Identifying Weeds


dandelion Dandelion
Dandelion is a familiar perennial weed. These grow in spring and fall lawns on long taproots. If you dig them out be sure to get at least 2 inches of the taproot, or the root will re-sprout, yielding two plants. A thick, healthy lawn is it’s own defense against this weeds seeds. Spot-spray dandelions with a post-emergence herbicide that doesn’t kill grass.
diggingcrabgrass Crabgrass
Crabgrass is an annual weed. It gets its name from the crab-like circle in which the weeds grow. Crabgrass will appear in weak or bare areas of a lawn. A pre-emergence herbicide is the best treatment. Your local garden center or extension office can help fine-tune timing of treatment in your region.
creepingcharlie Creeping Charlie
Creeping Charlie, also known as Ground ivy will grow in sun or shade. It is an aggressive perennial weed which is tough to treat. Use a post-emergent herbicide to spray plants. Again a well established lawn is it’s own defense against this weeds.
clover White or Dutch Clover
This perennial weed tends to grow where soil is poor and low in nitrogen. Proper fertilization can help eradicate this weed. For existing weeds use a broadleaf herbicide according to label instructions. You’ll typically need to make several seasonal applications in both spring and fall to eradicate this weed.
chickweed Chickweed
Chickweed appears in lawns that are thin and experience poor drainage. It prefers shady, moist soil with higher fertility. Use a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring and fall to prevent seeds from germinating. A lesser known trick – crush the stems slightly and apply fertilizer. The nitrogen kills the plants. Don’t overdo it, you might burn the grass, but it will recover.
annualbluegrass Annual Bluegrass
Annual bluegrass is an annual weed. The grass blends well with fescue lawns, but stands out in other turf. A pre-emergent herbicide application then can prevent seed germination. Consider aerating and adding compost to improve soil drainage.
plantain Broadleaf Plantain
Broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed. Plants can grow in shady or sunny conditions. It tends to appear in poor, thin lawns with compacted soil. It can survive in drought or overwatering. Aeration will help keep this weed under control.
violetweed Violet
Violets are perennial weeds that tend to appear where lawns are thin due to shady conditions. Don’t be be fooled by this pretty purple bloomer (also flowers in shades of white and lavender). Violets can quickly take over a shady, thin lawn and are very difficult to control. Treating with a post-emergent, broadleaf herbicide kills plants, but be sure to follow label instructions carefully regarding application rates and follow-up sprays.
henbitt Henbit
Henbit is a winter annual. Purple to pink blooms appear at the top of stems above deep green scalloped leaves. It will grow in sun and part shade. It spreads and roots along its stems. Henbit is easy to pull but a heavy infestation may require a post-emergent herbicide. A fall pre-emergent herbicide will interrupt seed germination.
yellowwoodsorel Yellow Wood Sorrel
Yellow Wood Sorrel or Oxalis is a perennial weed. It spreads by creeping stems and seeds. Leaves resemble clover with yellow flowers on top of foliage. Often you’ll see Oxalis spreading through gravel mulch because it prefers dry, open spots. But it also likes moist, well-fed lawns. This is a tough weed to beat, especially in warmer regions. Spot treat small patches using broadleaf herbicide.
pricklyletuces Prickly Lettuce
Prickly lettuce is a cool season annual weed. It’s a winter weed in southern regions. Leaves have prickles along their undersides and can be uncomfortable on bare feet. Prickly lettuce spreads by wind-borne seeds, much like a dandelion. A post-emergent broadleaf herbicide can be spot sprayed on individual plants. The best defense against prickly lettuce – healthy, well-maintained lawn!
hairybittercress Hairy Bittercress
Hairy bittercress is a winter annual in warm regions and a summer annual in cooler zones. Plants appear where soil is overly moist. White flowers appear on stalks that stand well above leaves and form elongated seed capsules that spew seeds quite far. A serious infestation may require a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide when plants are young.
CommonPurslane Common Purslane
Common purslane is a summer annual weed. Because it two root systems, a taproot and fibrous roots that form along sprawling stems, it can spread by seeds or stem fragments. This weed appears in thin lawns that aren’t well-watered. Purslane tends to take over in newly seeded lawns. Avoid spring seeding for cool-season grasses, and you’ll skip many problems with purslane.
wildonion Wild Onion and Wild Garlic
Both cool-season weeds with similar appearances. Wild onion stems are solid; wild garlic has hollow stems. You’ll spot them in early spring or dormant warm-season turf. Plants spread by seeds and bulbs and are difficult to control. Keeping plants mowed short, even in dormant lawns will help. You’ll need a selective broadleaf herbicide to kill them. Make sure the label states that the product kills these plants and not grass. Spray these weeds when they are actively growing and 2-to-12 inches tall.
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A Healthy Lawn

Many conservationists berate the lowly lawn. They say it’s an expensive consumer of natural resources. Healthy, dense lawns are necessary for a balanced ecosystem. A healthy lawn absorbs rainfall, prevents runoff and erosion of our precious top soil, keeps chemicals from entering our streams and rivers, absorbs co2, releases O2 and traps much of the estimated 12 million tons of dust and dirt released into the US atmosphere annually. Trees, shrubs and lawn areas around homes can reduce air temperatures from 7 to 14 degrees. One estimate suggests that planting lawns and other landscape vegetation could reduce total U.S. air conditioning energy requirements by 25 percent.The lawns of just 8 average houses have the same cooling effect as about 70 tons of air conditioning.

One thing most home owners fail to consider is that your grass grows all year round! Warm season grasses grow in they fall, they just grow down! The roots of your Bermudas and Zoysias are growing. They are looking of nutrients to help keep your grass healthy through the dormant season so it can come back flush in the spring. This is the time of year that we feed the roots. Fertilizers high in nitrogen cause your grass to green up. We do not use those this time of year. We use fertilizers high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is needed for energy transfer and storage in plants. It also promotes strong root development and winter hardiness helping grass withstand the environmental stresses of winter.

Keep your lawn healthy and it will provide a satisfying investment for years to come.

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