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Maintaining a healthy lawn starts with proper nutrition, but it also requires careful weed control. Learn to identify your weeds and use proper weed control. Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter. This is an article on identifying and controlling Weeds with Flowers. Learn what is growing in your lawn and how to get rid of it.

Weed Identification Guide | Which Weeds Have Infiltrated Your Lawn?

Maintaining a healthy lawn starts with proper nutrition, but it also requires careful weed control. Sure, you can buy a generic weed killer and throw it on your yard with some success. If you want to increase your success at killing every weed in your lawn, being able to identify them and using the proper weed control formulas is critical.

Our weed identification guide will give you a leg up in eradicating those nutrient-draining eyesores for good and getting the lush lawn you crave.

Wild Violet

Wild violet is a perennial weed that is relatively easy to identify thanks to the bright violet or blue flower it produces and its heart-shaped leaves. It is a low-growing weed that is generally less than a foot off the ground.

Where Wild Violet Thrives

Wild violet grows the strongest in moist, shady areas and spots where grass coverage is thin. Though it prefers moist soil, wild violet can survive drought once it’s established.

How to Control Wild Violet

The best way to control wild violet is by creating a thick, healthy lawn. As mentioned above, wild violet prefers areas with minimal grass coverage, and a thick carpet will present a challenge to fledgling sprouts. Pre-emergent weed treatments are not effective on wild violet.

If your lawn has existing wild violet weeds in it, you can remove them through manual pulling. Simply moisten the soil and pull upward sharply until the weed and its root release from the soil.

If you prefer to go the chemical route to rid your yard of wild violet, you can use a post-emergent herbicide containing 2,4-D; MCPP; dicamba; or triclopyr.

Wild Onion and Garlic

Wild onion and garlic are perennial weeds with a grasslike appearance, making them harder to spot. But you can identify them by their distinct upright stance and small, white flowers in more mature weeds. They are also easy to identify by their strong onion and garlic odor.

While they have the same basic characteristics, you can identify distinguish wild garlic by its cylindrical and hollow leaves. Wild onion’s leaves are flat and not hollow.

Where Wild Onion and Garlic Thrives

Wild onion and garlic are hardy weeds that can grow in a wide range of soil types and conditions. They can also survive cold and drought, making them a particularly frustrating weed.

How to Control Wild Onion and Garlic

Unfortunately, pre-emergent herbicides don’t affect wild onion and garlic. A thick lawn is the best preventative measure, but it doesn’t guarantee you won’t have a few patches crop up.

Manual removal is possible, but do not attempt to pull wild onion or garlic by hand. The bulb at the base of the plant will break off when you try to pull it by hand, and it will grow back quickly. Instead, use a small shovel or spade to dig up the bulbs, which are generally at least 6 inches deep.

You can also take the chemical approach by using post-emergent herbicides like 2,4-D, MCPP and dicamba; metsulfuron; sulfentrazone and metsulfuron; sulfosulfuron; or glyphosate.

Dandelion

Dandelions are some of the most common perennial weeds in the U.S. They crop up in the spring and seem to spread like… well… wildflowers. They are relatively easy to identify with their 1- to 2-inch-wide bright-yellow flower, semi-hard 6- to 24-inch stem and toothed leaves.

Unlike many lookalike weeds, dandelions only have one stem and one flower per plant – if it has multiple offshoots, it isn’t a dandelion.

Where Dandelions Thrives

Dandelions are a hardy weed that grow in various conditions, but they thrive in moist, sunny areas.

How to Control Dandelions

To prevent dandelions before they ever grow, you can apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the late winter. Applying it then prevents the seed from germinating. If you apply it any later, the dandelion will still break the surface and take over your yard.

If you already have a dandelion problem, you can use a selective post-emergent broadleaf herbicide to kill each plant individually.

Prefer to go the chemical-free route? You can also remove dandelions by hand using a dandelion removal tool or by simply digging up the taproot. Dandelion taproots are very long, so make certain you get it all. Leaving just one piece of the root intact can lead to even more dandelions.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard is a biennial weed that generally grows 2-3 feet tall but can reach 6 feet in some cases. You can identify garlic mustard by its kidney-shaped hairless leaves with scalloped edges, its S- or L-shaped root, four-petal white flowers in the spring and distinct garlic smell.

Where Garlic Mustard Thrives

Garlic mustard prefers disturbed soil with plenty of shade but will sometimes invade areas of full sun.

How to Control Garlic Mustard

There is no known pre-emergent weed control for garlic mustard, but it is otherwise relatively easy to control manually or chemically.

You can manually remove garlic mustard by gripping it firmly at the base and pulling upward sharply until the plant and root are free of the soil. Because its seeds spread easily, immediately put the pulled weed in a bag or trash container.

If you prefer the chemical route, you can apply a post-emergent herbicide containing glyphosate; triclopyr; 2,4-D; metsulfuron or oryzalin. Use care around other grasses, as some post-emergent herbicides can kill it.

Canada Thistle

There are many varieties of thistle, but one of the more common types that invade our lawns is Canada thistle. You can identify this 3- to 5-foot-tall perennial weed by its deep-lobed lower leaves, more toothed upper leaves and lavender, pink or white flowers.

Where Canada Thistle Thrives

Canada thistle prefers wetter, disturbed grounds like ditch banks, pastures and tilled fields, but is no stranger to backyards.

How to Control Canada Thistle

Canada thistle is an invasive species that can create havoc in your yard, so it’s key to eradicate it as soon as you identify it.

There is no known pre-emergent herbicide for this weed, and the control process requires several seasons’ worth of treatment. In the late spring, you must apply one treatment of glyphosate and one treatment of dicamba and 2,4-D. In the fall, you will make five treatments, including one of each of the following herbicides:

  • Aminopyralid
  • Aminopyralid and 2,4-D
  • Chlorsulfuron
  • Glyphosate
  • Dicamba

Do not attempt to pull Canada thistle, as this can cause a split root, which can sprout two new plants.

Broad-Leaved Dock

The broad-leaved dock is a tall perennial weed that grows up to 3 feet tall from a rosette base. You can identify it by its long, broad leaves with pointed tips and wavy edges. The leaves near the base of the weed are significantly larger than those near the top and generally grow in an alternating pattern up the stalk.

As you near the top of the plant, the broad-leaved dock features a series of seed pods that are about a tenth of an inch long and light brown.

Where Broad-Leaved Dock Thrives

Broad-leaved dock can thrive in many types of soils, but it’s best suited for disturbed soil that’s been neglected, including drainage areas and pastures. They are also no strangers to backyards with low-lying wet areas.

How to Control Broad-Leaved Dock

There are two options when looking to control broad-leaved dock: manual removal or herbicidal.

When removing broad-leaved dock manually, don’t simply pull it, as its long taproot will likely beak off in the ground and result in a new plant growing in its place. Instead, use a spade or other sharp-tipped shovel to dig up as much of the root as you can. At the very least, you want to cut off the root at least 2 inches below the surface of the soil.

Herbicidally, you have two options. You can use a chemical weed killer that contains glyphosate or clopyralid, or you can go the organic route with insecticidal soap. The organic route works on younger plants by drying out the leaves and killing the plant before it can establish a root system.

Bindweed

Bindweed, a perennial weed with creeping stems that grow on the ground and through other plants, is easily identified by its bell- or funnel-shaped flower that’s about an inch in diameter and white or pinkish colored. It also features alternating, arrowhead-shaped leaves on its stem.

Where Bindweed Thrives

Bindweed is a hardy plant found in many conditions, including farmland, fields and residential yards. Pretty much anywhere there is sufficient soil, water, sun exposure and other plants for it to climb, bindweed will grow.

How to Control Bindweed

You can kill bindweed seeds before they germinate using a pre-emergent weed control containing dithiopyr, pendimethalin or prodiamine. Another great way to keep bindweed from growing altogether it a thick lawn, as it does not compete well in shady areas.

If you already have a bindweed issue, selective post-emergent herbicides like 2,4-D; dicamba; and quinclorac will do the trick without killing your lawn.

Pulling bindweed is generally ineffective, as its root system can stretch up to 20 feet deep, so it will almost certainly return.

Broadleaf Plantain

The broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed that features oval- or egg-shaped leaves that grow in a rosette. When you break a leaf off at its stem, there are long fibers, much like in a celery stalk. From the base of the rosette, long, pointed, green flowers grow upward and contain small seed pods. This weed can grow to about 5 inches tall.

Where Broadleaf Plantain Thrives

Broadleaf plantain weeds prefer areas where other plants don’t grow, including areas where the soil is compact and soggy. If the conditions are right, though, it can also crop up in your landscaping and lawn.

How to Control Broadleaf Plantain

Broadleaf plantain is challenging to control, but not impossible. The best bet is creating a thick and healthy lawn that drowns out seedings. You can also prevent the seeds from germinating by applying a pre-emergent herbicide containing atrazine, indaziflam, isoxaben or mesotrione.

You may still see a few new seedlings crop up. When you see them, immediately pull them to keep them from maturing and spreading seeds.

To eliminate established broadleaf plantain, you want to dig up the weed, but you may need to do this several years in a row before the weed is eradicated.

Post-emergent herbicides containing bromoxynil, carfentrazone, dicamba, mesotrione, penoxsulam or sulfentrazone have proven effective on broadleaf plantain weeds.

Nutsedge

Nutsedge is a perennial weed that can be difficult to identify due to its grasslike appearance. Nutsedge is it is generally taller than the rest of the grass, even just a few days after mowing. It also has a triangular stem and, when allowed to grow, will develop flowers that are generally yellow or dark red (nearly purple).

Where Nutsedge Thrives

Nutsedge thrives in moist soil, but it has shown the ability to grow in virtually any type of soil – established nutsedge plants can even thrive in overly dry areas. You can find nutsedge virtually anywhere grass grows.

How to Control Nutsedge

Nutsedge is particularly difficult to control, but it’s far from impossible. Mechanical removal is possible, but not through simple pulling. Instead, you must dig 8-10 inches around a nutsedge cluster and at least 10 inches deep to get all the roots.

Because nutsedge grows from more than just seeds, pre-emergent herbicides are largely ineffective. You can, however, use a post-emergent herbicide containing halosulfuron or sulfentrazone to kill existing growth. These products are generally labeled for use on nutsedge.

Chickweed

Chickweed is a low-lying annual weed that intertwines with other plants. You can easily identify chickweed by its small, white five-petal flowers and oval-shaped leaves with pointed tips and light hair. While chickweed may seem endless, each plant is only 6 to 10 inches long.

Where Chickweed Thrives

Chickweed is especially frustrating because it can grow virtually anywhere, though it prefers cooler, moisture-rich areas.

How to Control Chickweed

Chickweed control is not overly difficult, but experts strongly recommend attempting manual control first by simply pulling it out of the ground. The only time you must resort to chemical control is when you’re dealing with a large area.

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If you must switch to chemical control, you can use any product containing dicamba. You can also perform spot treatment with products containing diquat, glufosinate, glyphosate or triclopyr, but spray carefully, as these can kill surrounding grass and plants.

To prevent chickweed from ever cropping up, you can apply a pre-emergent in the late fall or early winter. Pre-emergent weed controls that’ll work on turf contain benefin, dithiopyr, oryzalin, pendimethalin or prodiamine.

Yellow Wood Sorrel

Commonly mistaken for a shamrock, the yellow wood sorrel’s key features include heart-shaped compound leaves that are no more than 1 inch across, a delicate stem and yellow flowers with five petals. It’s generally about 6 inches tall.

Where Yellow Wood Sorrel Thrives

Yellow sorrel is a perennial weed that grows across the U.S. but thrives in the most fertile of soil. That said, it can grow in nearly any conditions, but unfavorable soils will result in a smaller, weaker plant.

How to Control Yellow Wood Sorrel

As with many low-growing weeds, a healthy lawn is the first step in preventing yellow wood sorrel. You can also apply a pre-emergent herbicide containing benefin, oryzaline, pendimethalin, dithiopyr, isoxaben or prodiamine to kill off the seeds before they germinate.

If you have existing issues, you can pull or dig the weed out as soon as you see it. Make sure to get as much of the root as possible so it doesn’t return.

Alternatively, you can go the post-emergent chemical route using products containing atrazine; 2, 4-D, dicamba and mecoprop; sulfentrazone and quinclorac; triclopyr; or MCPA, dicamba and triclopyr.

Lambsquarters

Lambsquarters is an annual weed that can grow up to 5 feet tall. You can identify it by its 2-inch-long dull- or pale-gray leaves that are triangular-, egg- or lance-shaped. The leaves are also often covered in a powdery substance, especially on the newest growth.

Where Lambsquarters Thrives

Lambsquarters thrives in low, wet areas and prefers disturbed areas like a large field where animals frequently graze or play.

How to Control Lambsquarters

You can prevent lambsquarters through a healthy lawn that is too thick for its seedlings to survive or with pre-emergent weed control containing trifluralin.

Lambsquarters is simple enough to remove by pulling, but make sure to do so before it produces seeds, as you risk spreading the seeds if you pull a mature plant.

If you go the chemical route, any post-emergent herbicide containing glyphosate will do the trick.

Pigweed

Pigweed is an annual weed you can easily identify by its stem, which is erect and can be from 4 inches to 7 feet tall, though they usually fall in the 1.6- to 3-foot range. The lower part of the stem is generally a reddish color with a thick and smooth texture, while the top section is rough and features short hairs.

The diamond- to oval-shaped leaves run up the stem in an alternating fashion and are generally a dull green to a shiny red-green hue. These leaves usually have pointed tips and smooth margins.

Where Pigweed Thrives

Pigweed generally finds its home in a garden bed or a large field that doesn’t get a ton of foot traffic.

How to Control Pigweed

There is no notable pre-emergent herbicide to manage pigweed before it breaks the soil’s surface. If you catch it in its early phases, you can easily pull it from the ground to prevent its spread.

Killing established pigweed is a little trickier, especially those over 4 inches tall. The best herbicide for the job is nonselective glyphosate. It may take several attempts to kill the weed entirely, but it will eventually wither and die.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a frustrating weed because it’s so easily confused with your existing turf, but there are a few key ways to identify it.

First, new crabgrass sprouts are a lighter green than your turf and eventually darken as they age. Crabgrass also grows in clusters low to the ground, and the blades are broader than your regular grass. Finally, crabgrass stems horizontally instead of upward.

Where Crabgrass Thrives

Crabgrass is a prolific weed in the U.S., growing in virtually any soil type. That said, it thrives in thinning lawns and bare spots, as it requires as much sun as possible to survive.

How to Control Crabgrass

Initial crabgrass control starts with a thick lawn cut at the proper height, as this weed thrives in sunlight and doesn’t compete well in shady areas.

If your lawn isn’t up to the task of preventing its growth, you can also apply a pre-emergent herbicide containing bensulide, oryzalin, pendimethalin or trifluralin.

If you have existing crabgrass, you can use several post-emergent herbicides, including those containing quinclorac, fluazifop or sethoxydim plus oil. Please note, the latter two are not recommended for lawns – only spot treatment on sidewalks, driveways, landscaping beds, etc.

Quackgrass

Quackgrass is easily confused with ryegrass, but there are a few distinguishing characteristics, including rhizomes (horizontally growing underground stems) and clasping auricles (ear-like attachments). Other key features of quackgrass include rolled vernation, a membranous ligule, hairy lower sheaths and smooth upper sheaths, hollow stems, and broad blue-green leaves.

Where Quackgrass Thrives

Quackgrass thrives in many types of soil, but it prefers moist, disturbed sites. It is a hardy weed that can survive in acidic or alkaline soil.

How to Control Quackgrass

Increasing the vigor of your lawn is the No. 1 way to prevent quackgrass, as it does not compete well in lush lawns with plenty of soil-level shade.

Attempting to pull quackgrass is usually unsuccessful, as its underground root system can be 6-8 feet underground.

Adding to the frustration of quackgrass is its immunity to selective herbicides. The only recommended herbicide to control it is glyphosate, which is a nonselective herbicide that will kill the quackgrass and the surrounding grass.

Fortunately, you can regrow grass in the area knowing the quackgrass is eradicated.

Purslane

Purslane is a low-growing creeping weed that is a perennial in the warmer regions and annual in areas that experience cold winters. It’s identifiable by its thick red or green stem with a reddish tint and jade-colored oval leaves.

Where Purslane Thrives

Purslane is a hardy weed that can grow in virtually any soil but frequently crops up in the cracks of a sidewalk or driveway or in your yard.

How to Control Purslane

Purslane is not overly difficult to control, especially if you’re dealing with just one plant, as you can simply pull it out. Keep in mind, you must get the entire root system, or it will return.

Chemical control is generally not necessary, but you can prevent purslane with a pre-emergent herbicide containing dithiopyr, pendimethalin, or combinations of benefin and trifluralin or benefin and oryzalin.

If you’ve already got an outbreak of purslane, you can go with a post-emergent herbicide containing Dicamba, MCPP, MSMA or 2,4-D.

Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s purse can be an annual or biennial weed, depending on the area. This weed begins life as a basal rosette with deeply toothed alternating leaves that are 1.5-4.75 inches long and 0.4-1.2 inches wide. As it matures, long stems with white or green flowers grow from the rosette and produce triangular- or heart-shaped fruits.

Where Shepherd’s Purse Thrives

Shepherd’s purse grows across the U.S. and in many types of conditions. It thrives in gardens, fields and yards.

How to Control Shepherd’s Purse

Shepherd’s purse is relatively simple to control through manual pulling.

If you prefer to chemically eradicate it, you can also use a post-emergent weed control containing bentazon, diquat dibromide, flumioxazin, glufosinate-ammonium or glyphosate.

To prevent shepherd’s purse from returning, use a pre-emergent weed control containing dithiopyr; flumioxazin; oryzalin; oxadiazon; oxyfluorfen and oryzalin; oxyfluorfen and pendimethalin, pendimethalin or prodiamine.

Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie is a perennial ground ivy that can be quite difficult to control, especially in established lawns.

Creeping Charlie is a low-growing weed that creates almost a mat-like cover over the soil. Its long stems grow horizontally and sprout kidney-shaped leaves that are shiny green with scalloped edges.

Other key identifiers of creeping Charlie are its purple or blue five-petal flowers that are less than a half-inch long.

Where Creeping Charlie Thrives

Creeping Charlie weeds prefer moist, fertile soil and thrive in shady areas, which is why they are so difficult to control. They are also known to survive in sunny areas, making them even more common.

How to Control Creeping Charlie

The first step to preventing creeping Charlie is to grow a thick lawn. Yes, it thrives in the shade but will struggle to compete with lush grass coverage.

If you have an outbreak of creeping Charlie and are struggling to control it, the best option is a post-emergent herbicide containing triclopyr.

Unfortunately, there is no noted pre-emergent herbicide to prevent creeping Charlie, so you must spot-treat any weeds that crop up.

Velvetleaf

Velvetleaf is a summer annual weed that grows 2-7 feet tall and features alternating leaves on its stem that are up to 8 inches long. It also features hairy, heart-shaped leaves with prominent veins and orangish-yellow five-petal flowers that are less than an inch in diameter.

Where Velvetleaf Thrives

Velvetleaf prefers disturbed areas, like roadsides, but it is not uncommon to also see them in larger fields and gardens.

How to Control Velvetleaf

The best method for handling existing velvetleaf weeds is to pull them manually. Because you don’t want to leave any roots behind, pull it when the soil is moist or dig the weed out.

If you prefer to use a chemical weed control, you can choose any product containing 2,4-D; dicamba; atrazine; or mesotrione.

Once you have the current growth under control, you can prevent future growth by applying a pre-emergency herbicide containing atrazine. Take note, there have been reports of atrazine-resistant velvetleaf plants, so you may still see some plants emerge.

White Clover

White clover is a perennial weed that grows to 4-10 inches at full maturity. You can identify it by its rounded leaves with white bands and their rounded white flower heads that are less than an inch wide and contain 40-100 florets.

Where White Clover Thrives

White clover is best suited for cool, moist areas and thrives in clay and silt soils. It can, however, survive in sandy soils if the water table is high enough.

How to Control White Clover

The best way to prevent white clover growth is by having a healthy, thick lawn that drowns out the weed. If your lawn can’t hold off a white clover invasion, the second-best option is hand-pulling the weed.

If you choose to go the chemical route, you can use glyphosate, but the issue is this nonselective herbicide may kill the surrounding grass.

Once you rectify your white clover issues, you can prevent future outbreaks using a pre-emergent herbicide containing isoxaben. There is one issue, though. Isoxaben-containing herbicides are sold for professional use only.

With the ability to identify some of the most common weeds you’ll see in your yard and how to control them, it’s time to act. Get out there, figure out the types of weeds you’re dealing with and establish a plan to eradicate them for good. Your lawn will reward you with the green carpet you desire.

Jimsonweed, Datura stramonium

Stems stout, erect, 90-200cm high, usually much-branched in the upper part, smooth and hairless. Larger plants will have a main stem often 5cm or more in diameter.

Leaves

Cotyledons (seed leaves) are narrow and about 2-4cm long, shriveling but persisting on the developing seedling. The first true leaves are ovate with pointed tips and few or no lobes. Later leaves distinctly alternate (1 per node), usually somewhat coarsely and sharply toothed or lobed, 10-20cm long and long-stalked.

Flowers and Fruit

Flowers and seedpods short-stalked, borne singly in the angles between 2 or more stems and a leaf. The calyx is tubular or urn-shaped. The corolla is white or light purple, very long, tubular or trumpet-shaped, 7-10cm long with the flared end having 5 points. The seedpod is at first green and fleshy with sharp, soft spines, becoming a large (2-5cm across), dry, hard seedpod covered with very sharp, harsh spines and containing numerous black, flat, round seeds. Flowers from July to autumn.

Habitat

Jimsonweed occurs in the warmer parts of southern Ontario in cultivated fields and around farmyards.

Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its tall, stout, branched stem (like small trees), large leaves, large, white or purplish trumpet-shaped flowers, large spiny seedpod and sour repulsive odour.

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Toxicity

All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Human Health Issues

All parts of the jimsonweed plant are poisonous and are fatal if consumed in high quantities. Its toxicity is caused by tropane alkaloids.

Jimsonweed. A. Top of flowering plant. B. Seedling. C. Fruit.

linear cotyledons of Jimsonweed

A young seedling plant.

Large seedling plant prior to flowering.

The poisonous seeds of Jimsonweed

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Identifying Common Weeds: A Guide with Pictures

Despite all the trouble that weeds bring to your lawn, some of them can be quite beautiful. Now, by no means is that an endorsement of the notion that you should just allow them to bloom and take over your lawn. Instead, let’s turn the beautiful flowers that some weeds produce into a means of identifying and attacking them before they get too far along.

That’s what this article is all about. We’re going to look at common weeds with white, yellow, pink, purple, and blue flowers. You’ll not only have a visual representation of each weed to guide you, but included in each weed identification will be the physical description of each of these pesky invaders. You’ll also learn about the problems they can cause in your lawn along with how you can control and eliminate them from your yard.

Some weeds grow taller than others, but it doesn’t make them any less bothersome. So, besides the weeds you find growing nearer the surface of your lawn, we’ll also detail lawn and garden weeds that grow a bit taller before their flowers bloom.

So check out this comprehensive article before these troublesome, although beautiful, common weeds show up on your lawn and become too difficult to control.

After you identify the invasive plants in your lawn, you’ll want to make sure you are taking care of your grass properly for a beautiful lawn. If you have Bermuda grass, make sure to check our guide on how to maintain a beautiful Bermuda grass lawn.

Weeds With White Flowers

White Clover

Weed Identification

White clover is one of the most common lawn weeds. This broadleaf perennial weed has compound leaves with 3 broad leaflets that you’re probably very familiar with. Each leaf has tiny teeth running along its edges and a very pale triangular mark across its surface. Each leaf is rounded and can grow to breadths of from ¼ to 1 inch.

The long, pea-like small white flower appears from May to September and can also be very pale pink in color. Each flower grows on separate stalks from the leaves, with 40 to 100 individual florets making up each of the flower heads.

Problems Caused

White clover is a common lawn weed that grows prodigiously and very aggressively. Coupled with the fact that the weed employs nitrogen fixation, it is very opportunistic and grows on soils with poor fertility. Having a smaller amount of these common weeds in your lawn isn’t necessarily bad because it is a natural fertilizer. In fact, if 5% of your lawn is made up of clover, the entire lawn receives an adequate supply of nitrogen.

That being said, clover growth is very difficult to control. And any problems you have on your lawn will make it that much easier for clover to outgrow your desired turfgrass. Because of its growth rate and the likelihood that it will overtake your desired grass, it’s recommended that you rid your lawn of this common broadleaf weed.

Weed Control Methods

You can control the growth of this common lawn weed on your property by pulling it from the ground. This is generally recommended for smaller areas of white clover.

Natural control methods include mulching over the area and mowing your grass at a higher level. There are both natural and chemical applications for clover growth.

The best way to control white clover is through proper lawn care practices and preventative maintenance.

Common Chickweed

Weed Identification

Common chickweed is a low-growing winter annual weed that germinates in cool, wet weather. Its smooth leaves are elliptical in shape and grow opposite each other. The chickweed grows in a dense mat across the ground that branches out frequently near the base. Branching occurs less frequently the further out you travel from the base of the plant. The leaves are somewhat hairy on the bottom surface and hairless on the top.

The white flowers of this winter annual are small and comprise 5 petals that, at first glance, appear to be 10. The bifid petals surround a light green ovary. The flowers are single or in leafy clusters at the end of branching stems and are about ¼ of an inch wide.

Problems Caused

Controlling the growth of this annual weed is extremely difficult. Its aggressive growth can smother the desired vegetation in your lawn or garden.

Of greater concern is that the common chickweed is a reservoir for insect pests and plant viruses.

Weed Control Methods

Whenever possible, you should rely on natural control methods like hand weeding, cultivation, mulching, and solarization to combat this weed. If you’re able to catch common chickweed early, these manual methods should be able to rid your lawn of it.

As always, ensuring the health of your lawn and its vigor by using proper lawn care practices and preventative maintenance is the best way to combat chickweed. It will ensure that it doesn’t have room to grow in the first place.

However, if you feel that a chemical alternative is your best option, then several quality pre and post-emergent products are commercially available to purchase. It’s advised that you use a pre-emergent product and prevent this weed from showing up on your lawn. Because once it spreads, it becomes challenging to contain.

Mouse Ear Chickweed

Weed Identification

Mouse-ear chickweed closely resembles common chickweed because it grows in dense, low growing mats, but its growth is not as aggressive. The grey-green leaves of this perennial weed are thick and covered in fine hairs.

Flowers bloom from early spring through the late fall months. The flowers have 5 white petals and can be found in clusters on elongated stems. Each petal is deeply notched in the middle and gives the appearance of having two separate petals, but what you’re seeing is a single petal. The white flowers of the mouse ear chickweed are self-pollinated or pollinated by flies.

Problems Caused

The most common problem associated with mouse-ear chickweed is that they are an alternative host for Cucumber Mosaic Virus. Plant viruses like this have no known cure and result in the leaves of infected plants becoming mottled and then curling in on themselves. The fruits of infected plants may experience a degree of yellowing.

The density of the mat formed by the leaves is capable of smothering other plants that grow near it.

Weed Control Methods

You can reduce germination frequency by disturbing the seedlings as they sprout with a garden rake or a hoe. By not allowing these garden weeds to mature through regular cultivation of the ground, you will eventually quell the seed’s ability to germinate.

Using a weed burner on the top growth is also an effective means of controlling mouse-ear chickweed as well. The weed should not be able to recover from the death of the top growth, and you’ll also kill any seeds that are in the topsoil as well.

A pre-emergent herbicide will suppress the germination of these weeds in your lawns and gardens. If mouse-ear chickweed has already appeared in your flower beds or gardens, a systemic herbicide like glyphosate will effectively kill the weed plants.

Daisy

Weed Identification

Some of you may be surprised to learn that this commonly purchased flower is actually a broadleaf perennial weed. The basal leaves are oval-shaped and can be hairy or smooth. They also may or may not be toothed. The leaves are low growing and spread along the ground to form a dense mat of rosettes. The leaves generally have a broad outer tip that narrows as it moves back towards the base.

The flowers of the daisy are complex around a thick yellow center. The flowers can be white to pinkish-red and can bloom throughout the entire year. Even in the dead of winter, you might just find a daisy flower.

Problems Caused

If left unchecked, the mat formed by the leaves can smother other plants. The growth of this perennial lawn weed is vigorous, and there is the possibility that it could out-compete your desirable grass or plants. The daisy can be found in lawns, garden beds, and flower beds.

Weed Control Methods

If the infestation of daisies in your lawns and gardens is slight, you can easily remove them with a hand rake or trowel. The plant’s root system is not strong, so removing the daisy at its growing point in the soil should do the trick. The odds that the roots will regenerate are slim.

In lawns, ensuring that it is healthy and grows in a manner that outperforms the weed plant is the best way to prevent them from appearing. You can also mitigate an infestation by not mowing the grass too short and watering the lawn properly during dry periods.

Chemically, because of the likelihood that the daisy will appear alongside desired vegetation, make sure to use a selective herbicide for broadleaf weeds. If a non-selective herbicide is used, make sure to take proper precautions to prevent overspray onto your flowers and other plants.

Weeds With Yellow Flowers

Dandelions

Weed Identification

The dark green leaves of these broadleaf perennial weeds are deeply toothed and jagged. The leaves of the dandelion plant are low growing and form a rosette near the earth. The leaves are sturdy and will remain dark green throughout the entire year.

The vertically growing taproot is resilient, and even small pieces left alive in the soil after removal results in the dandelion plant’s regeneration.

The yellow flowers comprise a collection of individual florets. A yellow flower forms at the center of the rosette and is lifted upward by a hollow stem. As the weed seeds prepare to ripen, the flower heads will close up and the hollow stem will fall back towards the ground. Once the weed seeds have ripened, the stem will rise upward again, this time with a ball of dandelion seeds that have what are essentially wind sails attached to them. These “sails” support the dispersal of the seed on the wind.

Dandelions are most commonly found growing in lawns amongst the grass but can be found in gardens and flower beds if the conditions are appropriate.

Problems Caused

Every part of the dandelion plant releases ethylene gas that has an allelopathic effect on surrounding plants and inhibits their growth.

The virile growth of dandelions might out-compete the growth of your desirable grasses and plants. The seed head that rests upon the stalk is easily dispersed over great distances. If your turf is weakened or compromised, once the dandelion establishes its taproot, they become challenging to remove. It is nearly a guarantee that new plants will form if any portion of the taproot remains alive in the earth.

Weed Control Methods

There are several selective and non-selective chemical applications, along with several organic alternatives. You can also use a weed burner specifically designed to control dandelions.

Because dandelion plants are difficult to control, the best way to deal with them is to make sure that they don’t show up in the first place. Preventative maintenance with proper lawn care practices is usually the best remedy for any potential lawn problem.

Using both pre and post-emergent herbicides and making sure that any of the taproot left behind in the soil is killed is a good recipe for dandelion control.

Creeping Buttercup

Weed Identification

This perennial weed has leaves that consist of three leaflets that are lobed and turn light green in color as the plant matures. The center leaflet of the creeping buttercup has a long stalk. The leaves grow prostrate and spread along the ground as far as 5 square yards per year.

The bright yellow flowers of these perennial weeds have 5 petals that appear shiny in direct sunlight. The flowers bloom from May to August and rest upon a grooved stalk that can grow as tall as 1 foot.

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Problems Caused

In lawns and gardens, the perennial weed is a problem because its low growth habit makes it resistant to mowing and the leaves are resilient to traffic.

A toxin in the plant can cause gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed by your pets. The creeping buttercup is thought to be harmful to the plants surrounding it because it depletes potassium in the soil, affecting its availability to surrounding grass and ornamental plants.

Weed Control Methods

Removing the creeping buttercup at its growing point at the soil level should be sufficient to prevent regeneration. Cut the stalks at an angle under the rosette formed by the leaves and removal should be relatively easy.

The weeds prefer moist soil. Ensuring that your lawn drains appropriately and that the soil is not compact will go a long way at preventing these weeds.

Because the viability of the seeds in the ground is so long, chemical treatment will most likely take several applications to eliminate them from your lawns and gardens. This is best accomplished using a weed and feed product to ensure that the other desirable plants and grass are receiving an adequate infusion of nutrients as you combat the creeping buttercup.

The seeds have been shown to remain viable for up to 80 years, so the likelihood of encountering new plants after the first application of your weed and feed product or preferred herbicide is very high.

Purslane

Weed Identification

Purslane is a summer annual weed that grows as tall as 6 inches with a breadth of up to 2 feet. Purslane is a succulent with stems that are thick and round at the base of the plant. The succulent weed is very tolerant of drought and heat and only grows in the hottest months of the year.

The leaves of the purslane plant are broad and rounded at the tip and narrow at the base. Both the stems and leaves often have a reddish tint to them. The leaves of the purslane alternate and are often clustered at the end of its branches.

The purslane blooms pale yellow flowers that consist of four to six broad round petals. The flowers are sessile and not raised upon a stalk. These yellow flowers are solitary and arranged in the leaf axils. You will often find several individual flowers close together within the leaf clusters at the end of its branches.

It should be noted that some of the flowers can be pink instead of yellow.

Problems Caused

This summer annual plant can be difficult to control because of its various survival methods. Even after you think you have rid yourself of your purslane problems, new shoots will somehow defy the odds and emerge out of your turf.

Because of its survival mechanisms and its ability to disperse seed far from their source, purslane can outgrow desired species completely and overtake areas of your lawns and gardens.

Weed Control Methods

Gardeners should deal with this annual weed while it is young. Once it has spread its seed, it can become challenging to control. This weed is best controlled by pulling it from the earth. An herbicidal application may not be necessary.

Because of the seed’s ability to ripen after the mother plant has been pulled from the ground, the key to dealing with this annual weed plant is in how you dispose of it. Do not mix them into your compost pile because they can ripen and germinate in that environment. Place the plants that you pull from the soil into a bag and close the top of it when you are finished.

Ensure that when you pull this weed from the ground that you do not leave any living piece of its root system in the soil because it can regenerate.

Weeds With Pink Flowers

Red Clover

Weed Identification

Red clover is a perennial weed of the same family as the white clover you read about earlier. The two are nearly identical plants, but red clover has slightly longer leaves than white clover and has a more rounded edge.

The dark pink flowers appear in dense clusters of tightly packed florets. Again, the flower is nearly identical to that of white clover, except these flowers are pink. The pink flowers of this perennial appear from May to September.

Problems Caused

This low growing perennial is not as aggressive as its cousin. Red clover is found in lawns with depleted nitrogen. This can occur in compact soil or excessively moist soil that has experienced nutrient runoff.

Its appearance is likely a sign of larger problems in the overall health of your lawn.

Weed Control Methods

Because it is not as aggressive as white clover, red clover can easily be pulled from the soil. You will need to remove it from the main growing point. Red clover has a fine root system that will not regenerate once the plant has been pulled from the earth.

A selective product, both pre and post-emergent, can effectively kill this perennial weed without damaging your desired grasses that surround it.

Selfheal

Weed Identification

This perennial broadleaf weed is a member of the mint family and can be found in lawns and gardens with a wide variety of growing conditions. The selfheal has leaves that are oval with slightly scalloped edges. The surface of the leaves of this perennial weed can range from smooth to slightly hairy.

The flowers of this perennial weed can range from pink to purple and can be found from May through September. The flowers appear at the end of the terminal spikes of the plant’s stem. The flowers will appear in vertical layers growing out from the terminal spike of the stem.

Problems Caused

Because selfheal is low-growing, it can survive when you lower the blade of your lawn mower. As it spreads, it can restrict and prohibit the growth of your desired grass and plants. Left unchecked, this perennial weed will spread its root system far enough that you will have to completely remove sections of your lawn and re-seed or sod that area with new turfgrass.

Weed Control Methods

If you notice a small number of these weeds growing on your lawn, you should be able to remove them by hand and be done with it.

The best practice for dealing with selfheal is, as always, proper lawn care practices and preventative maintenance. Effective and proper lawn mowing practices should suffice to prevent these perennial weeds from developing seeds.

If your infestation has grown to more than just a few of these weeds, a selective post-emergent herbicide should work well. One application of an herbicide should be enough to wipe out these weeds, but cover all your bases and give the area another dose of the selective product after a month.

Spear Thistle

Weed Identification

Spear thistle is a biennial weed that can grow taller than 3′ in its second year of life. The dark green leaves have spines that cover the edges and the surfaced. The leaves of these biennial weeds are lighter on the bottom because of the dense growth of fine hairs. They are deeply lobed with a long spine at the top of each lobe. In its first year of growth, the spear thistle grows outwardly along the ground and shoots up vertically in its second year.

The new vertically growing shoots produce many compound pink or purple flowers. The flowers comprise tufts of pink petals growing from spheres of spined bracts.

Problems Caused

If your uncovered skin comes into contact with the spines of this biennial weed, you’ll experience some localized pain at the contact site.

The spear thistle will colonize primarily in undisturbed and uncultivated areas like pastures and roadsides. This can prove to be a problem for those of you with hayfields. These weeds also have a bitter taste that keeps grazing animals from controlling their growth through foraging.

The large size and rapid growth of these weeds will out-compete the growth of desirable plants. If allowed to grow into their second year, the spear thistle can wind up shading desirable plants throughout the growing season and inhibit their growth.

Weed Control Methods

Spear thistle reproduces only through seeding, so it’s important to get to them before fresh seeding occurs. In gardens, spear thistle is destroyed by surface cultivations in the spring and by hoeing or tilling the ground as necessary. Young plants should be removed at the rosette stage in the first year of growth.

Spear thistle weeds can be pulled from the ground when in bloom or cut below the rosette at the taproot in the first year of growth. Manual pulling is best done in moist soil in the spring and fall.

A non-selective herbicide can be used to kill these weeds. Because of their voracious growth, it’s best to treat them with the chemical before the flowers have bloomed and the seeds are beginning to spread.

Weeds With Purple or Blue Flowers

Creeping Charlie (Ground Ivy)

Weed Identification

Creeping Charlie (ground ivy) is a perennial weed that spreads by seed and grows along the ground. Creeping charlie (ground ivy) produces round or heart-shaped leaves that are bright green and have scalloped edges. The leaves grow opposite one another on the square, creeping stems that take root at the nodes.

The purple or bluish flowers bloom in the spring months. The flowers are funnel-shaped and tend to open towards the ground because of their weight at the end of the stem.

Problems Caused

The primary issue caused by creeping charlie (ground ivy) is that its growth will out complete desired plants and eventually smother them. Creeping charlie (ground ivy) thrives in moist soil and shaded areas, so your desired plants in these spots are already at a disadvantage.

Weed Control Methods

If your lawn has areas that are prime for creeping charlie to overtake, then you need to amend them as soon as possible. You can do this by opening up the area so that it receives more sunlight and improving the drainage of the soil.

Proper mowing techniques are another good defense at keeping this perennial weed off of your lawn. Once these weeds are fully established, they are extremely difficult to remove completely by hand.

If creeping charlie (ground ivy) has already established itself, you can use a selective post-emergent herbicide to quell the invasion, but preventing these lawn weeds from showing up in the first place is the best course of action.

Wild Violet

Weed Identification

Wild violet is a bit of a misnomer. It’s a collection of different wildflowers that have a few specific features in common. The truth of the matter is that they are altogether different plants. To add more confusion to the identification of this plant, it is also related to both pansies and violas. They have some structural components that are very similar.

Some folks cultivate wild violet as a desired ornamental in their lawns and gardens. Others see wild violet as nothing more than an aggressively growing broadleaf perennial weed plant that needs to be eradicated.

Wild violets have heart-shaped leaves with rounded teeth on their edges and come to a point at the peak.

Wild violets spread through seed and through short rhizomes that can be found at the base of the plant. The rhizomes can be found at the base of the plant and are native to every different species of wild violet. You can find this perennial weed in various growing conditions ranging from sunny, drought-like conditions to shaded areas where the soil is full of moisture.

The flowers of the wild violet vary depending on the species that you encounter. The colors range from dark blue, to the spectrum of purple shades, to yellow, all the way to white. What each species flower has in common is that it consists of 5 petals and sepals that are bilaterally or radially symmetrical. Sometimes, a separate, lower petal is larger and projects backward like a boot spur. Here are some pictures of the more common wild violet flowers:

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