University of Maryland Extension

Common Cinquefoil

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Common Cinquefoil (Potentilla simplex)
Common cinquefoil foliage

General description

Common cinquefoil is a perennial broadleaf weed. It reaches only 4-6 inches tall. Stems are rough and hairy. The leaves have five leaflets and the margins are toothed. Produces small yellow flowers.


Spreads by seed.


Cultural control: Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.

Mechanical control: Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.
General chemical control: (Lawns) Spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients:
2, 4-DMCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba* or Triclopyr

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Read the product label for precautions. 

Organic control 

For a glossary of herbicide terms and additional information see: control options     


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