Controlling mossy stonecrop in lawns

Mossy stonecrop, commonly called Sedum, can be a difficult weed to remove from lawns.

Sedum flowering. All photos: Kevin Frank, MSU.

Sedum flowering. All photos: Kevin Frank, MSU.

Mossy stonecrop, sometimes commonly referred to by its scientific name Sedum acre, is a small, fleshy plant often planted in ornamental beds that escapes and invades lawns. Once in lawns, it can be very difficult to control as it may out-compete desirable turfgrasses and become a serious weed.

Mossy stonecrop can form dense mats in sandy soils with low fertility. Controlling mossy stonecrop with broadleaf herbicides is very difficult due to the waxy cuticle that limits herbicide absorption. Common broadleaf herbicides such as those that contain combinations of 2,4-D, dicamba, MCPP, MCPA or triclopyr may be effective, but will most likely require multiple applications. Using a surfactant (spreader/sticker agents) aids the herbicide in overcoming the waxy cuticle and will vastly improve the efficacy of herbicide applications.

In lieu of using a surfactant, trampling mossy stonecrop to break down the cuticle prior to making a herbicide application may improve control. A non-selective herbicide can also be used, but keep in mind it will also kill the turf.

  • Mossy stonecrop: (Sedum acre)
  • Family: Crassulaceae (Orpine)
  • Life cycle: Low-growing, spreading perennial.
  • Leaves: Thick, succulent, pointed leaves are egg-shaped to round in cross-section. The small, waxy, alternate leaves are generally light green in color.
  • Stems: Matted stems contain densely overlapping leaves.
  • Flowers and fruit: Bright yellow, five-petalled flowers form in June and July. Seeds are produced in pointed seedpods.
  • Reproduction: Seeds, creeping horizontal stems and stem fragments.

Sedum following a non-selective herbicide application

Sedum in an ornamental bed following a non-selective herbicide application.

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