Meet Horseherb, the Misunderstood Weed

You’ve probably seen it, this small, nondescript forb with tiny yellow flowers and clover-like leaves. It may not look like much, but horseherb is quite the superhero when it comes to groundcover.

Horseherb is a very common native forb. Although some folks think of it as a weed, it’s practically the perfect plant. It’s drought-tolerant, low-maintenance and nearly indestructible. And it requires no watering, no mowing and no fertilizing.

You’ve probably seen it. Also known as straggler daisy, horseherb is small and nondescript with tiny yellow flowers and clover-like leaves. In severe winters and summers, it will go dormant and lose most of its leaves, and it generally prefers partial shade.

Much to the chagrin of lawn lovers, horseherb loves to invade turf, especially when it’s in the shade. What many people don’t realize is that allowing it to be there significantly reduces the maintenance and resources a typical lawn requires.

Here’s why: a traditional lawn requires weekly mowing and watering for at least 32 weeks of the year, fertilizer annually and possible application of pesticides to maintain 100 percent grass.

But leaving horseherb to thrive in the shady areas cuts mowing to only eight weeks and watering to four times monthly. And, no fertilizer or pesticides are necessary. My colleagues Calvin Finch and Jerry Parson refer to this as a more sustainable lawn.

So, are you ready to make weekly mowing and watering a thing of the past? Then say hello to horseherb and give it a permanent place in your landscape.

Picture of Mark Peterson
Mark Peterson
Mark A. Peterson was a conservation project coordinator for San Antonio Water System before retiring. With over 30 years of experience as an urban forester and arborist, Mark is probably the only person you know who actually prunes trees for fun. When not expounding on the benefits of trees and limited lawns, you're likely to find him hiking San Antonio's wilderness parks or expounding on the virtues of geography and history to his friends.
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