Identifying Common Lawn Weeds

Identifying Common Lawn Weeds

Identifying Common Lawn Weeds

It has been said that “a weed is a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.” This is a nice utopian view, but to anyone who’s serious about a good-looking lawn, a weed has no virtues. The definition of a weed basically comes down to any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to. This encompasses any and all types of plants. For example, bermudagrass is a specific type of lawn grass when it grows where it’s supposed to. However, if you have a zoysiagrass lawn and there’s bermudagrass creeping into it, then the bermudagrass is considered a weed.

Weeds are a part of life. No lawn is ever going to be completely weed-free at any given time. With that being said, if you know what type of grass weeds you’re dealing with, it is much easier to keep them under control and as a result, make your lawn look virtually weed-free. This week, Sod U discusses common types of weeds, where they grow and how to identify them so that you can know how to best get rid of them.

Broadleaf Weeds vs. Grassy Weeds

After spending a little time looking at the weeds in grass, you’ve probably noticed a couple of things about them. First, they don’t look alike—there are weeds with fleshy leaves and weeds that look like grass. There are weeds that grow upright and weeds that sprawl.

Broadleaf Weeds

Weeds come in two basic categories: broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. Broadleaf weeds are made up of dandelions, plantain, clover, oxalis, spurge and so on. They have wide leaves with large veins, and some have flashy flowers. If you live in the northern U.S., you are likely familiar with all of them. In the southern U.S., clover, wild garlic, wild onion, spurge and plantain are the most common broadleaf invaders. As for dandelions—it seems like they can take up root just about anywhere.

From left to right: plantain, clover and oxalis.

From left to right: spurge, wild garlic and wild onion.

Post-Emergent Herbicides for Broadleaf Weeds

Effective broadleaf herbicides include the active ingredients 2,4-D, MCPP, MCPA, dicamba, triclopyr and others. The most effective broadleaf herbicide products contain a mixture of two or three herbicides. Broadleaf herbicides can be applied as liquids or granules. Read product labels thoroughly before application.

Product Comparisons

SpeedZone Broadleaf Herbicide for Turf

$86.95
SpeedZone Southern Herbicide

Application Rate: 0.75–1.8 fl. oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s): 2,4-D, 2-ethylhexyl ester 28.57%, Carfentrazone-ethyl 0.62%, Dicamba 1.71% and Mecoprop-P 5.88%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Broadleaf control in established grasses. Product demonstrates superior cool season performance.

SpeedZone Southern Herbicide

$86.95

Application Rate: 0.75–1.8 fl. oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s): 2, 4-D, 2-ethylhexyl ester 10.49%, Mecoprop-p acid 2.66%, Dicamba acid 0.67%, Carfentrazone-ethyl 0.54%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Broadleaf control in established grasses.

 

Q4 Plus

$45.95–$299.95
Q4 Plus 1 Quart

Application Rate: 1.8–3 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s):  Quinclorac 8.43%, Sulfentrazone 0.69%, 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt 11.81%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 1.49%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Established warm and cool season turfgrasses.

Grassy Weeds

Grassy Weeds consist of crabgrass, quackgrass, creeping bentgrass, dallisgrass, goosegrass and so on.  In the northern parts of the U.S., you’ll find a lot of crabgrass, quackgrass, and creeping bentgrass. In the southern U.S., you’re probably familiar with the last two: dallisgrass and goosegrass. However, crabgrass, quackgrass and creeping bentgrass are definitely capable of invading warm season lawns as well.

From left to right: crabgrass, quackgrass and creeping bentgrass.

From left to right: dallisgrass and goosegrass

Post-Emergent Herbicides for Grassy Weeds

Effective grassy weed herbicides include the active ingredients 2,4-D, quinclorac, sulfentrazone, dicamba or fluazifop-P-butyl. Take a look at the product labels to see if the herbicide targets the specific weed issue you are experiencing. Read product labels thoroughly before application.

Product Comparisons

Q4 Plus

$49.95–$299.95
Q4 Plus 1 Quart

Application Rate: 1.8–3 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s):  Quinclorac 8.43%, Sulfentrazone 0.69%, 2,4-D, dimethylamine salt 11.81%, Dicamba, dimethylamine salt 1.49%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Established warm and cool season turfgrasses.

Quinclorac 75 DF

$44.95
Quinclorac 75 DF

Application Rate: Apply 0.367 oz. of Quinclorac per 1,000 sq. f.t.

Active Ingredient(s):  Quinclorac 75%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Broadcast and spot treatment applications on certain warm and cool season grasses.

Fusilade II

$78.95
Fusilade II

Application Rate: 0.4–0.6 fl. oz. per 1–2 gallons of water/ 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s):  Fluazifop-P-butyl 24.5%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Warm and cool season turfgrasses.

Pre-Emergent Herbicide Suggestions

Pre-emergent herbicides differ from post-emergent herbicides because pre-emergents, as its name suggests, control weeds before they appear. These are handy herbicide to use for those weeds you seem to see year after year. A helpful tip is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring and fall. Read more about pre-emergents in our Sod University blog called Spring Weed Control: The Effective Use of a Pre-Emergent Herbicide. Read product labels thoroughly before application.

Product Comparisons

Surflan AS Pre-Emergent

$32.95
Surflan AS

Application Rate: 1.5–3 fl. oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s): Oryzalin 40.4%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with a sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Established warm season turfgrass before weeds appear.

Prodiamine 65 WDG Pre-Emergent

$66.95
Prodiamine 65 WDG

Application Rate: 0.37 – 0.83 oz./1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s): Prodiamine 65%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with a sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Established turfgrass before weeds appear.

Dimension 2EW Pre-Emergent

$149.95–$639.95
Dimension 2EW Half Gallon

Application Rate: 0.28–0.73 oz. per 1,000 sq. ft.

Active Ingredient(s): Dithiopyr 24%.

Ease of Use: Requires tank mixing and application with a sprayer.

Best Used On/For: Established turfgrass before broadleaf weeds appear.

It should be noted that St. Augustine and centipede lawns are sensitive to herbicides with 2,4-D. If you have a St. Augustine or centipede lawn, be sure to check out herbicides with the active ingredient atrazine such as Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns for St. Augustine & Centipede or Southern Ag Atrazine.

A weed-free lawn will give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and it is not as hard as you might imagine. However, it is important to know what type of weed you are dealing with in order to efficiently rid your lawn of it without spending unnecessary money. If you are able to identify which type of weed resides in your lawn, you’ll be able to make the smarter choice in selecting an herbicide product.

To learn about maintaining a healthy lawn, choking out weeds, and recommended weed control products, check out our blog post on  Weed Control. For information on the specific nutrients your lawn needs, read Are Micronutrients Missing From Your Lawn Care Program?

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