Rustweed (Polypremum procumbens)
Rustweed or juniper leaf is a native plant that earns its name from orange coloring in the fall. It is a drought-tolerant summer annual or short-lived perennial plant. It is found throughout the southeastern United States on mostly open, disturbed sites. Rustweed is considered a ruderal species, meaning that it colonizes open ground and does not handle competition well. Research has shown that rustweed seeds can remain viable in the soil for over one hundred years, just waiting for optimal conditions.
Rustweed flowers have adapted to produce seeds without the need for cross-pollination. The seed produced is tiny and easily spread by lawn equipment. So, if this weed is a problem in your landscape, be sure to clean your lawn mower. The plant has narrow leaves and can be difficult to control with herbicides. Usually, multiple applications are required. This low, spreading plant is unaffected by mowing. The plant develops from a single taproot, so physical removal is usually the best option.
The best strategy to prevent this weed in the landscape is to use a 3-inch layer of medium to coarse bark mulch to prevent seed germination. For more information on different types of mulch, see HGIC 1604, Mulch.