The Rockdale Gardener

Gardening Posts From Rockdale Cooperative Extension

American Burnweed aka Fireweed

fireweed seed

Fireweed produces white fluffy seeds. image courtesy of

I have gotten several calls concerning fireweed. This broad leaf weed pops up in April of years with a wet spring season like the one just past.
The plant produces fluffy white seeds that can float for miles. They settle into turf areas and root in the thatch layer.

Since it is shallow rooted you can pull the plant up easily. You can mow it a few times to kill it as well. Since it is a short lived annual it will die later in the summer.
Herbicide treatments recommended in the University of Georgia Pest Control Handbook consist of chemicals containing 2,4-D, Dicamba, & MCPP. Examples of products with these active ingredients mixed include:

  • Bayer Advanced Southern Lawn weed Killer
  • Spectracide Weed Stop Weed Killer for Lawns
  • Ferti-Lome Weed-Out Weed Killer with Trimec
  • Ortho Weed-B-Gon Max for Southern Lawns

ALWAYS READ LABEL INSTRUCTIONS THOROUGHLY!!! These herbicides are recommended


Fireweed is a tall annual weed. Photo courtesy of

for bermudagrass and zoysiagrass but avoid using them on centipede and St. Augustine grass.
From what I have read preemergent herbicides do work well on this weed since the plant roots high in the thatch layer above premergent herbicide treatments.

***When using pesticides, observe all directions, restrictions, and precautions on the pesticide label.  It is dangerous, wasteful, and illegal to do otherwise.  Store all pesticides in their original containers with labels intact and behind locked doors.  Keep pesticides out of the reach of children.

Trade and brand names are for information only.  The Cooperative Extension, The University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, does not warrant the standard of any products mentioned; neither does it imply approval of any product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.

For a chemical poisoning call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222