Weeds, we hate them. No matter how hard we try to keep our lawns looking pristine and weed free, weeds always seem to find a way in there. Some people might think that it's just their bad luck but the truth is that most of us are very good at identifying weeds without realizing it! If you're frustrated with your weed problem then this blog post is for you! We'll teach you how to identify what types of weeds are plaguing your yard so that next time they show up on your lawn again, you can be sure to get rid of them before they take over.
What Is a Weed?
Believe it or not there is more than one type of weed! Of the 250,000 plant species , there are about 1,000 (3%) recognized as weeds.
- Weed: a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, "a plant in the wrong place". Think about crabgrass, giant foxtail or common lambsquarters, for example.
- Noxious Weed: a weed which is considered to be harmful to the environment or animals, especially one which may be the subject of regulations governing attempts to control it.
- Invasive Weed: a weed that has been designated by an agricultural or other governing authority as a plant that is injurious to agricultural or horticultural crops, natural habitats or ecosystems, or humans or livestock. Many invasive weeds are also labeled as noxious.
Common Types of Weeds
Weeds are a pain, and they can grow like wildfire. Luckily, we have the know-how to weed out these pesky plants from your lawn. There are many types of weeds that you may see if you're not careful: dandelions, crabgrass, chickweed and more! It's important to identify which type of weed is growing in order to get rid of it.
Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Field bindweed is a hardy perennial vine that has been given many names, including: wild morning glory, creeping jenny and sheepbine. Bind weed also goes by the name corn bind or bell bine because it looks similar to these other plants in their appearance as well with heart-shaped leaves 1 2/3" wide at maturity which may show up either green on grey colors for field Bindweeds variety (family Convolvulaceae) OR yellowish when grown alongside Golden Botton Plantain (Asteraceae family). The two species can be easily distinguished from each other though - just look out!
Bindweed sprouts in late spring and can be seen throughout the summer. Though the plant’s flowers are attractive, field bindweed can become a big problem in warm weather, when they spread ruthlessly.
How to Control Bindweed
Field bindweed is very drought tolerant and once established is difficult to control even with herbicides. The best control is, as with most weeds, is prevention or early intervention. Seedlings of field bindweed must be removed before they become perennial plants. However, this needs to be done when they’re young—about 3 to 4 weeks after germination. After that, perennial buds are formed, and successful control is much more difficult.
Quackgrass (Elytrigia repens)
Yes you read that right. “Quack, Quack!” Just like a duck! But it’s not what a duck eats. Quackgrass is a creeping, persistent perennial grass that reproduces by seeds. Its long, jointed, straw-colored rhizomes form a heavy mat in soil, from which new shoots may also appear.
How to Control Quackgrass
Dig up this fast-growing grass as soon as you see it in your garden, being sure to dig up the entirety of the plant including the roots. Dispose off into a waste bin rather than a compost pile as new shoots will continue growing on later!
Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Canada thistle is an aggressive, creeping perennial weed that infests crops and pastures. While it has the potential to reduce forage consumption in rangeland as well because cattle typically won't graze near these plants - if left unchecked this plant can reproduce by seed or rootstock which sends up new shoots every 8-12 inches (depending on the size). Plants may reach heights of 2-4 feet tall! You may spot it's purple flowers produced in July and August.
How to Control Canada Thistle
Canada thistle is difficult to control because its extensive and deep root system allows it to recover from control attempts. Horizontal roots may extend 15 feet or more and vertical roots may grow 6 to 15 feet deep! Seeds may retain viability 4+ years in the soil. If Canada thistle becomes rooted, the best control is to stress the plant and force it to use stored root nutrients. It’s at its weakest during the flowering stage in summertime; this is a good time to begin cultivation and destroy the roots and rootstock.
Nutsedge (Cyperus spp.)
Nutsedges are pesky weeds that can reduce harvest yields for crops. They have thicker, stiffer leaves than grasses and flower heads shaped like an upside down V with three sets of petals arranged in groups at each end from the base up rather than two pairs as you would find on most flowers; this gives them their characteristic "nested" look. The coloration varies depending upon variety: yellow nutsedge has light brown stalks while purple-brown flecks contain reddish tints toward reflecting its genetic background - these tend to be more invasive however!
How to Control Nutsedge
Nutsedge is a pesky weed that can quickly take over your garden. It’s often indicated by poor or waterlogged soil drainage, but once it takes hold you're going to have trouble controlling the plant because its roots grow deep into cracks in pavement-perfect for getting out of sight! To limit nutsedges' production (and thus control), remove small plants before they develop tubers; these are key factors encouraging survival during times when herbicides don't work well against them either due mainly, thanks again, to those waxy coating leaves which protect themselves from attack by chemicals. Also, eliminate the wet conditions that favor nutsedge growth.
Buckhorn Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
Buckhorn plantain (Also called buck plantain, English plantain, narrow-leaved plantain) is a common perennial weed more common in pastures, meadows, and lawns. This narrow-leafed weed reproduces and spreads by seeds.
How to Control Buckhorn Plantain
With its long taproot and ability to become drought-tolerant, Buckhorn Plantain is a tough weed. To remove this plant you need help from nature - pull up young plants before they go too far in search of seeds or root stocks that will survive on their own without sun exposure (this requires diligence!). The best prevention technique would be planting more lushly than usual so shade encourages survival through surface soil moisture rather than just being able light conditions needed for photosynthesis; once established these weeds have few limitations preventing them from spreading throughout your landscape again if left unchecked.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)
Why is purslane, an edible succulent plant, considered so troublesome? The answer goes back to the definition of weeds: Purslane can produce over 2,000,000 seeds PER PLANT! Purslane also can reproduce vegetative through its leaves, making it especially tough to eradicate.
How to Control Purslane
The best way to keep this pesky plant at bay? Hand-weeding! Simply pull it out as soon as you see signs of growth, then destroy those roots before they have time to make their way back in again.
Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.)
Crabgrass is a low-growing, summer annual that spreads by seed and from cuttings of nodes that lie on the soil. Unmowed, it can grow to 2 feet tall. This weed appears from mid-spring through summer when the ground is warm. It flourishes under dry, hot conditions.
How to Control Crabgrass
Fortunately, crabgrass is fairly easy to manage. Controlling crabgrass before it sets seed is important, because the seeds can remain viable for at least 3 years in soil. Crabgrass thrives in compacted lawns, so aeration can help. Perennial ryegrass is the best competition for crabgrass. It also provides some insect control, as it emits a natural poison that gives some small, damaging bugs the “flu.” Fertilizing is key and must be done in the spring and in the fall.
Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album)
It's not just gardens that are affected by this pesky plant. A problem in fields, yards and farms across North America is lambsquarters - a summer annual broadleaf weed with widely distributed roots that cause problems for sugar beets as well vegetable crops such as dry edible beans or lentils (to name only few).
How to Control Lambsquarters
This summertime weed rapidly removes moisture from soil, so remove it from unwanted areas as soon as possible! Cultivate lambsquarters out of your garden using a sharp hoe.
Pigweed (Amaranthus spp.)
It’s a tough call, but if we had to choose one weed over another it would be pigweed. This pesky plant has developed traits that makes them competitive with broadleaf crops like soybeans and cotton for nutrients in the soil which means they can take up more space than other annual vegetables or grains growing nearby! This weed appears in late spring or early summer and likes warm weather.
How to Control Pigweed
Try to pull out this weed before it flowers! Some weed seeds require light for germination and pigweed is one of those. To prevent pigweed in the future, cover your garden plot with a winter mulch.
Chickweed (Stellaria sp. & Cerastium spp.)
A winter annual that grows in well-watered areas. It’s a reservoir for insect pests and plant viruses. Common chickweed can produce approximately 800 seeds and it takes 7 to 8 years to eradicate. Chickweed thrives in moist, cool areas so it often gets started before spring crops can become competitive.
How to Control Chickweed
Pulling annual chickweed when the plant is small and before it flowers will help you keep your lawn or garden clear of this pesky weed. You may have trouble locating it during that short period between germination, so be sure to monitor closely for any signs that new growth has emerged from seeds which means there might already be some plants growing in secret!
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
We love dandelions with their bright yellow heads in the springtime. They provide an important source of food for bees early in the year, too. They have the most weedy characteristics of all the weeds. Not only do dandelions have wind-borne seed but also reproduce vegetatively thanks to large tap roots. So unless you cut the root deep into the soil, you can rest assured the plant will reemerge.
How to Control Dandelions
Removing dandelions by hand-pulling or hoeing can be futile, unless done repeatedly over a long period of time. But if you have a small area and are able to remove young plants without much difficulty then this method may work for your needs! Grasp them firmly at their base with one hand as they're rooted deeply in the soil (their tap root will likely prevent easy removal). Use an implement like a trowel so that all pieces stay together when removing from ground; leave any remaining roots behind after pulling out the entire plant since returning crop often happens anyway thanks to its deep rooting system.
Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
This flowering annual produces heart-shaped seed pods after flowering. It likes cool weather and its yellowish-brown seeds are long-lived in the ground.
How to Control Shepherd’s Purse
Keep an eye out for its distinctive leaves and pull this annual weed by hand before it begins to seed. Be sure you remove the entire root, or else your garden will be filled with unwanted plants!
Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
The plant has bright green leaves with scalloped edges on creeping stems that root at the nodes. It tends to form a dense mat over the ground. The reason Creeping Charlie is so challenging is the way it spreads—by both seeds and by creeping stems (called stolons) that grow along the ground. If you try to dig it out and leave behind a fragment of rhizome (root), even a tiny piece can grow up as a new plant!
How to Control Creeping Charlie
Here are a few ways to help control Creeping Charlie:
- Improve turf density by seeding grasses in shady areas which will help to limit this weed from spreading.
- Also, make sure to grow the most suitable type of turfgrass for the location (e.g., plant shade tolerant turfgrass varieties under trees).
- Improve soil drainage or water less frequently to dry the soil.
- Mow regularly (to a height of two to three and one-half inches), fertilizing and watering appropriately, and overseeding in the fall.
Heavy infestations of creeping Charlie can be difficult to remove completely, but this is not an option if you have mats. The best course of action in these cases would involve smothering with newspaper or tarp and pulling the weeds out once they're all pulled up into bundles that cannot reroot themselves back onto your garden center; common herbicides will do nothing for us here!
Keep Off the Grass!
We hope this blog post has helped you identify some of the different types of weeds in your area. If not, don't give up! There are many resources online that can help you figure out what is growing in your yard or garden. A great place to start would be by looking at pictures on Google Images and asking a professional if they have any thoughts about it. Happy weed hunting!