Broadleaf weeds are highly aggressive and exceptionally tenacious plants that attack your lawn’s weakest areas. They’re easy to identify, however, simply because they don’t look anything like grass. They actually have long flat leaves and a couple of common examples are dandelions and chickweed. Dandelions are especially insidious since they broadcast thousands of tiny airborne seeds from one lawn to another. That means that, if even one yard in your neighborhood has those bright yellow flowers growing in it, then it’s a sure bet that you’ll soon have them, too. Unfortunately, they can take over your lawn very quickly and are also bee magnets. And, if your kids and pets play in the yard, then it’s not only your lawn that’s at risk but they are, too; especially since some children and pets can have allergic reactions to bee stings.
Where Do Broadleaf Weeds Come From?
This is actually one of the most common questions that homeowners ask. Their seeds actually occur naturally in all types of soil in any location. Unfortunately, they have the ability to persist for more than 30 or more years and are exceptionally prolific. Some broadleaf weeds are capable of producing literally thousands of seeds. Those seeds are then dispersed all over lawns that may be many miles away from the actual plant. In some cases, the seeds could already be in the topsoil that is introduced into a landscape for planting purposes.
So Many Weeds & So Little Time!
You may be wondering just how many varieties of broadleaf weeds there actually are out there. Well, would you believe it’s 130+? That’s according to extensive research by the University of Georgia. And, that’s way too many weeds for you to try and fight on your own. From Black Medic to Yellow Wood Sorrel, you would have your hands full just trying to identify them all, let alone kill them effectively. We know that you have better things to do, which is why we recommend that you leave the weed control to the professionals for the best results.
Broadleaf Weed Classifications
By growth cycles:
Expansive root systems make these difficult to control. Some common annuals can include these broadleaf weeds:
– Black Medic is a low-growing weed that can grow to 32 inches tall. It has hairy teardrop-shaped leaves similar to those on clovers and bears flowers from April-July that are yellow. Its fruit is small and kidney-shaped, turning black when it’s ripe.~ Broadleaf Dock grows year-round and has shiny pointed leaves that cover a lot of space.
– Broadleaf Dock grows year-round and has shiny pointed leaves that cover a lot of space.~ Buckhorn Plantains grow upright, forming groupings of very long leaves often up to 8 inches in length.
~ Carolina Geraniums have deep taproots and lavender petals approximately 1/2″ long filled with seeds.~ Curly Dock has a spike growing out of the top of the plant and shiny leaves.
~ Curly Dock has a spike growing out of the top of the plant and shiny leaves.~ Fleabane is an exceptionally hardy weed with flowers that look just like daisies. It can grow as tall as three feet and then create shade that can hurt some surrounding grasses and other plants. It can also grow just about anywhere, even in gravel.
~ Fleabane is an exceptionally hardy weed with flowers that look just like daisies. It can grow as tall as three feet and then create shade that can hurt some surrounding grasses and other plants. It can also grow just about anywhere, even in gravel.~ Hairy Galinsoga is a fast-spreading invasive weed that can grow to be two feet tall. It has hairy little egg-shaped green leaves and small white flowers with round yellow centers.
~ Hairy Galinsoga is a fast-spreading invasive weed that can grow to be two feet tall. It has hairy little egg-shaped green leaves and small white flowers with round yellow centers.
~ Jimson Weed, aka angel tulip, devil’s trumpet, mad apple, moonflower, thorn apple, and stinkweed, is very dangerous because, if consumed, it can cause amnesia, hallucinations, and even death. It can grow to a height of between one and six feet tall with white or purple flowers with five points.
~ Mayweed has a very pungent smell and can be highly toxic if consumed by cats, dogs, or horses. It can grow to a height of one foot with hairy green leaves and white flowers with yellow centers. It can be difficult to get rid of if left unchecked.
~ Mustard has yellow four-petal flowers, hairy leaves, and can grow both erect and trailing.~ Pennsylvania smartweed is usually found in areas that are very moist and is an extremely hardy weed. It often grows as high as six feet tall with lance-shaped leaves and flowers that are pale pink.
~ Pennsylvania smartweed is usually found in areas that are very moist and is an extremely hardy weed. It often grows as high as six feet tall with lance-shaped leaves and flowers that are pale pink.
~ Prickly lettuce is another dandelion cousin and it has a pungent odor that can get on your skin when touched. It spreads very unless controlled, can grow to be almost seven feet tall, has jagged leaves, and bears yellow flowers that later can turn purple.~ Purslane is a rapidly growing trailing weed with shiny thick leaves. It can grow to be as tall as four inches and has bright yellow flowers from May-September.
~ Purslane is a rapidly growing trailing weed with shiny thick leaves. It can grow to be as tall as four inches and has bright yellow flowers from May-September.~ Ragweed has fernlike leaves, tiny yellow/green flowers, and small crown-shaped seeds.
~ Ragweed has fernlike leaves, tiny yellow/green flowers, and small crown-shaped seeds.
~ Redroot pigweed is generally found in open areas and only grows to be between two and six inches high. It has red stems, a hairy texture, and clusters of little flowers.
~ Scarlet pimpernel can invade your lawn and garden very quickly. It looks a lot like chickweed, however, it has beautiful orange, purple or red flowers, blooming from June-September. Scarlet pimpernel is also a skin irritant and thrives in wet conditions.
~ Sow thistle, aka milky tassel, swinies, milk thistle, and soft thistle, is a highly invasive weed that is similar to the dandelion. They are often used in Chinese cooking, can grow to be six feet tall and have bright yellow flowers.
~ Stinging nettle is a very common weed with leaves that contain stinging hairs. This particular weed also has six sub-species and they are commonly used for treating health problems like alopecia, asthma, cancer, diabetes, eczema, joint pain, lung congestion, and even urinary problems. They can grow as tall as almost seven feet in the summertime
~ Sunflowers are very aggressive at voraciously stealing your soil’s essential nutrients and just taking over the yard if given the chance. Their pretty yellow flowers can also be misleading and they can grow as high as six feet.
~ Velvetleaf, aka buttonweed, can grow as high as almost seven feet and each plant is capable of producing 8,000 seeds. Its leaves are heart-shaped and edible.
~ Wild radish, aka jointed charlock, is a very invasive weed and spreads rapidly, especially in open areas. The plants have four petals that are white or purple and the plants can grow to be over three feet tall with bristly leaves.
- Biennial Weeds
Biennials have a two-year growth cycle and some examples include the following:
~ Buckhorn Plantain has narrow oval-shaped leaves, lateral branches with sharp tips, and hairy stems with small, white to tan flowers.
~ Bull thistle is a large unique looking weed that has a large stem and beautiful purple or white flower that bloom every 2 years.
~ Evening-primrose is a tall weed with a pleasing lemon scent that attracts insects. It can grow to be as tall as seven feet and bears yellow flowers on hairy stems of light green or red.~ Shepard’s purse grows to be three to six inches and spreads
~ Shepard’s purse grows to be three to six inches and spreads approximately 50,000 seeds at the end of each season. There are different varieties and they include Field pepperwood, Field pennycress, and Virginia pepperweed, which has smooth erect stems with clusters of little white flowers and fruit that tastes like mustard.
~ Sweet clovers come in two varieties, yellow and white. Although they are both very invasive weeds, yellow is even more so than white. During their first year, they both bear no flowers.~ Wild Carrot aka “Queen Anne’s Lace” has slender branches and a carrot-shaped taproot, tiny white flowers, and a carrot-like smell.
~ Wild Carrot aka “Queen Anne’s Lace” has slender branches and a carrot-shaped taproot, tiny white flowers, and a carrot-like smell.~ Wild Lettuce is a tall weed that is often called “Tall Lettuce” and has large leaves and flowers that start out yellow-orange in color and then turn purple as they age.
Perennials can live for two years, reproducing from both vegetative structures and seeds. Due to their dual reproductive abilities, they are much harder to control than some other broadleaf weeds. Many can grow actively in cooler weather while others grow very quickly during the summer months. In addition, there are two perennial weed classifications and they are creeping perennials or simple perennials and include:
~ Chickweed grows mainly in the spring, loves cool wet conditions and doesn’t tolerate heat. It is low-growing with bright green leaves and little white flowers.
~ Dandelions prefer sunny locations but can also sprout just about anywhere. They have hairy stems and bright yellow flowers and the height of the plants is generally mixed.
~ Field bindweed is a vine-like weed that is very invasive. It can spread out by approximately ten feet annually and has tiny but pretty flowers that are trumpet-shaped with five petals of pink or white with darker pink lines.
~ Lambsquarters is an edible weed from the Amaranthaceae family that is capable of producing 75,000 seeds. It has white-coated leaves and little green flowers and can completely take over lawns that are not properly maintained.
~ Morning Glory is a climbing flowering plant that has 500 varieties, many of which are considered to be weeds because they grow so quickly, shading out grasses and other plants. Most of them have big irregularly-shaped leaves and bloom in the a.,m., hence the name.
~ Pennywort is an aquatic to semi-aquatic weed that can even grow in lakes, streams, ponds, and rivers. It is also a vine that can quickly cover your lawn in a dense mat. It has small leaves and flat-topped flowers.
~ Pokeweed is a weed that is considered to be toxic and sprouts in Spring and Summer. It can grow as tall as eight feet with leaves of dark green and sometimes purple with white or green flowers. It also grows small berries that can be spread far and wide by birds.
~ Red sorrel, aka field sorrel, sheep sorrel, and sour weed, is a hard-to-control weed that has reddish slender stems and grows as tall as 18-inches. Leaves are about an inch long and it bears both red and yellow-green flowers from March-November.
~ White Clover aka “alligator weed” has a fibrous root system, dark green leaves, and round white or pink flowers blooming from May through September.
- Summer Annuals
These weeds flower every 12 months and include:
~ Marestail, aka Horseweed, stands erect and can reach as tall as six feet or more with four inch long hairy leaves. The flowers are usually white or lavender with a small a yellow disc at the center.
~ Yellow Wood Sorrel is a small bushy plant that grows erect and can reach 20-inches with slender hairy stems, heart-shaped leaves, and yellow flowers with five petals.
- Winter Annuals
These weeds begin to germinate in early fall, growing during the winter months and include:
~ Broadleaf Plantains grow when the weather is cooler but they also love direct sunlight. They have broad oval dark green leaves that can be 10-inches long with numerous small flowers. Each weed is capable of producing 14,000 seeds per year and their seeds can remain viable for 60 years.~ Catchweed Bedstraw has trailing angled stems, white flowers, and bristly fruit. Often these weeds attach themselves to hair and clothing among other things.
~ Catchweed Bedstraw has trailing angled stems, white flowers, and bristly fruit. Often these weeds attach themselves to hair and clothing among other things.~ Groundsel is a hardy frost-resistant weed. It can grow as high as 16-inches with hairy leaves and yellow flowers that mature into seed-balls of white fluffy down just like dandelions, which results in easy spreading near and far when carried on the wind.
~ Groundsel is a hardy frost-resistant weed. It can grow as high as 16-inches with hairy leaves and yellow flowers that mature into seed-balls of white fluffy down just like dandelions, which results in easy spreading near and far when carried on the wind.
~ Henbit is a weed that can grow under your shrubs and in other hard-to-get-to places. It has purple flowers and square leaves. Henbit can lie dormant all summer and then quickly pop up and spread during the winter months.
~ Ladysthumb, aka Jesus Plant, is an edible weed that loves moisture. It bears flowers of pink and red and can grow to be two to four feet tall.
The Best Defense
As they say in football, the best defense is a good offense and that’s especially true when it comes to defending your lawn against broadleaf weeds. So, go on the offensive against weeds before they can take over. The best option for weed control is professional lawn maintenance paired with your ability to identify your lawn’s weed problem in the first place.
That’s why we provide both pictures and in-depth descriptions of many of the most prevalent broadleaf weeds that you may encounter in your lawn from season to season. Armed with this information, you can identify the type of broadleaf weed that is attacking your once lush green lawn. And, once you know exactly which type of weed you’re dealing with, control becomes much simpler. From there, aggressive weed control is your first line of defense. Remember, the healthier your lawn is, the easier it will be to defend it. It’s important to keep your lawn free of any bare spots because they can be perfect areas for broadleaf weed seeds to land and grow. If the sunlight can’t reach the bare soil because your lawn is so thick and healthy, then there is less chance of a weed infestation. Here are several methods for maintaining a healthy lawn:
1.) Proper fertilization
2.) Proper drainage
3.) Regular mowing
4.) Regular watering
5.) Year-round weed control
Beware of Herbicide Tolerance
Broadleaf weeds react to herbicides in a completely different manner than grassy weeds, which is a very important factor in your overall weed control plan. Whether broadleaf weeds have just started becoming prevalent or have already taken over your entire lawn, you need a weed control approach that is not only integrated but also highly effective. You may not know it but, when you rely on just one type of herbicide as your first line of defense, especially against broadleaf weeds, you could encounter herbicide-tolerance. When this occurs, no matter how much herbicide you use, the weeds can still prevail. In addition, you could be killing or weakening the health of your lawn and other landscaping plants, trees, and bushes through accidental misuse.
At Winlawn, we offer a broad portfolio of herbicides for combatting even the most resistant broadleaf weeds. A well-planned herbicide program that uses multiple modes of both pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control should be implemented for sustainable management of weeds. But, it’s important to remember that not all herbicides are suitable in every situation and ensuring desirable results will require correct application techniques.
Take Back Your Lawn!
If you live in or around the metro Atlanta area or anywhere in N. Georgia and need a lawn care service company that specializes in ridding lawns of weeds like these broadleaf varieties, just contact us for a free lawn treatment quote. And, if you’re located in some other part of Georgia or in any other state and have questions about broadleaf weeds or just lawn care in general, you can contact us as well because we’re here for you, too. We want to help as many homeowners as possible to have a lush green lawn that your family can enjoy year-round. Remember, taking back your lawn is the name of the game.