Identifying the Weeds That Could Destroy Your Lawn

 

Have you ever walked outside and noticed an unfamiliar-looking plant in your yard? 

It can be a challenge identifying more obscure weeds, but you must know what you’re dealing with to proceed with appropriate treatment. Weeds can take over a lawn, stealing vital nutrients from your grass and being an eye-sore. A doctor will offer you a diagnosis before recommending treatment — think of weeds as the same. Once you’ve diagnosed your weed problem, you can start giving your lawn the right medicine. 

Let’s look at some of the most common weeds we get over here in the States. Get clued up with lawn weed identification and be one step closer to a Golf Course Lawn. 

Types of Weeds in Lawns

Have you got a bare patch in your garden? Weeds are opportunists. They’ll pop up where your grass is weak or damaged. Some weeds can be removed by hand, and others are more persistent. Stubborn weeds will become increasingly difficult to remove as they grow back — the longer you leave them, the more they can establish themselves and spread further. 

All plants usually fall into three categories. Weeds included. They can be classified as either annuals, perennials, or biennials:

  • Annuals — These grow for one year before dying. Annuals produce seeds that germinate into new plants, producing more plants the next year. 

    Examples of annual weeds: Chickweed, Crabgrass, Knotweed.
  • Perennials — More difficult to control, perennials live for at least two years — sometimes many more. Their root systems are incredibly robust, meaning they can re-grow from the same root system repeatedly. 

    Examples of perennial weeds: Bindweed, Dandelion, Ivy, Japanese Knotweed
  • Biennials — Usually living for two years, biennial seeds grow without flowers in the first year. In the second year, they flower and produce seeds. 

    Examples of biennial weeds: Evening Primrose, Burdock, Common Mullein

Knowing about the weed’s life cycle can help you choose which weed killer or treatment method is the best to use. Now, we can move on to identifying individual weeds so you can get back on track to achieving a green, vibrant lawn. 

Common Lawn Weeds 

Weeds can make your yard look messy and take over from plants you’ve worked hard to grow and establish. Use this convenient guide to identify lawn or garden weeds and get tips on the best ways to remove them. 

Dandelions

weed on driveway

 

Type of Weed Broadleaf perennial
Preferred Conditions Grass, porches, gardens in both sunny and shady areas.
Appearance Dandelions may look pretty, but they’re hard to remove. This is because they have a long, deep taproot. Bright, yellow flowers mature into dandelion clocks or blowballs. The seeds are easily dispersed in the wind — taking root in new areas.
Weed Control Tip

Use mulch to prevent dandelions from appearing in the first place. A more effective method is by using the post-emergent herbicide Celsius WG. It controls over 150 varieties of weeds, specializing in broadleaf control. When used as directed, it won’t kill your grass.

 

Crabgrass

crabgrass

 

Type of Weed Grassy annual
Preferred Conditions Lawns, grassy areas in gardens in the sun or shade.
Appearance No prizes for this one. Crabgrass is a kind of grassy weed. It can be a bit harder to spot because it looks like grass. But, Crabgrass grass blades are slightly thicker and form clusters. This lawn weed is particularly prolific as it grows roots anywhere the stem makes contact with the soil.
Weed Control Tip

You can pull Crabgrass up by hand or spot-treat it with a non-selective herbicide if it’s growing in the cracks in your sidewalk — or isn’t around any other grass. For Crabgrass, we recommend Mesotrione MESO 4SC Select. It’s a unique herbicide that’s both a pre-emergent and a post-emergent. This means it can be used as a preventative measure against Crabgrass and also kill it in adult form. It also won’t kill your grass by actively targeting over 45 broadleaf weed species.

 

Bindweed

bindweed

 

Type of Weed Broadleaf perennial
Preferred Conditions Sunny garden and landscape areas.
Appearance Bindweed is known for its arrowhead-shaped leaves, which grow on vines. This weed is easy to identify from its white and pale pink flowers. These flowers look very similar to the flowers of the Morning Glory plant.
Weed Control Tip

For Bindweed, make sure you pull up or cut down adult plants repeatedly. One of the best herbicides is Triad Select 3-Way, which uses a combination of three selective herbicides to effectively target broadleaf weeds. It’s also highly potent against Dandelions.

 

White Clover

white clover

 

Type of Weed Broadleaf perennial
Preferred Conditions Grass, porches, gardens in both sunny and shady areas.
Appearance Dandelions may look pretty, but they’re hard to remove. This is because they have a long, deep taproot. Bright, yellow flowers mature into dandelion clocks or blowballs. The seeds are easily dispersed in the wind — taking root in new areas.
Weed Control Tip

Use mulch to prevent dandelions from appearing in the first place. A more effective method is by using the post-emergent herbicide Celsius WG. It controls over 150 varieties of weeds, specializing in broadleaf control. When used as directed, it won’t kill your grass.

 

Nutsedge

nutsedge

 

Type of Weed Grassy perennial
Preferred Conditions Lawns or gardens in either sun or shade.
Appearance Nutsedge has tall, slender grassy leaves with triangular stems. Their flowers look like little sheaves of corn, and they grow faster than most turf grasses. This makes them easier to spot.
Weed Control Tip

Nutsedge can be hand-pulled from the soil, but repeated weeding is required to eliminate infestation. We recommend using HALO Select herbicide. This post-emergent weed killer tackles Nutsedge effectively and won’t kill grass, ornamental plants, or shrubs.

 

 

Chickweed

chickweed

 

Type of Weed Broadleaf annual
Preferred Conditions Enjoys rich and moist soil in lawns and gardens in sun or shade.
Appearance You can identify Chickweed by its small round leaves spread out in thick green mats. Their flowers are small, white, and star-like in shape.
Weed Control Tip

To target Chickweed, try a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring. Go for Dithiopyr 172%, which has added fertilizer for the ultimate weed and feed product. Great for Chickweed, Crabgrass, and other annual weeds — this formulation won’t kill your grass.

 

Knotweed

knotweed

 

Type of Weed Broadleaf annual
Preferred Conditions Sunny or part-shaded lawns or gardens.
Appearance Also known as Japanese Knotweed, Knotweed is an invasive species that covers large areas. It’s characterized by large green leaves which appear sparsely on long, dwindling stems.
Weed Control Tip

Knotweed can be eliminated through hand-weeding or treated with a pre-emergent herbicide like Prodiamine 65 WDG. You can apply this herbicide in the spring to stop Knotweed, Crabgrass, and Poa Annua. Prodiamine comes in water-dispersible granules, so you only have to use small quantities — cost effective!

 

Common Lawn Weeds: Identified ✅

These are just a few of the most common lawn weeds that you can find in your grass. You can use the internet to cross-check different weed types to ensure you have the right species, moving on to appropriate treatment. Of course, when dealing with lawn weeds, the last thing you want to do is kill the grass. Ensure you’re using products that will eliminate weeds, but not your grass. If using a non-selective herbicide, spot-treat weeds and avoid turf areas. 

 

One of the best solutions to controlling weeds in your lawn is to have a healthy, vibrant lawn to begin with. Flourishing, thick grass means weeds find it challenging to compete for light, air, and nutrients. Products such as fertilizers, biostimulants, and soil moisture managers can help keep the turf in good condition — minimizing the risk of a pest or weed invasion. Mow frequently (about twice a week) and ensure you dispose of weeds properly, so they don’t take root again. 

A lot of the time, the presence of weeds in your lawn indicates soil problems. Investing in a home soil pH test kit allows you to tell if your soil is too acidic or alkaline and why certain weeds are favoring your lawn. For a complete guide on how to get rid of weeds, check out our recent blog post

Golf Course Lawn Store can help you on your way to achieving a golf course lawn. Browse our full range of products, or sign up to the Golf Course Lawn Academy for more lawn-care tips and tricks.