece of cardboard and then spray the weed. Or you can take a piece of absorbent material and dip in chemical and then touch the weed.

I usually pull this weed and apply a pre-emerge granule to the soil to keep it from coming up again. I use a product called American weed and grass stopper about twice a year in my beds.

You can get all of the products I mentioned at your local garden center and nursery.

This Flower Shop Network weed identification was brought to you by Houston Florists


  1. james bledge says:

    hi there, i was wondering if you could help me. i have loads of cotoneaster and it is infested with grass. its only been planted this summer and i was wondering if you know of any chemicals i could spray to avoid handweeding! its a massive problem!,

    regards, James Bledge

  2. You can use a grassicide which is a chemical that only kills grasses. The one we sell at our garden center is called Hi Yield Grass killer. This product will kill the grass but will not harm the cotoneaster.

  3. alan bush says:

    what is a weed? lawns with other the green grass are the best. blooming weeds can be very interesting . why remove all the fun.

  4. Rich White says:

    I have the weed Vetch popping up all over the lawn in in the flower beds and ivy.
    There is way too much to pull out. What can I use to kill it without killing grass and flowers and shrubs?
    Thank you.

  5. Rich,

    You can use trimec to kill the weed in the lawn and not hurt the grass. However, this chemical will not work in the flower bed or the ivy because it would also kill the plants you want to keep.

  6. Deb Stephens says:

    This weed is invading my lawn. It has completely taken over my neighbor’s lawn, and is now coming over into my lawn. It starts as a vine, and if I can catch it as it goes under the fence, I can actually pull it out as a vine, but once it’s over into my lawn, it actually sets itself in as an invader and takes over the lawn. Weed and Feed applications does not kill it. Round up does, but then I would have no lawn. Since it has established itself right into the lawn, I can not just apply it to this weed and not the grass. Please help me identify it, as well as naming a weed killer that will kill this invader, but not my lawn.

  7. Deb,

    Looks like you have may have Ground Ivy or ‘Creeping Charlie’. If so, it is very resistant to herbicides, but you can kill it with anything that contains triclopyr. For best results, apply in the fall and again in the spring after the first flowering. It’s a very stubborn weed so good luck!



  8. J. Hebbel says:

    My property is completely cut off from anyone else’s and backs up to woods. I am allowing creeping Charlie to overtake lawn areas rather than use herbicides. I’ve learned to appreciate its fast-growing, low matting coverage and it’s light green color. After learning that bees are disturbed by lawn cutting, I found another good reason to let Charlie roam.

  9. J. Hebbel says:

    P.S. Creeping Charlie is a snap to pull out of my cotoneasters

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