Identifying Common Lawn Weeds

Identifying Common Lawn Weeds

Sod University

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 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 lawn 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 your yard, 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, oxalis.

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

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, creeping bentgrass.

From left to right: dallisgrass and goosegrass

Treatment

You’ve probably also noticed that weeds don’t all appear at the same time. Some pop their heads up at the beginning of the growing season; others appear later in the year.  These characteristics are important to identify, as they’ll help you determine how and when to wage war on these lawn intruders. Depending on the type of weed you have, some should be attacked with pre-emergent herbicides, which control weeds before they germinate. Others should be hit with post-emergent herbicides, which control weeds when they’re growing in and becoming small plants.

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?

Want to learn more about achieving a great lawn? Check out our other Sod University tips here.

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