Weeds 101: Carolina Geranium 

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Carolina Geranium top view

Carolina geranium (Geranium carolinianum), often called crane’s bill because of the shape of the fruit, is a winter annual or biennial, depending on its location. Known for its deeply dissected leaves, typically divided into five to nine toothed segments. As it matures, the basal rosette experiences stem elongation and branching. Applying a postemergence broadleaf herbicide – at preemergence timing – can reduce callbacks and minimize complaints. 

What to look for: divided leaves; whitish-pink to purple flowers  

Life cycle: winter annual or biennial  

Leaves: deeply dissected and divided into five to nine toothed segments; the densely hairy stems are erect, usually pink to red in color  

Flowers: whitish-pink to purple flowers  

Roots: shallow taproot; sometimes lower stems sprawl along the ground  

Look-alikes: various annual geraniums and common mallow  

Commonly found: sites with poor soil that are gravelly or sandy; prefers full or partial sun and dry conditions 

Treatment recommendations

Applications in fall or early spring are recommended. Apply Defendor® specialty herbicide, a postemergence product, when it’s too cold for other herbicides to be effective.  

State restrictions on the sale and use of Defendor apply. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.


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