Your lawn is the welcome mat to your home. Everyone strives for the perfect lawn, you know, the one that makes the neighbors green with envy.
Keeping a well maintained lawn can be costly and confusing. You know the basic needs of your lawn. What height to cut your grass for maximum health. How much and when to water your lawn. And of course, the basics of fertilizing your lawn. But have you ever found yourself looking at a weed in your lawn or landscaping and wonder what it is and how do I get rid of it?
Here are 7 Common Weeds with Identification Pictures for you.
When it comes to controlling weeds in your lawn, knowing what you are trying to kill is more than half the battle. Once you know the weed you can then choose from many options to control them, sometimes if you get it early enough it won’t cost an arm and a leg to get rid of them.
There are many ways to prevent these weeds from getting established in your lawn. Good cultural practices such as not mowing your grass too short and giving your lawn the nutrients it needs throughout the year so your grass can out grow and compete with the weeds will go a long way to keeping them at levels where you won’t need to spray. And knowing how to choose and apply mulch to your landscape beds goes a long way to keep them nice and tidy.
Now let’s talk about some of the weeds you’ll commonly find and how you can control them.
Here are 7 Common Weeds.
Dandelion is probably the easiest to recognize, it’s leaves are lance-shaped with irregular and jagged edges. And there are few plants that can be identified as quickly with it’s bright yellow flowers, and their seed heads that look like puffballs. They are a perennial, which simply means, once a plant establishes it’s self in your lawn it will grow every year unless you take action to control it.
The good news is that Dandelion is fairly easy to control. If you don’t have too many you can pull them by hand by using a weeding tool made for dandelions. If they do get established in your lawn and there are just too many to pull by hand you can control them by spraying or during your fertilizing application. There are pet-safe options available as well.
Commonly found in lawns that are cut too short, Creeping Charlie is probably the hardest weed to get rid of because even a small piece left behind can regrow and make a new plant.
You can identify this groundcover weed by it’s scalloped leaves and clusters of purple flowers in late spring.
Controlling this weed is difficult, there are few options available that work. Spraying in the spring will only slow the weed down. Fall is the best time to spray, and look for a product that contains Dicamba as an active ingredient.
If it invades your garden beds you can kill it by smothering it with a thick layer of newspaper and mulch. Then pull any new growth as soon as you see it.
Also known as Wood Sorrel is another perennial plant that is becoming more common in homeowners yards. This plant is easiest to recognize when it flowers, the most common variety has bright yellow flowers but there is also a variety that has pink/lavender flowers. All varieties have cup-shape flowers with 5 petals. Oxalis also is called “lucky plant”, only because the leaves are shaped like a three-leaf clover. But don’t let your pets eat any parts of the plant because it’s poisonous if they eat enough of it.
Oxalis is one of the more difficult weeds to control so when you do use a product for control of Oxalis choose one that will control it along with another hard-to-control weed, chickweed.
Musk Thistle is a biennial plant and because of this many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that if they let a freeze in the fall kill it, it won’t come back the next year. This plant flowers during its’ second year of growth. putting out a dark purple flower.
Musk thistle can be controlled by digging the plant out of your floverbeds. I’ve found that a tiling spade works best for this job, it helps to get as much of the root as you can. Just be sure to wear heavy gloves when you dig them as the plant has needle like thorns on its’ leaves.
Broadleaf Plantain has green, oval to egg-shaped leaves that grow in a rosette. They have thick stems that meet at a base and when the stems are broken, they reveal string-like veins that resemble those in celery.
They can produce a lot of seed so they spread across your property very rapidly. They also spread from one area of your lawn to another by hitching a ride when you mow your lawn.
If you only have a few plants they are easy to dig using a shovel. Best control is done in the fall using a herbicide that is labeled for broadleaf control like 2,4-D and several others.
White clover is a creeping perennial broadleaf plant. It grows fairly low to the ground, you could even characterize it as creeping across the ground. Especially mature plants in your lawn that are in high traffic areas or have been mowed several times.
One of the easiest ways to tell clover from similar looking weeds like Oxalis is by looking for a whitish crescent in the center of the leaves.
Controlling clover is difficult and if possible you should dig them out of landscape beds. And in the lawn it will take several perfectly timed herbicide applications over the course of a couple of years to get rid of a heavy infestation. They same herbicide that you use for Oxalis works on Clover.
Wild Violet is a very resourceful and unusual plant. It can have a taproot or a fibrous root system, and also can produce rooting stolons and rhizomes. What does that mean to you the average person? It means it can grow almost anywhere.
The leaves can vary but usually are heart shaped, and the flowers range from white to blue to purple. And the flowers are shaped like pansy’s.
They can easily spread into turfgrass. You can dig these up to remove them but make sure you remove all the root or they will grow back.
Wild violet can be controlled with the same product and timing as clover.
As you can see some of the most common weeds can be the most difficult ones to get rid of, I suppose that is why they are so common. Just keep in mind that you can prevent or slow the spread of all these weeds by doing the basics.
Don’t mow your lawn too short, 3 inches is a good height for most grasses.
Fertilize your lawn correctly, at least in the spring and fall.
Water wisely, over-watering is just as bad for your lawn as under-watering.