10 Most Common Weeds: How to Identify and Treat Them

how to identify and treat common weeds

Weed control is one of the most important steps when it comes to maintaining a healthy, lush lawn, but how do you actually know that what’s growing in your yard is a weed or not? Check out our guide below to help you identify the most common weeds so they can be properly treated.

Wild Violet

How It Grows: Wild Violet, a low-growing weed that can be easily identified by its purple or blue flowers, survives best in damp, shady areas with minimal grass coverage.

How to Control It: The best time to treat your yard for this weed is in the fall before it establishes its roots. One key to banishing wild violet is by growing a lush, thick lawn — remember, this weed permeates where there is low grass coverage. Lastly, you can manually remove this weed from your lawn by pulling it from the soil thanks to its long roots, but it cannot be treated by a pre-emergent.

wild violet

Clover

How It Grows: Clover — a low-growing weed that produces small, white flowers and rounded leaves with white bands — does best in cool, damp areas with silt-like soil.

How to Control It: Like wild violet, keeping your lawn healthy and thick will prevent clover from taking root and spreading. Otherwise, it’s best to manually remove this weed from your lawn by hand-pulling them straight up and out of the ground. Pre-emergent treatments will help to prevent clover from coming back once you remove it from your yard.

Remember, however, that even though clover is a weed, it’s actually great for your lawn, so you may want to think twice about removing it.

Dandelion

How It Grows: As one of the most common weeds, dandelion sprouts in the spring and spreads quickly, making it easy to spot with its distinct yellow flowers and tooth-like leaves. 

How to Control It: Dandelion grows in lawns that are moist and receive good sun exposure, but treating your lawn with a pre-emergent in late winter will help to stop this weed in its tracks before it’s even able to grow. If you choose to manually remove this weed, make sure that you successfully remove all of the taproots because any portion of root left behind will lead to more growth — which may be the reason why when your kids pick dandelions and hand you these “flowers,” they continue to grow and grow!

Canada Thistle

How It Grows: Canada thistle is an aggressive weed that can reach about 3-5 feet tall. You can identify this weed by its tooth-like leaves and sometimes lavender or pink flowers that spring up in late summer. 

How to Control It: This weed prefers ditch banks, pastures, and crops, but it is also frequently seen in backyards. Its deep taproots and sturdiness make this weed hard to control, so it’s best to begin treating this weed as soon as you identify it because the treatment process spans several seasons. This is one weed that you do NOT want to pull, as it may cause the roots to split, leading to the growth to now two plants instead of one.

Nutsedge

How It Grows: Identifying nutsedge might prove to be more challenging than the other, more distinct weeds you encounter because of its grass-like appearance. However, this weed will typically stand taller than the rest of the grass in your yard, even if it has been cut recently, and can grow in almost any type of soil.


How to Control It: Much like Canada thistle, nutsedge can be especially difficult to control. In order to fully remove this weed from your lawn, you will have to dig at least 8 inches around a cluster and 10 inches deep to remove the root system. A post-emergent will also help to rid your lawn of this weed. 

nutsedge

 

Crabgrass

How It Grows: Crabgrass is a low-lying weed that can grow up to two feet tall if left unmowed. The stems of this weed are easy to identify because they grow horizontally instead of upward like other grasses. 

How to Control It: Keeping your lawn cut to a reasonable height will help to control this weed, as it favors sunny areas and doesn’t do well with shade. Pre-emergent and post-emergent treatments will also help to prevent this weed from spreading. 

 

Quackgrass

How It Grows: Quackgrass has long stems with bluish-green leaves that are long and jointed in appearance. Although it grows in many types of soil, it’s most commonly found in most sites, especially soils that are acidic or alkaline.

How to Control It: Dig it up! Make sure you get all of the roots to prevent further spreading. Like many of the other weeds we have covered, this weed doesn’t do well in a lush, thick lawn. 

 

Bindweed

How It Grows: The distinguishing characteristic of bindweed is its white, bell-shaped flower and arrowhead leaves. Bindweed is found just about everywhere, including farmland, fields, and residential yards. 

How to Control It: This hardy weed is treated by using a pre-emergent before it germinates and by keeping your lawn strong and thick. Because its root system can stretch up to 20 feet deep, pulling it is proven to be ineffective.

 

Broadleaf Plantain 

How It Grows: Broadleaf plantain is low-growing and thick with oval leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. It thrives in locations where other plants don’t grow, but don’t be surprised if it pops up in your lawn, depending on its condition.

How to Control It: Another challenging plant to control, be sure to apply a pre-emergent and keep your lawn healthy and thick. Immediately pull new seedlings if you see them start to pop up around your yard before they grow too strong to remove. 

 

Lambsquarters

How It Grows: Lambsquarters has pale, sometimes gray, leaves covered in a powdery substance, which make it easy to identify. It can grow up to 5 feet tall if left untreated, especially when in low and wet areas.

How to Control It: Seedlings are easily carried by the wind and blown into yards where they survive and establish roots. Keeping your lawn thick and shaded will prevent these seedlings from growing, but can also pull this plant and treat your yard with a pre-emergent.

 

Although it can be frustrating to feel like you’re constantly playing whack-a-mole on your weeds, remember that consistent effort will help to remove these weeds once and for all from your beautiful yard.

If you don't want to pull, we've got you covered. 

For weeds that can be controlled with a post-emergent, your best option is to use a natural post emergent like Pulverize, an iron based post emergent that you can hook up to a hose and spray on your lawn. 

For the weeds that need to be eradicated with a pre-emergent, our organic Weed Wipeout will do the trick.