Weeds With Fluffy Seed Heads

Weed identification perennials 1 is a page for identifying perennial lawn weeds. If you’ve noticed some weeds that look like wheat appearing all over your lawn, you might be wondering what they are. I’ll explain what they are in this post. Wondering how to rid your yard of weeds? Contact Loyalty Lawn Care today for help with professional weed control!

Weed Identification
Perennials 1

Weed Identification Perennials 1 is for common perennial broadleaf weeds, weed identification along with weed pictures, as well as, information on control.

On this page, you will find information on Canada Thistle, Mouseear Chickweed, White Clover, Dandelion, Field Bindweed, Ground Ivy, and Common Mallow.

A “perennial” is defined as a plant that will live for two or more years. This means that perennials will not have to come back each year by seed. (Although many perennials reproduce by seed.)

How to Use Weed Identification Perennials 1

If you have a lawn, then you know something about weeds. No lawn is immune to weed problems and they will only get worse if nothing is done. However, not all weeds can grow in lawns. The weeds that become established in lawns will be the types that can handle continuous defoliation through repeated mowing.

Weed control begins with weed identification and understanding how weeds grow, because different weeds may require different control techniques. Weeds, like some grass types, can spread by seed, rhizomes or stolons and some can regenerate from root pieces left in the soil.

Some weeds can be controlled without using chemicals, while others are almost impossible to control without them.

Weeds don’t like competition, so a thick lawn is your greatest defense against weeds. Focusing attention on weed control without building a thick turf is a guarantee you will have continued weed problems.

The weeds listed on this weed identification page is not an exhaustive list and you may have other weeds common to your geographical area. Be sure to check with your local university extension office for specific conditions in your area.

Important Note: A mention of any herbicide is not an endorsement, but is only a list of effective products. Different states or even regions within states have specific laws pertaining to herbicide use. Your local university extension office can be a great help in determining what products are available to you. Not all herbicides are available for homeowner use and the EPA is removing or adding herbicides frequently. Always use and store products according to instructions on the label.

Canada Thistle

Weed Identification

Canada thistle is an herbaceous perennial with spiny leaves and erect stems. The leaves are long and deeply lobed. They are narrowest at the base and reach their greatest width just before the tip. In pastures or other places that are not mowed frequently, the stems reach up to 4 feet tall producing a lavender or purple flower on top. It flowers from June through September.

In mowed turf, Canada thistle doesn’t produce stems or flowers, but rather takes on a rosette pattern with numerous leaves. The top photo shows what it looks like growing in a lawn. It spreads by seed and by rhizomes.

Cultural Practices

Due to the thorns on the leaves, bare hands should not touch these plants. Grabbing it by the hand will make weed identification fairly easy, however, but I wouldn’t try it. Attempts at removing this plant by mechanical means are not effective. Any root as small as an inch in length that is broken off and left behind in the soil will produce another plant. In most cases, you only succeed in producing far more plants than you started with. Research shows that a thick, vigorous growing lawn will help prevent Canada thistle from establishing.

Herbicide Use

Canada thistle can be difficult to control due to the creeping root system. Often more than one application is necessary for control. In pastures, this is an extremely invasive weed, costing millions in control and in crop losses.

In lawns, herbicides with Dicamba as the active ingredient can be used at any time of the year when the weed is actively growing. The younger the plant, the better the results. Also Clopyralid (plus 2,4-D) is a good choice. Many herbicides are formulated with three different active ingredients to provide the best results. If you purchase one of these, make sure Dicamba and 2,4-D are two of the ingredients. Always follow label instructions.

Chickweed, Mouseear

Weed Identification

Due to the small leaves, careful examination of leaves is necessary for positive weed identification. Mouseear chickweed is a winter perennial that grows vigorously in the spring. It gets its name from the shape of the leaves that resembles a mouse’s ear. It prefers to grow in full sun and can tolerate slight shade. As it grows, it hugs the ground, but will also send shoots upward.

Mowing is not an effective means of weed control, but will actually stimulate this weed to produce more shoots. It can form thick, heavy mats on the soil surface, which can choke out any grass growing within it.

For proper weed identification, look for small leaves that are approximately ½ inch long and grow opposite each other. At the end of each stem will grow a set of leave with a small, 5 white petal flower in the center. The primary method of reproduction is by seed, but it can also root at the nodes along the stem.

Cultural Practices

It is not advised to attempt pulling the plant up by hand. The fleshy stems break easily and since the stems root at the nodes, it will only cause the plant to spread faster. When pulling, the stems break where they have rooted and that rooted stem will become a new plant sending out more stems.

As with all weeds, good turf management practices that encourages a thick turf is the best method of keeping mouseear chickweed from starting. This includes proper mowing, fertilization and liming, if needed, will ensure a healthy turf.

Herbicide Use

Many herbicides are labeled for mouseear chickweed. The best time to spray is when plants are actively growing. The small, younger plants will be easier to control than the older, more established plants. It may require more than one application spaced three for four weeks apart. The small seeds will ensure new growth the following year. Spend time encouraging turf growth, which should include over-seeding or plugging if necessary. Most weeds do not like competition with vigorous growing grass.

Clover, White

Weed Identification

White clover is a common perennial legume that spreads by stolons (above ground stems) and root at the nodes. The plant has a compound leaf structure that divides into three leaflets. There is the very rare four-leaf clover (I have only seen one). Irish folklore says the person who finds it will have good luck. Some leaves contain a white stripe or watermark that is visible from several feet away. Looking for this stripe makes weed identification easy.

The flowers can reach a ½ inch in diameter and are a favorite for honeybees. The flowers are usually white, but can also be pink in color and can be seen from late spring through summer.

Cultural Practices

White clover prefers to grow in thin turf and in soil that is low in nitrogen. Maintaining a thick, vigorous turf that receives regular fertilization, as required for the grass type, will help keep clover from germinating.

Attempts at removing clover by pulling it up by hand is not effective. The stems will break at the rooted nodes. Each piece left in the soil will form another plant. In most cases, pulling it up will actually help the clover to spread faster. Chemical control is the best method of controlling white clover.

Herbicide Use

Since white clover is a winter (or cool season) perennial, it is actively growing in the cooler parts of the year. Early spring when temperatures are above 50 degrees is the best time to spray. A common herbicide called 2,4-D (Weed-B-Gone)is not effective in controlling clover. Look for herbicides that contain two or three different herbicides mixed together. Dicamba or MCPP will be effective. Not all herbicides are available to homeowners or legal in every state. You will find several herbicides are labeled for white clover. It may require an additional application three or four weeks apart for best control.

Weed Identification

Dandelions are cool season perennials and one of the most easily recognized lawn weeds. They have deeply lobed leaves with yellow flowers and white, fluffy seed heads. The white seed heads sail away in the wind and have been a long time favorite of photographers.

The dandelions have a deep taproot that slightly resembles a carrot in shape. A mature root can extend as deep as a foot into the soil. A new dandelion plant is able to regenerate from a severed portion of root left in the soil. For this reason, if pulling up the plant by hand, it is important to try and get all of the root.

For weed identification, look for leaves that are deeply lobed and form a rosette pattern on the ground. During the first year of growth, the leaves may be only a few inches long, but over time, can grow to three times that length. One to several fleshy stems can grow upward from the center of the plant. These stems grow quite rapidly after mowing and can reach their pre-cut height in only a few days.

See also  Og Weed Seeds

Being cool season perennials means they are active in the cooler times of the year. Throughout most of the U.S., as temperatures warm in early summer they will go dormant, returning again in the fall as temperatures cool. However, the number of dandelions producing flowers and seed heads will be less in the fall than in the spring.

Beginning in early spring, dandelions will produce a yellow flower. The flower remains for several days until it is replaced with a white seed head. These seed heads can reach the size of a golf ball. The fluffy seeds are easily dislodged and can travel great distances in the air. These stems, flowers and seed ball are other important weed identification elements for this plant.

Seed germination is the primary method of dandelion reproduction. Lots left untreated can become overgrown with dandelions in just a few years.

Cultural Practices

Pulling dandelions is not usually an effective method of control. Any small piece of root left in the soil will produce another dandelion. If you choose not to use herbicides, make sure you get the whole root, if possible.

Herbicide Use

Dandelions are most easily controlled with postemergent herbicides. Many products are available, but most any herbicide containing 2,4-D, or 2,4-D with Dicamba will control them. Liquid formulations offer better control than most granular “weed and feed” types. If you use a granular product, use one with small flakes rather than round granules. The product needs to stick on the plant and the round granular types tend to roll off.

Field Bindweed

Weed Identification

Field Bindweed, sometimes called “creeping jenny”, is related to the morning glory plant. It is most commonly found in the Midwest and extends through central Canada. It is also found in Hawaii. Field bindweed is actually a vine and possesses all the characteristics of a vine. It can be seen growing up fences and covering shrubs and other plants. In poorly maintained lawns, it will spread out along the ground.

Field bindweed is often confused with wild buckwheat. However, wild buckwheat is an annual and has greenish flowers. Annuals will die each year and grow again from seed. These facts should help confirm a positive weed identification.

Mature, older plants have a very extensive root system. Roots can extend 15 feet into the soil and branch laterally for 20 feet or more. This complex root system makes field bindweed hard to control. Even when sprayed, it can return a short time later. Young plants, however, are easily controlled with herbicides.

The funnel shaped flowers can be white to pink and appear in late summer to fall. The plant reproduces by seed. The seeds can remain viable in the soil for many years. One university reported a seed germinating after 28 years.

Cultural Practices

Young plants may be able to be removed by pulling or hoeing. For older plants this will not work. The plant will always come back. In gardens, plastic or landscape fabric should be put down. Where field bindweed has been left uncontrolled, people have reported the plant covering all their garden plants.

Keep in mind that seeds from field bindweed can remain viable in the soil for many years. Once the plastic is removed, germination can occur, starting a new crop. If you live in an area where field bindweed is a serious problem, you will need to consider what measures you will take to control it. Chemical herbicides are about the only sure way of controlling this pest.

Herbicide Use

Chemical control is the most effective way of controlling mature field bindweed plants. Several broadleaf systemic herbicides are labeled for this pest. For mature plants, it may take a couple of years to completely kill this plant. Look for dicamba plus 2,4-D, or triple herbicide products.

(Photo used with permission: flowers.vg)

Weed Identification

Ground ivy, sometimes called creeping Charlie, is a perennial weed that can grow very quickly in thin turf. It was once planted as a shade ground cover, but because of its aggressive nature, is now considered a pest. Ground ivy spreads by above ground, laterally growing stems, called stolons. These stolons can outpace the growth of turfgrass. This is especially true in shaded areas. However, in lawns with thin turf, ground ivy will grow equally well in both shade or full sun.

For positive weed identification, look for leaves growing on a long petiole, positioned opposite each other on square stems. In the spring you can see small blue flowers in the shape of a funnel which will help with weed identification. Ground ivy is similar in appearance and sometimes mistaken for another lawn weed called “common mallow”.

Cultural Practices

Ground ivy is difficult to remove without the use of herbicides. Unless the entire runner is removed, it will re-establish. The runners root at the nodes, so if you break the runner at any point, it will continue to grow. If your neighbors have it in their yard, it will only be a matter of time before it spreads into yours. If possible, encourage your neighbors to begin controlling it.

Herbicide Use

Many herbicides are labeled for ground ivy. It will generally need several applications spaced approximately 4 weeks apart for best control. Ground ivy behaves as a cool season perennial, so the best time to spray is when it is actively growing in the spring and fall. Persistence is the key.

Use products containing Dicamba plus 2,4-D or triple herbicide products.

If your neighbors are unwilling to work with you in controlling this pest, then a barrier may be needed to keep it out of your yard.

Mallow, Common

Weed identification

Common mallow is an annual, but can be a perennial is some areas. It is similar in appearance to ground ivy, but positive weed identification is easy when the root is exposed. Mallow has a tap root and the stems do not form nodes. (Nodes are swollen areas along the stem with cells that are able to produce roots and/or vegetation. Plants with nodes can be more difficult to control.) It reproduces by seed and spreads by producing stems that grow along the surface of the ground.

Cultural Practices

Maintaining a dense, vigorous turf is the best way to prevent mallow from establishing. Once established, it is possible to pull up the plants since each plant has a single tap root. Try to remove the entire taproot. Spot spaying with a selective herbicide labeled for mallow can also be effective.

Herbicide Use

If you decide to use herbicides for control of common mallow, it is best to spray when the plant is young and growing. Homeowner herbicides containing 2,4-D and MCPA is a good combination that will control this weed. Using a “sticker/spreader” according to label rates will help with chemical absorption into the plant tissue. A sticker/spreader, when added to the herbicide formulation, allows the herbicide to not only stick to the plant surface, but spread out evenly.

Crabgrass and Foxtails – Annual Grassy Weeds
Crabgrass and Foxtails are two major annual weeds that can cover your lawn. You will find detailed information on their growth habits and how to stop them before they even start.

Summer Annual Lawn Weeds
Summer annuals begin from seed in spring or summer and die at the first frost. Click here to learn more about these invasive weeds, including photos, growth habits and control methods.

Winter Annual Lawn Weeds
The coming of spring also brings a surge in winter annual weeds. Here you can find helpful information on these difficult weeds, including photos, growth habits and methods of control.

Perennial Weed Identification Page 2
Click here for perennial weed identification and control. You can find detailed information on Buckhorn Plantain, Broadleaf Plantain, Red Sorrel, Wild Violets, and Common Yarrow.

Yellow and Purple Nutsedge
Nutsedge is a summer perennial grass-like weed. They can be particular problematic since they cannot be controlled by broadleaf weed herbicides. Click here for weed identification, growth habits and control methods.

Weeds That Look Like Wheat in Lawns

What image comes to mind when you hear the word “wheat”? For me, it’s The Gladiator movie as Maximus runs his hand through the wheat fields on his return home. Epically cool in the movie, not so cool when it’s happening in your front yard. Especially when you learn that this is probably not even true wheat, but weeds that look like wheat, and often with detrimental side effects to your lawn.

Most Common Weeds That Look Like Wheat

When you think of a weed that looks like wheat, it usually means that it has grassy leaves with an inflorescence or spiked seed head, and that is most probably the part of the plant that you are associating with wheat. Common examples are Foxtail grasses, Wild barley, Couch grass, Fingergrass, and Barnyard grass.

A Closer Look At Lawn Weeds That Look Like Wheat

Unfortunately, these next few copycat species that look a lot like wheat, are mostly invasive and can crowd out and suffocate your lawn grass. Although these look like they are meant to be growing in your garden at first glance, they are actually detrimental to your lawn’s overall health.

See also  White Widow Weed Seeds

1) Giant Foxtail (Setaria faberi)

Giant Foxtail is characterized by leaves that have hairs on their upper surface but nothing on the leaf sheath. Its inflorescence is a fuzzy panicle resembling a foxtail, hence the name, that is held up on a smooth erect stem. This plant can reach 16 inches in overall height.

It is an invasive summer annual with a clump-forming growth habit. Originally from Asia and mistakenly introduced to America in the 1920s when it was mixed in with other food grain crops, it thrives in fertile soil. Other similar varieties are Foxtail millet, yellow foxtail, and green foxtail.

2) Wild Barley (Hordeum spontaneum)

Wild barley is an annual that grows throughout winter and seeds in spring. If you can identify it and keep it mowed short it won’t become a recurring problem as it has a quick life cycle and can be cut consistently to prevent it from forming seeds. The long ”hairs” on the seedheads can cause irritation to animals’ eyes, skin, gums and get tangled in their coats, so this is not a pet-friendly weed to have growing in your yard.

3) Quackgrass/Couch grass (Elytrigia repens)

Quackgrass is a cold-season invasive perennial. It has rhizomes that spread underground and can split into separate clumps. This means it spreads fast and is very hard to get rid of.

If you notice fast-growing clumps standing taller than your lawn, investigate the possibility of quackgrass. To positively identify it, look at the base of its stem, where the leaf starts, for two clasping finger-like projections that can be found, called auricles. Other than suffocating your beautiful lawn it does not pose a health risk to either you or your pets.

4) Feather Finger Grass (Chloris virgata)

Generally accepted to be native to America, it easily establishes itself as a weed in areas where it is not necessarily welcome. It aggressively invades bare and disturbed patches of ground and spreads easily along roadsides. It is a common weed in cultivated crops such as alfalfa, maize, and sorghum.

5) Barnyard Grass or Junglerice (Echinochloa colona)

Originally from Asia, this annual invasive grass has distinctive reddish-purple stalks bearing seed heads at the top. It grows by branching out from its base. It can commonly be found in grain crops, gardens, waterways, roadsides, or any other area when it can sneak in and establish itself. The grass’s upright panicles are green, often with a purple tinge, and the tip bends over when mature. Neatly 4-rowed racemes are characteristic.

It is found growing predominantly in damp, fertile soils and can withstand seasonal flooding. It grows in more tropical climates such as South Florida, Texas, and in South-Eastern California. The grass begins flowering at 3-4 weeks and reaches 2m in height, so don’t blink or it will be taking over your yard.

So What Problems Can Grassy Weeds Cause?

I am sure that many of you have seen these weeds growing in your lawn and wondered: Why not just leave them? Is this really something that should be causing me to panic?

They generally grow taller than grasses that have been specifically chosen as a lawn grass. This means your lawn will end up with uneven tuffs that need to be mowed more regularly. They are also typically hairy and have rough seed heads, getting caught in pets’ fur, causing skin irritation, and generally just not resulting in a lush, soft lawn that you want to walk over barefoot (there’s truly no better feeling than this!).

Removal Suggestions

Anything you use to kill grassy weeds will generally kill your lawn too. This makes getting rid of this particular weed type that much harder. You should either spray them with a post-emergent weedicide or pull them out, making sure you get all the roots too. The best method for application would be spot treatment with a paintbrush or an accurate jet spray, as you don’t want to kill your lawn grass with any weedicide drift.

Some Lawn Grasses Have a Wheat-Like Appearance Too

Some lawn grasses form wheat-like seed heads too and they aren’t bad news at all. Examples include Perennial ryegrass, Tall Fescue, and Kentucky Bluegrass. They are all cool-season perennial types of grass that originated from Europe and North Asia.

They are commonly used as turf grasses all year round in the cooler northern states, or as winter cover in the warmer southern states. These grasses are usually seeded over summer grasses, like Bermuda, which goes dormant in winter. This keeps the lawn looking green through the cooler winter months.

When they go to seed they have an erect panicle seed head, and although they are much smaller than those of wheat, there are similarities in their formation. Most people keep their lawns nice and short with regular mowing and so you may never notice the grass forming tiny wheat-like seed heads. But don’t be alarmed if you miss a few mowing sessions, let your lawn grow longer and seed these seed heads. It’s not a bad sign.


Like with most things, the best form of defense against lawn weeds is a good offense. In this case a thriving, healthy lawn. Any bare spots, or where the grass is growing sparsely, allows for weed seeds to settle and sprout.

With the correct watering and mowing schedule, your lawn should form a healthy dense mat that doesn’t allow for invasive grassy weeds to establish. However, if you see a tuft of grass growing taller than the rest of your lawn, or a slightly different color to it, or if you see it starting to form a wheat-like seed head, don’t hesitate to grab it and pull it out before it has the chance to reseed.

About Tom Greene

I’ve always had a keen interest in lawn care as long as I can remember. Friends used to call me the “lawn mower guru” (hence the site name), but I’m anything but. I just enjoy cutting my lawn and spending time outdoors. I also love the well-deserved doughnuts and coffee afterward!

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Lawn Weeds

Below are some of the typical weeds found in our area. Call us today to identify the weeds in your yard and to discuss the best options to get rid of them permanently.

Broadleaf Lawn Weeds

Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)

Annual, broadleaf (sometimes survives as a short-lived perennial)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: With its three leaflet, clover-like leaves, this legume is often confused with white clover. Low growing, with trailing, slightly hairy stems, it produces clusters of small, bright yellow flowers in late spring to early summer.

Growth: Black medic is common in lawns from May through September. It is especially prevalent in dry soils where turf is spotty and in high-phosphorus soils. Though an annual, it can be as persistent as a perennial.

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago majo)

Range: throughout the United States and southern Canada

Appearance: Broadleaf plantain has gray-green, egg-shaped, wavy-edged leaves growing in ground-hugging rosettes. Narrow seed heads appear in a long cluster on a central, upright stem.

Growth: Rosettes appear in midspring in thin and weakened turf. Seed stalks rise from early summer through September. The rosette has a tendency to suffocate desirable lawn grasses. Plantain grows from seed and resprouting roots. Seed germinates best in rich, moist, compacted soil.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria Media)

Range: throughout the United States except in the Rocky Mountains

Appearance: Common chickweed is a shallow fibrous rooted winter annual which grows in moist shaded areas. The leaves are small, smooth, pointed at the tip and elliptic in shape. They are opposite on branching creeping stems, which root at the nodes. Chickweed adapts well to different mowing heights. The flowers of common chickweed are white small star like with 5 notched petals. Common chickweed spreads by seed.

Growth: Common Chickweed thrives in cool, moist areas. Growing conditions can be made less favorable by lightening the soil or otherwise improving drainage, especially in shady areas. Heavy, constant shade should be lightened as well where possible. Shady areas should be planted with turfgrass species which do well in the shade and which will provide maximum competition to weed species which invade shady areas.

Clover (Trifolium repens)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: The leaves are compound, with 3 broad leaflets (sometimes 4, if you’re lucky!) 1.3 – 2.5 cm long, with tiny teeth on the edges, a pale triangular mark appears on each leaflet.

Growth: Appear from May to September

Curly Dock (Rumex crispus)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Bright, shiny green, lance-shaped leaves appear in spring. In summer and fall, the puckered wavy edges of the leaves are tinted reddish purple. Flowers appear on a tall, narrow spike coming from the center of the plant.

Growth: Growing from a large, brownish taproot, curly dock is a perennial weed that grows most actively when grass is suffering from the stress of hot, dry weather.

See also  Soaking Weed Seeds For Germination

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Everyone recognizes the bright yellow flowers of dandelions; they appear in early spring and are followed by puffy seed heads. They arise from rosettes of lance-shaped leaves.

Growth: Dandelions emerge in early spring, with flowering commencing as early as April and continuing through summer and fall. The plants reproduce from a long taproot, and from seeds. Seedlings can germinate at any time throughout the growing season.

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederaceae)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Also called creeping Charlie, is a common lawn weed problem. Lawns in shaded areas and often with poorly drained fertile soil are typical sites for ground ivy to develop into a major problem. This plant may form extensive patches as it creeps along the soil and can move into sun areas. Stems are square. Leaves are arranged opposite of each other along stems, and are round to somewhat kidney shaped with rounded, toothed margins. Crushed leaves have a minty odor. Ground ivy has small funnel-shaped purplish-blue flowers.

Growth: April To June

Henbit (Lamium Amplexicaule)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Henbit, a member of the mint family, is an upright winter annual that blooms in the spring. The leaves are rounded on the end with rounded toothed edges that grow opposite one another on square stems Upper leaves lack petioles. Henbit can grow from 4 to 12 inches tall on weak stems.

Growth: Although an upright plant, weak stems sprouting from the bottom may lay almost horizontal. Henbit spreads only by seed and is generally not a problem in dense, vigorous turfgrass sites.

Mouse-Ear Chickweed (Cerastium fontanum vulgare)

Annual or perennial, broadleaf

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: The name of this weed offers a clue to its appearance. It has long, narrow, fleshy leaves that look fuzzy. Small, white flowers appear in late spring and early summer, followed by seed heads in mid summer.

Growth: This weed grows most actively during spring and early summer when it spreads by means of creeping stems that root at the nodes. It grows close to the ground and can withstand low mowing. It grows vigorously in moist, poorly drained, and shaded areas.

Oxalis (Oxalidaceae)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Has bright yellow flowers and green leaves. It grows upright. O. europaea (also called O. Oxalidaceae) is a perennial with seeds and rootstocks so that it sometimes appears to be a creeping vine. The leaves and stems are often purple or reddish.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Range: throughout the United States, especially troublesome east of the Mississippi River

Appearance: Sprawling, thick, fleshy stems with rubbery leaves. Tiny, yellow, five-petaled flowers open when the sun is shining brightly. Cup-shaped seedpods produce many small, black seeds that may lie dormant in the soil for years. Seldom found in the spring when the lawn is treated for other weeds.

Growth: Thrives in hot, dry weather, spreading by sprawling stems. It’s extremely troublesome in thin areas of the lawn or in new lawns seeded in summe

Speedwell (Veronica officinalis)

Perennial or annual, broadleaf

Range: Eastern half of the northeastern United States, except in the extreme South

Appearance: There are several types of speedwell, all characterized by small, lobed, and numerous leaves, and by tiny white or purple flowers. The scallop-edged leaves are paired, growing opposite each other. Heart-shaped seed pods grow on the stems below the flowers.

Growth: Speedwells are among the earliest of lawn weeds to appear, greening up as early as late winter. Most are characterized by creeping stems that root at the nodes. Some show an erect growth habit as they mature. They all thrive in cool, moist soils where turf has thinned.

Spurge (Euphorbia esula)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: 6 to 36 inches in height. Erect stems support linear, alternate, and apetiolate leaves of a bluish-green hue. The species exhibits yellow-green inflorescence on an umbel near the top of the stem. The yellow-green bracts are the most colorful and conspicuous part of the plant. A milky white sap (latex) is present in all parts of the plant, and aids in identification.

Growth: The plant occurs primarily in non-cropland habitats, including roadsides, prairies, savannas, and woodlands. It is tolerant of a wide range of habitats, from damp to very dry soils.

Wild Violet (Viola Pratincola)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Wild violet is a winter perennial, growing 2 – 5 inches tall. It can have a tap root or a fibrous root system, and also can produce rooting stolons and rhizomes. The leaves can vary but usually are heart shaped, on long petioles with scalloped to shallow rounded margins. The flowers of wild violet range from white to blue to purple. Wild violet flowers are pansy-like with three lower petals and two lateral petals on long single flower stalks.

Growth: Appear from March to June

Sedge Lawn Weeds

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)

Range: throughout the United States

A related species, purple nutsedge, is especially prevalent in the Southeast

Appearance: Though it resembles a grass, yellow nutsedge is actually a sedge. Its coarse, light green leaves grow upright from triangular stems. Seed heads appear from July to October.

Growth: Reproduces mainly from underground tubers; however, they can reproduce by seeds and underground stems. Tubers store food and are drought tolerant. Yellow nutsedge grows vigorously in summer, especially under moist conditions; primarily troublesome in closely mowed lawns.

Grassy Lawn Weeds

Annual Bluegrass (Poa Annua)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Annual bluegrass has a boat-shaped tip, folded in the bud. The ligule is membranous and auricles are absent. Annual bluegrass has a small panicle seedhead.

Growth: Annual bluegrass contains both annual and perennial species. Annual bluegrass forms dense patches that can withstand low mowing heights. Germination occurs in late summer and early spring.

Barnyard Grass (Echinochloa Crusgalli)

Range: throughout the United States and Mexico

Appearance: The leaves of barnyardgrass are rolled in the bud and contain neither a ligule nor auricles; the sheath is open but compressed. The mid-vein is thick and keeled; roots are fibrous.

Growth: Barnyardgrass is a summer annual which has tillers which lie flat and form secondary roots resulting in a mat formation. Barnyardgrass spreads by seed which germinate in late spring and early summer. The seedhead is a coarsely branched green to purplish panicle with spiked awns.

Bermuda Grass (Cynoden Dactylon)

Range: Southern areas of the United States

Appearance: The leaves of bermudagrass are folded in the bud, and the sheath is strongly compressed. The leaf is short, approximately 1/8 inch wide with rough edges. The seedhead of Bermudagrass consists of 3 – 7 finger-like spikes.

Growth: Bermudagrass is found in open sunny areas. Bermudagrass does not grow in the shade. It can be found in turf, landscapes and in most cultural crops. Bermudagrass is very tolerant of low mowing, and can be found on both dry and wet soils.

Dallis Grass (Paspalum dilatatum)

Range: Coastal states from New Jersey to California, and as far north as Missouri

Appearance: Coarse blades, somewhat upright in a bunch-type growth. Rhizomes are so closely jointed that they appear almost scaly. Stems 2 to 6 inches long emerge from the plant center in a starlike pattern. Seed heads are sparsely branched on long stems. Seeds lie dormant over the winter and sprout very early in spring.

Growth: This is a summer weed in many areas of the country, but it grows throughout the year in mild climates, and thrives in those areas that are low and wet.

Foxtail (Setaria Glauca)

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: he leaves are rolled in the bud. The collar is narrow and continuous. The seedhead is a bushy, erect spike which resembles the tail of a fox. GROWTH: Yellow foxtail is a summer annual which germinates when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees F.

Goose Grass

Range: Goosegrass is found in the United States from the transition zone south

Appearance: Goosegrass is a prostrate-growing summer annual. The leaves are folded in the bud. Goosegrass grows in a clump with the base of the leaves being distinctively white to silver in color. The ligule is toothed, membranous, and divided at the center. Goosegrass contains hairs only at the base of the leaf.

Growth: Goosegrass is highly competitive during hot summers, and can outcompete desirable grasses where soil is compacted. Core aeration should be provided to improve soil conditions for desirable grasses. Single plants can be physically removed with a knife. Do not seed when soil and weather conditions are appropriate for the germination of goosegrass (60 to 65 degrees F). A slightly raised mowing height may help prevent the establishment of crabgrass by providing shade from sunlight.

Smooth Crabgrass and Hairy Crabgrass (Digitaria Ischaemum and D. Sanguinalis)

Annual, grassy

Range: throughout the United States

Appearance: Smooth and hairy crabgrass have a prostrate growth habit with coarse, light green blades. The blades are short, pointed, and hairy.

Growth: This vigorous, warm-season annual grass grows rapidly from early spring until seed heads form in late summer to early fall. It grows especially well in lawns that are watered lightly, underfertilized, poorly drained, and growing thinly. The plant spreads by seed, and to a lesser extent, by rooting from the lower swollen nodes of stems.