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Typical Lawn Weeds and How to Handle Them

by Kelly Richardson, All About Lawns Columnist

For those homeowners who take pride in their lawns, weeds are public enemy number one. They can invade your property, squeeze the life out of healthy turf, and make a mess of your yard. But recognizing the most common types of lawn weeds and knowing how to deal with them is the best way to reclaim your yard.

Consider these startling statistics provided by John Pohly, a horticulture agent with the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: "A single redroot pigweed plant can produce more than 100,000 seeds. A purslane plant produces more than 50,000. A kochia plant can yield 14,000 seeds. If half of these seeds reproduce, you'd have more than 80,000 new weeds to pull!"

How would you like to improve your lawn?
  • Make it greener
  • Eliminate patches
  • Less weeds
  • Make it thicker
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But don't let these facts scare you into non-action. Here are some of the more common weeds of North America and how you can stop them. 

Common Lawn Weeds

  • Bindweed. Other common names include wild morning glory and creeping jenny. An extensive root system makes them difficult to pull. Paint a low-grade herbicide on the flower portions of the weed in August and September.
  • Broadleaf Plantain. This low-growing perennial is marked by broad leaves with prominent veins. It has a habit of smothering grass blades. Herbicides work well against these troublesome weeds.
  • Common Groundsel. This early-season weed is a maximum seed producer. They prefer damp, moist soil and can infiltrate your flowering beds as well as your lawn. Roundup works well here.
  • Crabgrass. This summer annual has wide blades and a light blue color with red-purplish stems. Keeping your lawn mowed high will help control this crabgrass. There are also special crabgrass herbicides made for this pest.
  • Dandelion. This perennial has yellow flowers and an extensive root system. Dandelions can appear anytime between March and November. Common herbicides should be applied to these lawn weeds during the fall months.
  • Pigweed. This is an annual weed that can reach heights of two to four feet. Pigweed plants can produce upwards of 100,000 seeds per sprout. Spot treat these lawn weeds with Roundup or any other commercial grade herbicide. 

Use Herbicides Carefully

Always consult your local home and garden specialist before you apply any type of herbicide to your lawn, to make sure you are buying the proper product. And never mix herbicides together, as this could have disastrous effects on your healthy grass.

About the Author
Kelly Richardson has obsessive compulsive lawn disorder and is afflicted with the need to share his knowledge with the world. Kelly writes lawn columns for a variety of home and garden magazines and e-zines.

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