Common lawn weeds with white flowers include:
- Mouse-ear chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum)
- Daisy (Bellis perennis)
- Mayweed (Anthemis cotula)
- Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
- White clover (Trifolium repens)
- Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)
Defeat weeds by mowing at the optimal height and practicing prudent watering and fertilization for healthy grass. Apply mulch to deter weed growth and employ selective herbicides for precision control. Regularly monitor and promptly remove weeds, aligning with a comprehensive lawn care routine for strong weed management.
Though some white-flowered weeds are pretty, they vie with your lawn turf for essential nutrients, sunlight, and water. Their aggressive spread can choke out grass entirely. Wondering how to address a white weed invasion? Keep reading for effective solutions.
Identifying Lawn Weeds with White Flowers
Mouse-Ear Chickweed (Cerastium vulgatum)
Mouse-Ear Chickweed is a low-growing, mat-forming weed with a distinctive appearance. This annual or perennial weed typically forms dense mats close to the ground, spreading through creeping stems (stolons) that root at nodes.
Mouse-Ear Chickweed Characteristics
Appearance: Low-growing with opposite, oval leaves. Small, star-like white flowers with five petals. Forms dense mats in lawns.
Habitat: Thrives in moist, shaded areas but can tolerate sun. Commonly found in lawns, gardens, and along pathways.
Life cycle: In its annual form, seeds germinate in fall or early spring, leading to rosette formation during winter and rapid vegetative growth in spring. The plant produces star-shaped white flowers in late spring to early summer, culminating in seed formation. Perennial varieties overwinter as low mats, with new growth emerging from existing stems and roots. Seeds, dispersed by various means, contribute to the weed's persistence. The plant's ability to adapt its life cycle makes it a resilient competitor in lawns and gardens, necessitating comprehensive control strategies.
Control Strategies for Mouse-Ear Chickweed
Hand removal can be pretty effective as it is a shallow-rooted weed. However, take care to remove all the plants, as they can regenerate if anything remains in the soil.
Selective pre and post-emergent herbicides: Apply pre-emergent herbicides in the fall to disrupt the life cycle of seeds, minimizing the chance of infestations. Mouse-ear chickweed is also easily killed using selective post-emergent herbicides. One application should be enough; rarely is a second treatment required.
- Cool-season lawns — Tenacity Herbicide (pre and post-emergent) / Triad Select (post-emergent)
- Warm-season lawns — Specticle FLO (pre-emergent) / Celsius® WG (post-emergent)
- Cool and warm-season lawns — Triad Select™ Herbicide
Daisy (Bellis perennis)
The daisy is a familiar and charming flowering perennial that adds a touch of beauty to meadows but may be an unwanted addition to your lawn.
Their ability to tolerate different soil types and moisture conditions makes them common and widespread.
Appearance: Rosette of spoon-shaped leaves and distinctive white, yellow-centered flowers. Low-growing habit.
Habitat: Adaptable to various soils, prefers sunny locations. Common in lawns, meadows, and open spaces.
Life cycle: Daisies have a perennial life cycle. The plants overwinter as basal rosettes, and with the arrival of spring, they send up flower stems. Each flower head can produce numerous seeds. While daisies spread vegetatively through basal offsets, seed production contributes significantly to their ability to colonize new areas. Their perennial nature ensures a recurring presence in landscapes year after year.
Control Strategies for Daisies
Selective post-emergent herbicides: Aim to treat the weeds when growth is strong for the best results. A single application is usually enough for daisies; sometimes, a second application may be needed six weeks after the initial treatment.
Mayweed (Anthemis cotula)
Mayweed, belonging to the Anthemis genus, is a flowering plant known for its daisy-like blooms. While appreciated for their ornamental value, mayweeds can become invasive in lawns and gardens. Their prolific seed production and ability to spread vegetatively make them formidable competitors, potentially impacting the diversity of plant species in cultivated areas.
Appearance: Fine, fern-like leaves and small, white, daisy-like flowers. It emits a pungent odor when crushed, so it is often named stinking mayweed.
Habitat: Thrives in disturbed areas, lawns, and gardens. Prefers well-drained soil and can withstand dry conditions.
Life cycle: Mayweed species can be either annual or perennial. Annual varieties complete their life cycle within a single growing season, producing seeds for the next generation. Perennials persist year after year, regenerating from established root systems and often producing abundant seeds.
Control Strategies for Mayweed
Mechanical control: Small infestations can be eliminated by hand pulling and digging, but this is not practical for large infestations.
Selective post-emergent herbicides: Use selective herbicides for perennial broadleaf weed control, which include the ingredient dicamba like Celsius® WG. However, mayweed is notoriously tricky to get rid of and is resistant to many types of broadleaf weed killer, so you may have to use a non-selective herbicide.
- Non-selective herbicides — Roundup QuikPRO (note that this weed killer will also kill your grass, so you must apply this very carefully directly to the weed).
Pearlwort (Sagina procumbens)
Pearlwort, belonging to the Sagina genus, is a low-growing, mat-forming plant known for its delicate appearance and compact growth habit. The plant's stems are slender and often sprawl across the substrate.
Appearance: Characterized by tiny, star-like flowers that can be white or greenish, pearlwort blooms during the late spring and early summer. Pearlwort's small, needle-like leaves are arranged alternately along the stems.
Habitat: Common in lawns, gardens, and between pavers. Prefers moist, compacted soil. It is often found on frequently irrigated turf, making pearlwort a good indicator that the ground is too wet.
Life cycle: Perennial. Reproduces through seeds and creeping stems, forming compact, carpet-like patches.
Control Strategies for Pearlwort
Management of pearlwort involves cultural practices such as regular mowing and, if necessary, manual removal. Maintaining a healthy and well-aerated lawn can help discourage excessive pearlwort growth.
Selective post-emergent herbicides: Pearlwort is a difficult weed to control, as it is moderately resistant to many selective weed killers. In almost all cases, two or three treatments will be required to eliminate this weed from the lawn. Treat weeds when growth is strong; this is usually in May and June.
- Warm-season lawns — Celsius and Certainty Herbicide Kit with Surfactant and Dye
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is a hardy and versatile flowering perennial renowned for its feathery foliage and clusters of small, vibrant flowers. It exhibits a clump-forming growth habit, with finely dissected, fern-like leaves that give it a lacy appearance. Stems are erect and can reach varying heights depending on the variety.
Appearance: Fern-like, aromatic leaves and flat-topped clusters of small, white flowers. Yarrow blooms from late spring through summer, attracting pollinators with its nectar-rich blossoms.
Habitat: The weed will grow on most types of soil. However, it is happiest on dry, chalky soils, especially those lacking nutrition. Yarrow can easily tolerate drought conditions in the dry summer months.
Life cycle: Perennial, regenerating from established roots each year. It spreads through both seeds and rhizomes, forming expanding colonies over time. Resistant to mowing.
Control Strategies for Yarrow
Selective post-emergent herbicides: Persistent control efforts may involve the use of systemic herbicides, with repeat applications necessary to address regrowth.
- Cool and warm-season lawns — Triad Select™ Herbicide
Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Bindweed is a persistent and invasive perennial vine notorious for its aggressive growth and challenging management. It exhibits a twining or climbing growth habit, producing long, trailing vines that entwine around other plants and structures.
Appearance: Vine-like growth with arrowhead-shaped leaves. Small, trumpet-shaped white flowers.
Habitat: Common in lawns, gardens, and along fences. Thrives in fertile, well-drained soil.
Life cycle: Bindweed is a perennial plant, regenerating from an extensive underground root system yearly. Its robust rhizomes contribute to its ability to spread rapidly, making it challenging to control and eradicate.
Control Strategies for Bindweed
Managing bindweed requires a comprehensive approach. Cultural practices such as regular mowing can help weaken the plant. Diligent and ongoing control measures are crucial for preventing bindweed from establishing dense colonies and impacting the health of the surrounding vegetation.
Manual removal: Hand-pulling or digging out the roots is essential, though challenging, due to the extensive underground network.
Non-selective post-emergent herbicides: Bindweed is notoriously difficult to eliminate and is resistant to many types of broadleaf weed killers, so you may have to use a non-selective herbicide.
- Roundup QuikPRO (note that this weed killer will also kill your grass, so you have to apply this very carefully directly to the weed).
White Clover (Trifolium repens)
White clover is a versatile and beneficial perennial plant with distinctive three-lobed leaves and globe-shaped flower heads. Exhibiting a low-growing, spreading habit, white clover forms dense mats close to the ground. Its trifoliate leaves and creeping stems contribute to its characteristic appearance.
White Clover Characteristics
Appearance: Low-growing plant with distinctive trifoliate leaves and white, globe-shaped flower clusters.
Habitat: Thrives in nitrogen-rich soils. Common in lawns, meadows, and disturbed areas. It is often intentionally included in mixed grass seed formulations for its nitrogen-fixing capabilities.
Life cycle: Perennial. Spreads through seeds and creeping stolons. While appreciated for its beneficial traits, the spreading habit of white clover can sometimes be considered invasive in carefully manicured lawns. However, its ability to withstand mowing makes it a resilient and persistent component of various landscapes.
Control Strategies for White Clover
Managing white clover involves cultural practices like regular mowing and providing adequate nitrogen to reduce its competitive edge. Herbicides targeting broadleaf weeds can be applied selectively if control is necessary, though some choose to embrace its presence for its ecological benefits.
Selective pre-and post-emergent herbicides: Apply pre-emergent herbicides in the fall to disrupt the life cycle of seeds, minimizing the chance of infestations. One application is usually enough; however, if it persists after the initial treatment, a second application can be applied about six weeks later. There is a range of products on the market for white clover. Aim to treat the weed between April and September when growth is strong for optimum control.
- Cool-season lawns — Tenacity Herbicide / Prodiamine (pre-emergent)
- Warm-season lawns — Specticle FLO (pre-emergent) / Celsius and Certainty Herbicide Kit with Surfactant and Dye
- Cool and warm-season lawns — Triad Select™ Herbicide
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica)
The stinging nettle is a common and often misunderstood perennial plant with serrated leaves. The stinging hairs on the leaves and stems contain chemicals that cause a burning sensation, rash, and itching when they come into contact with the skin. So, while they may not infest the lawn itself, having it nearby can be a nuisance.
Stinging Nettle Characteristics:
Appearance: Tall, upright plants with toothed, opposite leaves. Tiny, inconspicuous greenish-white flowers.
Habitat: Found in damp, nutrient-rich soil. Common in and around lawns, gardens, and along water bodies.
Life cycle: Perennial. Propagates through seeds and creeping rhizomes. It can cause skin irritation.
Control Strategies for Stinging Nettles
Wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, pants, gloves, and closed-toe shoes to manually remove stinging nettles. Dispose of them carefully to prevent seed spread. Apply a generous layer of organic mulch to suppress growth and hinder new sprouts. Boiling water can be poured over nettles, but exercise caution to avoid affecting nearby plants.
Non-selective herbicides: Use a herbicide containing glyphosate for persistent nettles.
- Non-selective herbicides — Roundup QuikPRO (note that this weed killer will also kill your grass, so you have to apply this very carefully directly to the weed).
Related: Best Weed Killer Spray for Lawns
Proper Lawn Care Is Vital for Weed Control
Effective lawn care is crucial for curbing the proliferation of white-flowered lawn weeds.
- Regular mowing at the right height starves weeds of sunlight, inhibiting their growth.
- Adequate watering supports the health of desired grasses, creating an unfavorable environment for invasive white-flowered species.
- Fertilization supplies vital nutrients, fostering robust grass growth that outcompetes white-flowered weeds.
- Biostimulants contribute to soil vitality and stimulate vigorous plant growth, fostering a naturally competitive setting that inhibits the development of weeds.
- Minimizing thatch and aerating the soil enhances water and nutrient absorption, fortifying the lawn against white weed encroachment.
- Proactive measures, like pruning overhanging branches, foster a balanced ecosystem, discouraging the development of white-flowered weeds.
- Mulching acts as a shielding layer, restraining the proliferation of weeds by blocking sunlight penetration and establishing conditions unfavorable for weed growth.
Pre-emergent herbicides act by inhibiting weed seed germination, effectively preventing the establishment of unwanted plants. Examples include Prodiamine applied in fall for cool-season lawns and Specticle FLO for warm-season lawns.
Successfully addressing white-flowered weeds demands a holistic strategy rooted in thorough lawn care. Proper mowing, watering, fertilization, and other cultural practices are paramount in fostering an environment where preferred grasses flourish, restricting the room and resources accessible to invasive species. As seasons change and diverse weeds seek to establish themselves, a meticulously maintained lawn acts as a robust defense.