No homeowner wants to worry about weeds taking over a healthy lawn or garden, potentially killing your grass and flowers and siphoning nutrients from wanted plants. Combatting weed growth is essential for land management, but it isn’t easy.
Most weeds are resilient and infiltrate lawns, fields, gardens, flower beds, roadsides and sidewalks. Common reasons for weed growth include:
Although several factors may contribute to unwanted spring weeds in Maryland lawns, growth is far from predictable. Even the most manicured turf is at risk without professional intervention.
Common chickweed is an annual green winter weed with smooth leaves that spread low against the ground, often forming dense patches of thick mats that inhibit turf or wanted plant growth. This weed forms shallow, fibrous root systems that may grow upright with mat formation.
Common chickweed thrives in cool weather, damp conditions and shade. It can germinate and spread in various environmental and soil conditions, especially once the roots take hold.
One chickweed plant can produce more than 800 seeds over several months, some of which may lie dormant beneath the ground for a decade or more. Chickweed seeds and uprooted clippings or root systems can easily reestablish in the ground, especially if they weren’t removed properly before. Farm grains are especially vulnerable to nutrient loss due to chickweed growth.
Common chickweed is more likely to grow in areas like close-mowed lawns and flower beds without mulch. The weed can also harbor multiple moth types, spider mites and some vegetable diseases that will spread to other plants on your property if left unchecked.
The entire root system and plant must be removed manually or with a hoe to prevent regrowth. Some herbicide treatments may help manage common chickweed if applied correctly.
Dandelions are yellow flowering spring weeds with multiple tiny flowers forming the head’s petal shape. A fuzzy brown fruit is in the simple perennial’s center eye. The stem is green and stalky with a latex sap inside. Flowers are easiest to see during spring blooms but often grow year-round in mild climates. Dandelions are a common nectar and pollen source for bees and butterflies.
Dandelions have resilient, shallow taproot systems that make them competitive for soil nutrients and growth space. The average dandelion produces 15,000 seeds — part of the pappus, which has noticeable feathery white hairs that disperse quickly through wind movement and germinate upon landing. They can easily overtake existing crops, like turf or flowers, and may get out of hand quickly.
These yellow weeds are common in places like:
Dandelions are notoriously challenging to manage and remove. They can host yellow aster disease and excess minerals and have fibers that damage mowing equipment. Heat and insufficient moisture will not eliminate a dandelion population, and hand-pulling only works if you work deep enough to remove the entire taproot system. The remaining roots should be chopped into pieces and disposed of.
Removal is most effective with a summer and autumn management plan, including herbicides.
Henbit is a winter annual with broad leaves that produce pink and purple flowers, typically in the spring. Although seeds germinate and vegetate over fall and winter, the flowers and seeds will die out as temperatures get hotter.
As a member of the mint family, this weed has square, hairy stems and whorl petals that produce more than 2,000 seeds per plant. These seeds are robust, remaining active and viable for several decades. Their fibrous root systems can grow up to 16 inches high, and they’re common in places like roadsides, lawns, fields and shaded areas with rich soil. Thin or weak grass is especially vulnerable to infestation.
Despite their fast-spreading techniques, henbit doesn’t typically compete for soil nutrients. That doesn’t mean they’re safe — they can also attract spider mites and tomato wilting diseases.
You can’t effectively remove henbit with mowing, but some handpicking may be effective. The best way to avoid these weeds is to support a strong, aerated turf with adequate moisture. Some herbicide treatments may also help.
You’ll quickly recognize this cool-season perennial by its garlicky smell. Wild garlic is a member of the lily family and is common in the winter months. The hollow, rounded leaves grow in the spring, sprouting from small seeds and bulbs throughout warm weather. Depending on the month, you might see green or white flowers at the top.
These weeds grow in various soil types and can withstand mowing. Hand-pulling is not an effective removal or management strategy, as many bulbs are likely to remain hidden underground. Work with a professional to develop strong, healthy grass and implement pre-growth and post-growth treatment plans.
Bluegrass is a green, grass-like weed that grows in moist, compacted soil during cooler weather. They have boat-shaped leaves with seed clusters that produce more than 350 seeds.
Bluegrass is especially common in:
Depending on where they’re growing, these weeds can be unsightly or slippery to walk on. They can also form thick mats along the ground making it impossible for wanted plants to grow and get nutrients.
Although bluegrass has a weak, shallow root system, it’s nearly impossible to eradicate it. Management is a better use of resources. Work with a professional for a well-irrigated turf with aerated dirt. You might also implement some herbicide treatments.
Deadnettle looks similar to henbit, with short, thick purple and pink flowers and pointed leaves. They have upright square stems and are especially visible during the spring months. These early spring flowering weeds form dense patches with fibrous root systems and quickly produce seeds that germinate in fall and spring.
As a member of the mint family, these weeds thrive in areas where dirt is disturbed, especially along buildings and in places with moist soil and some sun. Despite having “nettle” in the name, deadnettle is not poisonous or dangerous to touch. They are a popular source of pollen for bees.
The best way to manage deadnettle is to support a strong, dense turf mowed at the correct height for the season. You can pull these weeds by hand if the soil is damp. Avoid over-mowing and use herbicide treatments as recommended by a professional.
Hairy bittercress is a winter or summer annual, sometimes a biennial, that belongs to the mustard family. It grows low to the ground and has rounded leaf rosettes and branch-like growth reaching 10 inches tall. These fibrous, upright stems often produce small white flowers that create seeds during the spring.
These weeds are more easily recognized during spring flowering, but you may overlook them if you mow your lawn frequently. Regular mowing can help reduce growth rates and remove some stems if you do it early enough.
Hairy bittercress germinates more than once in a season with an abundance of quick-spreading seeds. You’ll spot these weeds in gardens, paved areas and inside ornamental landscaping designs.
Minimize bittercress growth by supporting a dense turf. Pull or dig noticeable weeds and apply herbicides as directed.
Treat and manage your residential weeds with these tips:
Personalized weed management from Organic Lawns is a safer, more cost-efficient method for removing weeds and promoting a healthy lawn. We’re experts in specific weeds and know the crucial roles that the environment and seasons play.
Contact us today to learn more about thorough weed removal and management services for your property.