Dichondra (Dichondra repens) is a semi-evergreen, mat-forming perennial. It is a member of the morning glory family and is native to New Zealand. Dichondra grows well in moist soils, tolerates shade, and can be used as a lawn alternative.
However, dichondra can spread and become a problem in thin, weak turf. To prevent this, start by taking the necessary steps to ensure your lawn is well maintained. First, make sure that your lawn grass is appropriate for your site conditions. There are several cultivars that vary in their shade tolerance. Ensure that you have selected the proper grass and cultivar for your site conditions. Turf grown in the shade needs to be mowed at the upper limit of its recommended range. To determine the proper mowing height for your grass, see HGIC 1205, Mowing Lawns.
Excessive moisture will also encourage the spread of dichondra. Calibrate your sprinkler system to ensure that you deliver 1 inch of water a week and set the timer to water according to your soil type. For more information on calibrating sprinkler systems and the best irrigation management practices for your landscape, see How to Set and Calibrate Your Irrigation System and HGIC 1805, Landscape Irrigation Management Part 6: Soil Type and Irrigation Frequency.
Aeration can also improve the vigor of your grass. Two-to-three-inch cores are pulled out of the soil to allow more oxygen to get to the root system, and this helps to fuel growth and manage compaction. Compacted soils hold on to more moisture and can favor the growth of weeds like dichondra. Grass species vary in their tolerance to compacted soils, and compaction could be a factor if you have a thin, weak lawn. To learn more about aeration, see HGIC 1200, Aerating Lawns.
Dichondra can be managed with multiple applications of post-emergent herbicides. For a herbicide recommendation that is appropriate for your site conditions, please contact HGIC or your local Extension office.