MSU Turf Weeds.net was first launched in 2004. The initial vision for this site was to help MSU turfgrass students learn the key identification characteristics of common and not-so-common turfgrass weeds found in Michigan and the midwest. The web site was initially based on a broadleaf diagnostic slide set developed at MSU. The site was designed to be intuitive and allow for quick navigation. It became apparent that many other users started using the web site. The new version of the web site (launched January 2008) incorporates many features and suggestions from students, professional turf managers and other visitors to the site.
MSUturfweeds Philosophy: Correct weed identification is the first step to proper management. The existence of weeds is often attributed or associated with specific conditions (i.e. drought, soil compaction, shade). When weeds appear in turf and landscape situatuions it is extremely helpful to become familiar with the underlying conditions so that the best corrective action can be identified. MSUturfweeds.net includes information on habitat, alternative common names (AKA), look-a-likes, management practices, where appropriate, and chemical control options.
New Features in MSUturfweeds.net 2.0
Visual Weed ID Tool: One of the main comments we received was how do we find a weed on the site when we don't know what it is. Since the original purpose for the site was to supplement classroom learning (where the students needed to learn all the weeds), we did not have a mechanism for identifying unknown weeds. We are extremely happy to include our newly developed an easy-to-use, visual weed ID tool with this version of the web site. If you are able to match the characteristics of the weed with images on the screen, then you can use the new tool. As you make choices about the characteristics, the number of possible selections will diminish. The images of the remaining weeds grow larger with each choice. If you are unsure about a given characteristic, you may skip it and move on to the next trait. You may jump to the weed biography pages at any point during the ID process. As soon as you see the likely choice, simply click on it and you will go to the biography page.
Tool Tips: Throughout the web site we have included tool tips for various features. For instance, if you hover over the name of a weed, a small image of that weed will appear. This gives you a preview image of the biography linked to that weed. When browsing the biography pages, tool tips will preview the weed traits under the tabs for habitat and ID keys. Tool tips are also used in the weed ID tool. As you make selections in the tool, future selections are limited by the remaining correct options. The tool tip will tell you how much the search would be narrowed if you selected the given charateristic. This is a great new feature!
All in the Family: It has become clear many management and control recommendations can be linked to certain weed families. When viewing the weeds by families the family names are now all linked to pages that describe general characteristics of weeds in that familiy. Each weed is listed by scientific and common name with a preview image for the biography page. Learning about family characteristics is an effective way to quickly identify weeds that you have not seen before.
Weed Flowering Prediciton: MSUturfweeds.net is linked to growing degree-day information from across the region. The database uses this information to predict which weeds are currently flowering. Many weeds go unnoticed until they flower. Relative flowering times can be used to predict which weeds are currently putting on a show in your turf. Users will be presented with a selection of currently flowering weeds during the growing sesason. This feature is only available to Michigan residents that provide a valid email address and postal code .
Chemical Control Options: This is the second most requested feature. This version now provides a tab that includes chemical control information for each weed. The information is based on results from studies primarily conducted in Ingham County, Michigan. The options provided are not necessarily comphrehensive and do not mention product names. It is incumbent on the end-user to read, understand and follow the directions on the herbicide label. Residents from states outside Michigan should contact their local or state turfgrass specialists for chemical recommendations appropriate for their location. Remember, chemical controls only provide a short-term solution to weed problem. Proper turfgrass management is the key for long-term success.