NC State Extension Publications


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Cutleaf evening-primrose (Oenothera laciniata) is a herbaceous weed that can grow to 28 inches tall. Often, the plant is upright, but the stems also recline and creep along the ground. The leaves are alternate, and toothed and lobed. The flowers are striking, and are yellow but sometimes have pink tinges to them. The flowers first appear in late spring and continue into early fall. Also unique is the elongated and curved seed pod located on the stems of the plant. Cutleaf evening primrose is found in fields, fencerows and waste areas, and is classified as a biennial, winter annual and sometimes a summer annual.

Cultural Control

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Proper turf management is important for biennial broadleaf weed control. Maintain a dense, actively growing turf through proper mowing, fertilizing, and watering practices. Mow at the proper height for your selected adapted turfgrass. Coring and traffic control reduce compaction and encourage desirable turfgrass competition. It is best to control this biennial broadleaf weed in spring or fall, if actively growing at these times.

Chemical Control

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Herbicide and Formulation Amount of Formulation per 1,000 sq ft Amount of Formulation per Acre Pounds Active Ingredient per Acre
Preemergence and Postemergence Control
mesotrione, MOA 27 (4 SC) (Tenacity) 0.092 to 0.183 fl oz 4 to 8 fl oz 0.125 to 0.25
Precaution and Remarks: Use on residential turf, golf courses (not greens) and sod farms for pre- and postemergence weed control. Tolerant turfgrasses include St. Augustinegrass, centipedegrass, tall fescue, fine fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass. Add a nonionic surfactant and repeat application after 2 to 3 weeks for improved postemergence control. Tank mix with prodiamine 65 WG for extended preemergence grassy weed control. Can be applied at seeding to all tolerant grasses except fine fescue. After turf germination, wait 4 weeks or until turf has been mowed twice before making a postemergence application. Also controls henbit, chickweed, dandelion, white clover, Florida betony, Florida pusley, ground ivy, oxalis, wild violet, creeping bentgrass, and yellow nutsedge.​
[sulfentrazone + prodiamine], MOA 14 + 3 (4 SC) (Echleon) 0.184 to 0.826 fl oz 0.5 to 2.25 pt 0.25 to 1.125
Precaution and Remarks: For use in residential and institutional lawns, athletic fields, sod farms, golf course fairways and roughs, roadsides, utility right-of-ways, railways, and industrial areas. Apply to turf following a second mowing if a good root system has been established. Apply up to 12 fluid ounces per acre to bentgrass at 0.5 inch or higher, fine fescue, and perennial ryegrass. Apply 18 to 24 fluid ounces per acre to perennial bluegrass, tall fescue, and all warm season grasses except St. Augustinegrass (do not apply) and bermudagrass (apply 18 to 36 fluid ounces per acre). For sod production, apply 6 months after establishment, and do not harvest within 3 months. Do not apply with adjuvants or surfactants. [Sulfentrazone + prodiamine should not be applied to cool-season turf with N-containing fertilizers unless some short-term discoloration is tolerable.​
pyraflufen ethyl, MOA 14 (0.177 SC) (Octane 2% SC) 0.016 to 0.092 fl oz 0.7 to 4 fl oz 0.000938 to 0.0055
Precaution and Remarks: Used in established sod farm and ornamental turf by commercial applicators and professional landscapers only. Turf can be newly seeded, sodded, or sprigged as long as it is established and not under stress. Tolerant turfgrasses include bermudagrass, centipedegrass, St. Augustinegrass, zoysiagrass, tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, perennial bluegrass, and creeping bentgrass (not greens or tees). Apply 1 to 4 fluid ounces alone to 3- to 6-inch tall weeds. For larger weeds and broader spectrum control, apply 0.75 to 1.5 fluid ounces and tank mix with 2,4-D, mecoprop, dicamba, chloroprop, MCPA, triclopyr, or fluroxypyr.​

Species Data

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    • winter annual weed or biennial weed
    • one
    • upper / lower surface
    • linear / oblong / oval / egg-shaped / elliptical
      Figure 8
    • pinnate
    • alternate; whorled or basal rosette
    • taproot; fibrous
Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 1. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 2. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 3. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 4. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 5. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Figure 6. Cutleaf evening-primrose growth habit.

Cutleaf evening-primrose leaf margin.

Figure 7. Cutleaf evening-primrose leaf margin.

Cutleaf evening-primrose leaflet shape.

Figure 8. Cutleaf evening-primrose leaflet shape.


Extension Specialist (Turfgrass/Forage Crop Weed Mgt)
Crop & Soil Sciences

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Publication date: Nov. 21, 2017

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