Barnyardgrass is a summer annual that has flattened stems near the base and hairless flat leaf blades that are rolled in the bud. It grows 1 to 4 feet tall with leaves that can grow 3 to 20 inches long. Barnyardgrass spreads by seed which germinate in late spring and early summer and it flowers from July to October.
The seed head is a coarsely branched green to purplish panicle, or flower head, with spiked awns. A single barnyard plant can produce 7,000 or more seeds. Barnyard is found in moist, healthy soils and can be found throughout the United States. To slow down the effect of Barnyard, mow at a low height in order to prevent the formation of the seed head.
Bermudagrass is a low growing, creeping wiry perennial with aboveground and belowground shoots called stolons and rhizomes. The leaves of Bermudagrass are smooth and folded in the bud with a ring of white hairs at the junction of the blade and the sheath. The leaf is short, approximately 1/8 inch wide with rough edges.
Bermudagrass is found in open sunny areas and does not grow in the shade. Bermudagrass is very tolerant of low mowing, and can be found in both dry and wet soils. The seed heads form in a cluster of 2 to 6 spikes at the top of the stem.
Black medic is a low-growing summer or winter annual, but can act as a short-lived perennial in some conditions. The leaf is a broadleaf that is similar to clover having three leaflets. The flower of black medic is a cluster of 10 to 20 bright yellow flowers that form a rounded flower head on short branches. The seed pod turns black upon maturity.
Black medic is found throughout the continental United States. Black Medic grows in compacted soil and you can usually find it on the side of the road or a sidewalk. If you find Black Medic in your lawn, it may be a sign that your soil is too compacted.
Bristly mallow is a low-growing, creeping perennial with bristly haired broadleaf’s that sometimes acts as an annual. It has shiny, light green leaves which alternate on the stem. Bristly mallow has a deep strong taproot that helps to give the plant structure and makes it hard to uproot. The flower is an orange-red color and less than 1/2-inch wide, appearing in late spring to early summer.
The flower is a cup-like shape and is found at the connection of the stem and leaf. Bristly mallow’s leaves are highly variable, ranging from egg shaped to palm shaped with deep lobes. It can be found in the southern and coastal United States.
Broadleaf plantain is a shallow fibrous rooted broadleaf perennial that sometimes acts as an annual. Broadleaf plantain is similar to other plantain species as it has basal rosettes of leaves and leafless spikes of flowers, but it does not have the purple color at the petiole of the leaves like many do.
Broadleaf plantain can be distinguished from Buckhorn plantain by its broader leaves and by having longer flower head spikes. It can be found in compacted and soggy soils where most plants cannot flourish. Broadleaf plantain is found throughout all of the United States.
Buckhorn plantain is a broadleaf, slim, fibrous rooted perennial or annual. Compared to other plantains, buckhorn is more tolerant of drought. The leaves are long, slender leafs that are pale green with parallel veins and approximately one inch across.
Buckhorn flowers from April to August with white stamens. The flowers are closely clustered at the end of the long stems. The stalks can be hard to cut with mowers. Buckhorn is found throughout the entire continental United States.
Canadian thistle is an aggressive perennial with creeping roots. The roots can extend up to 17 feet wide and 20 feet deep. It has grooved stems that are slightly hairy when young, becoming covered with hair as the plant grows. The alternate and oblong, tapering, leaves are divided, with prickly, lobed margins.
The flask-shaped flower heads contain many small tubular flowers that appear on upper stems from June to October. The flowers vary in color from white to blue to purple with most flowers being rose-purple. Canadian thistle can be one of the most difficult weeds to get rid of and without the proper approach it can make efforts to dispense of the weed very frustrating.
Carpetweed is a broadleaf summer annual that, unlike most other weeds, germinates later on in the spring and summer making it more likely to be missed by early weed treatments. It has smooth branching stems forming low-growing circular mats that can spread up to 2 feet. The smooth leaves are light green in color. The leaves form in whorl patterns and usually contain 3 to 8 leaves.
Carpetweed produces small flowers that are white, contain five petals, and form clusters of two to five flowers in mid-to-late summer. Carpetweed is found throughout most of North America. Because the branches lie so close to the ground, they usually are not affected by mowing.
Mouseear chickweed is a winter perennial herb with creeping stems. It reproduces by seeds and spreads via its shallow and fibrous root system. The green or purple branched stems can grow 6 to 20 inches long. The leaves are dark greyish-green, opposite, covered with short white hairs and attached at the stem of the weed.
The white flowers of mouseear chickweed bloom throughout the summer and contain 5 petals which are slightly notched at the tip. Mouseear chickweed is found all throughout United States and into southern Canada. The weed thrives in areas where grass is thin, so maintaining a healthy lawn is essential to preventing mouseear chickweed.
White clover is a shallow rooted winter creeping perennial broadleaf plant. The white clover plant has trifoliate leaves consisting of three oval-shaped leaflets which are all joined at a central point and originate at the nodes along the stems. The leaves may contain a white crescent-shaped ‘watermark’ on the middle of the leaf.
White flowers and sometimes pink ones will appear in early summer months. White clover is adapted to many soils but tends to grow best in soils that are moist and low in nitrogen. This is because white clover is capable of fixing its own nitrogen. White clover flowers from May through September and is found throughout the United States.
Crabgrass is a summer annual that germinates when soil temperatures reach 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and seeds are produced from id-summer to fall. The plant is usually killed at the first frost in fall. Crabgrass is light green in color, has coarse blades and flat, often purplish stems.
The leaves are flat and have a very prominent midvein. A single crabgrass plant can produce up to 700 tillers. A crabgrass plant can produce 150,000 seeds. Crabgrass produces flowers from June through October. It needs warm soils and sunlight to germinate and is found throughout the United States.
Corn Speedwell is an upright, clumping winter annual that germinates in mid-fall. The lower leaves are round oblong with round toothed margins that are in opposite arrangement. The upper leaves of the weed are much narrower and pointed in shape. The plant is covered with fine hairs.
Corn Speedwell flowers are small and white to blue in color and are found in the leaf axis. The seed develops into a distinctive heart shape containing numerous yellow seeds. Corn Speedwell is distributed throughout the United States and typically does not carry on very long after flowering.
Creeping Woodsorrel is similar to yellow woodsorrel, but it is a low-growing summer perennial broadleaf plant with shamrock-like leaves. The aboveground stems grow horizontally to about 12 inches long in a creeping fashion and root at the stem joints allowing it to spread to new areas.
The leaves of Creeping Woodsorrel closely resemble those of clover and are deeply lobed with a heart shape. Leaves are generally green to reddish purple. Creeping Woodsorrel spreads by seeds. The flowers are yellow and contain 5 petals forming in clusters of 2 to 5 where the leaf stalk and stem meet. Creeping Woodsorrel is found in eastern North America, to North Dakota and Colorado.
Dandelion is a winter perennial and a member of the daisy family. The dandelion has a thick strong tap root which often branches and may extend to 6 feet. Common dandelion seedlings can appear in early spring in lawns. The leaves are spoon-shaped and yellow-green in color. Both the leaves and flower stems contain a white milky fluid. The flowers are yellow and have individual stems. The yellow flower will eventually turn into a white sphere-like puff ball.
Dandelions flower in spring and fall when the days are less than 12 hours. The seeds are dispersed by wind and most of the pollen grains are infertile. They spread by both seed and stems from the root. Dandelion is found throughout the United States.
Yellow foxtail is a shallow-rooted summer annual which germinates when soil temperatures reach 65 degrees Fahrenheit and reproduces by seeds. The stems of yellow foxtail grow 1 to 2 feet tall and branch at the base of the weed. The leaves are pale green and rolled in the bud. The blades of yellow foxtail contain hairs near the ligule that are fused together at the base.
The growth habit of yellow foxtail is erect and it tends to grow in clumps because the stems root at the joints. A major identifying characteristic of yellow foxtail is the seed head which is a bushy and resembles the tail of a fox. Foxtail is found throughout the United States, but is most heavy in the Midwest and East.
Wild Garlic / Wild Onion
Wild onion and wild garlic are both winter perennials that are usually noticeable in lawns because they grow faster than the surrounding grass. Both weeds are drought tolerant and grow in almost any soil type from wet to dry. The leaves are slender, erect, waxy, upright and needle shaped growing 8 to 12 inches long.
The flowers of wild garlic develop on the top of the short stems above aerial bulbs and are white purplish to green in color. Both wild onion and wild garlic spread by bulbs, seed and bulblets although the spreading by seed is less frequent. When crushed, the wild garlic gives off a strong garlic odor. Both wild onion and wild garlic are distributed throughout the United States.
Goosegrass, also called wiregrass, is a summer annual grass and sometimes, a perennial. It is usually found in heavily compacted areas and grows close to the ground. Goosegrass grows in a clump-like bushy shape with the base of the leaves being distinctively white to silver in color.
It can survive in a wide range of environments, but cannot survive in frost. Goosegrass spreads by seeds that germinate later in the season than other annual grasses. Goosegrass is found in almost all of the United States except for the northwest.
Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie, is a shallow rooted creeping broadleaf winter perennial that reproduces by seeds and creeping stems. The leaves are round and sometimes kidney shaped with round toothed edges. It is usually found in damp shaded areas of rich soil, but also tolerates the sun very well.
Ground ivy will form dense mats which can take over areas of turfgrass by shading. The flowers of ground ivy are blue to lavender and grow in clusters. Ground ivy is more common in the East, but can be found throughout the United States.
There are two kinds of hawkweeds, a yellow and an orange. Hawkweeds are winter perennials that produce a large amount of seeds and can hybridize with many other plant species. The leaves, stems and flower stalks are covered with fibrous hair and contain a milky latex substance.
The leaves are oblong and club shaped. It prospers in full sun or partial shade. Hawkweed flower heads resemble dandelions, but are smaller and appear several weeks after dandelions. The flowers form in clusters of vibrant orange or yellow heads. Hawkweeds are found throughout the eastern United States.
Henbit is an upright broadleaf winter annual that blooms in the spring. The leaves are rounded on the end with hairy rounded toothed edges. Henbit can grow to 1.3 feet tall. Henbit can be confused with purple deadnettle.
The flowers of henbit bloom from March to August and are purple, tubular shaped and form in the whorls of the upper leaves. Henbit spreads only by seed and is generally not a problem in dense, vigorous turfgrass sites even though it is found throughout the United States.
Yellow thistle, or yellow starthistle, is a broadleaf winter annual. The mature leaves are very spiny and contain large toothed cut lobes that can develop into impenetrable strands. Yellow thistle is a gray-green to blue-green plant that can grow from 6 inches to 6 feet tall.
The leaves are covered with stiff hairs and fine cottony hairs. The flowers are produced in the late spring and seeds are produced over the summer. Yellow thistle is found along the East Coast from Maine to Florida. It can be found along marshy areas west to Texas as well.
Prostrate Knotweed, or common knotweed, is a short-lived broadleaf summer annual, which forms dense patches. Common knotweed is a prostrate annual plant that produces a thin tap root and multiple branched stems. Prostrate knotweed can tolerate extremely compacted soils and is often found in high traffic areas.
The flowers of knotweed are small pink to white and bloom from May through November. The flower heads are found at the top of short stalks that grow from the bases of the leaves. Prostrate knotweed reproduces by seeds and is found throughout North America.
Pennywort is a summer perennial broadleaf weed with creeping stems. It grows on land and also in water. Pennywort usually forms in dense low-growing mats on damp soil near water or in shallow bodies of water. The leaves of pennywort are round or kidney shaped, alternate to one another along the stem and approximately 1 inch in diameter.
The pennywort flower is small with five white or green pedals and forms in clusters on the end of long stems called umbel stalk forming an umbrella-like flower head. The flowers bloom from March through August with five to ten flowers attaching to the umbel stalk. Pennywort is found along the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida and westward to Minnesota, Texas, Utah, Arizona and California.
Poison ivy can be an erect woody shrub or a climbing vine with alternating leaves on red stems. Leaves are glossy and have 3 smooth, wavy, lobed or toothed leaflets that turn red in the autumn. The flowers are usually inconspicuous and have five green petals.
Poison ivy forms a small creamy white berry in the fall containing a single seed. Poison ivy spreads by seeds and prefers shaded areas. The entire plant is poisonous because all parts of it contain the oil Urushiol which can irritate the skin. Poison ivy is found in almost every state except for California.
Quackgrass is a blue-green perennial grass. It can be found in moist meadows, urban landscapes and disturbed areas. Quackgrass is erect and can form in clumps that grow to almost 4 feet tall. The leaves are rolled in the bud, flat and the upper surface of the leaf blade is rough.
Quackgrass remains green year round. Flowering occurs from May through September and the flower head is a spike 2 to 8 inches long. Quackgrass is found in most of the continental United States except for Alabama, Florida, Missouri, and New Orleans.
Purslane, or common purslane, is a summer annual broadleaf plant that grows rapidly in spring and summer. It contains prostrate growth from a tap root and fibrous surface roots. The plant prefers loose, nutrient rich soil.
The leaves are thick and waxy, and arranged either opposite one another or alternate along the stem. The flower is yellow in color and has 5 petals, flowering from May through September. Purslane is found all throughout the United States, but less in the Pacific Northwest.
Poison oak is a perennial broadleaf vine or shrub that is sometimes treelike in form. It is considered one of the most hazardous plants in the western United States. Poison oak contains the same chemical as poison ivy, urushiol. Contact dermatitis can occur in individuals with an allergic response as a result of direct contact with broken plant tissue or contact with something or someone that has touched the tissue.
It is identified by two to seven deep lobes resembling oak leaves. Lobes can be smooth, wavy, or slightly rounded. Like poison ivy, leaflets are grouped three per leaf, and flowers are yellowish-green. Poison oak is found throughout the southeast and along the Pacific coast in the United States.
Red sorrel, also referred to as sheep sorrel, is a summer perennial that reproduces by seeds and shallow horizontal roots. The leaves are arrow-shaped, low to the ground and red to brown in color with smooth margins.
The leaves become thick and fleshy over the summer months and alternate along the stem. Flowers are produced from May to September. The male flowers are yellow to red and the female flowers are greenish to brown. Red sorrel spreads by seeds and is found throughout the United States.
Spotted spurge is a low-growing summer annual broadleaf plant that often forms a dense mat. It can cause contact dermatitis in humans and animals through its sap. Not only is spotted spurge harmful, it is a host for fungal diseases and attracts pests that damage crops. Spotted spurge has a more erect growth habit than prostrate spurge. They both have small and oblong shaped leaves with an irregular red to purple spot, but the leaf of spotted spurge is slightly larger than that of prostrate spurge.
The flower of spotted spurge is small and green in color and flowering takes place from May through October. Both types of spurges are found throughout the United States.
Wild strawberry is a low trailing creeping winter perennial that spreads by stolons. The leaves and fruit of wild strawberry are similar, although smaller, to cultivated strawberries. The leaves are trifoliolate with long and very hairy petioles. The leaves have sharp-toothed margins in groups of three.
The flowers are produced from April to June and are white with a yellow center containing five petals. The fruit is a red strawberry with many small dry seeds in pits on the surface. Wild strawberries are found throughout most of the United States and Canada.
Wild violet is a low-growing clumping winter perennial, growing 2 to 5 inches tall. Wild Violet has a dense and fibrous root system with heart shaped leaves on long petioles that often cup to form a funnel shape. The flowers of wild violet range from are usually violet in color, but can also be deep blue to completely white and appear from March to June.
Wild violets are found throughout the United States, except for the Rocky Mountains. They are more common where they are sold as ornamental ground covers. It can be difficult to control wild violet because of its aggressive growth, so proper fertilizer treatments should be considered.
Nutsedge is a perennial weed in the sedge family that closely resembles grasses. Nutsedge comes in two different types, purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge. Sedges are not grass plants, but seedlings may be mistaken for grass. The leaves on both sedges are waxy and have an upright growth habit and, unlike grass leaves, they lack collars, ligules, and auricles. The flowers of yellow nutsedge are straw-colored to golden brown; the seed head color of purple nutsedge is dark reddish to purplish brown. Both seed heads are on triangular stems and contain spikelets.
Both spread mainly by germinating underground tubers that are attached to underground stems. Sedges do well where soil has poor drainage. Yellow nutsedge is found throughout the United States and purple nutsedge is primarily found in the warm humid southern states. Nutsedge can be difficult to control and difficult to spot because of its grass-like appearance so be sure to get proper weed control when treating.
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