In this guide you’ll learn about the most common lawn weeds and how to get rid of them with natural methods.
A weed is just an unwanted and difficult to manage plant. Seeing stubborn weeds growing all over your lawn or in the walkway tends to bring bouts of annoyance and irritation that can drive even the most happy of homeowners to binge drinking! Well, maybe it’s not that serious but you get the point. Broadleaf weeds popping up everywhere will cause the grass to look ill-managed and patchy. If it gets too bad, you might as well go ahead and queue up the line of neighborhood Karens outside the HOA office to complain about the unsightly appearance of your lawn and garden! 😆 Let weeds get out of hand and you’ll be the subject of neighborhood gossip in no-time.
CUT YOUR GRASS!!!
Weeds are really just native plants that grow faster in local soil conditions than the species of grass we typically plant around our house. These tall leaves need control to reduce the wide growth of plants like poison ivy or crabgrass. If they get out of hand, your lawn will quickly be overrun. Herbicide weed killer will work, but there are other natural ways to help with controlling weeds too. Quality garden soil grows many broadleaf plants, regardless if you want it to or not. You need to manage your yard correctly to keep wild grass from overtaking your lawn. Therefore, every homeowner needs to learn about the wide variety of common weeds in their lawn. Get rid of those weeds around your house and avoid any more of Karen’s BS with these DIY tips on controlling weeds in your lawn.
Keeping Karen Away – Control and Knowledge Of The Common Broadleaf Weed
A weed is any plant that grows in unwanted areas. They seem to be silently laughing at us while growing randomly and spreading like a disease, mocking our efforts at trying to control mother nature. These plants are competitive and will continuously interfere with everything else that’s not native to the area. From crabgrass in driveway cracks to the moss that grows near your home’s HVAC unit, it sure is a lot to keep under control! So, why not just let mother nature take its course and let the Karens try to complain? Well, those weeds may eventually cause more cracks to form in your driveway for starters. Let’s look at some more reasons why you need to stay on top of your weed control game besides Karen’s attitude problem.
What Are Some Of The Problems That A Weed Causes?
Can I Get Rid Of Them?
Since there are over 250 thousand types of broadleaf considered as a weed, there is a variety of them that are great with retaining water and taking up space in any given USDA zone. A fundamental problem faced with a weed is soil competition with the plants you want in the area. Weeds like to gobble up any nutrients and light that other desired plants require to survive.
They can cause many other issues for homeowners:
- Allergies – Many of us are allergic to ragweed and other broadleaf plants.
- Rapid growth – Which can harbor pests and even snakes if you let it get out of hand.
- Resale value – Curb appeal is a big part of a successful home sale.
Ragweed pictured in the image above can cause severe seasonal allergies.
Does Weed Control Require A Lot Of Herbicide Removal Cost For The Lawn or Garden?
Yes, they can cost a lot to remove and will continue to re-emerge if they are not managed correctly. Farmers and homeowners spend a lot of money to remove these pesky plants each year. There are ways to remove wide weeds without breaking your bank, but it requires attention and dedication. Once the removal control process is fully finalized, the crabgrass weed production and spreading rates decrease, thus decreasing the overall cost of weed management.
Pulling by Hand
While this is always an option, it’s going to take a lot of work. Be sure to do your best to remove both the leaves and the roots so that the weeds have a chance of requiring a follow-up removal in a few days. You might want to carry a small bucket and a garden spade around your yard so you can discard all the weeds. You want to get them as far away from the area as possible to reduce the chance of seeds spreading.
Be sure to use some sand to fill in the holes so you don’t end up with a bumpy lawn to deal with. You can also take some grass seed with you and spread it over the recently disturbed soil. Lightly cover the area with a straw mulch and gently water the grass seeds in.
Homemade Weed Killer with Vinegar and Salt
If you’re like me, you’d prefer not to use those icky toxic commercial weed killers around your home. Mixing a cup of salt into a gallon of white vinegar makes for a natural weed killer you can spray directly onto crabgrass, bindweed and thistle. Add a tablespoon of dish soap to this mix and it will stick to leaves and burn up those annoying dandelions that keep popping up everywhere. Then again…you could also look into some other uses for dandelions. Many consider them to be a superfood and the Internet’s full of recipes on the subject.
Are There Any Benefits To Weeds?
Can I Save The Plants?
While there are many downsides to a weed, there are some benefits that come with some species of weeds. These plants are controllable and some species provide vitamins for health and fiber for life. In some areas of the world, specific plants, like the dandelion are known for providing bees with nectar, stabilizing soil, adding organic matter, and may even be used as salad greens. Some plants you can save and transplant to a contained area, just make sure to control how many you want and where you want to grow it.
What Are Some Types Of Weeds That I Should Look Out For?
A few of the weeds that homeowners need to beware of have resistance to commercial weed killer and are obnoxious in their environment, especially in a garden or lawn. Many weed-like plants require persistence to remove, but once done, they are manageable. The ones to get rid of fast and save your grass are any flowering broadleaf or clover plants. Be sure to take care of the blooming weeds you find first and foremost before they have a chance to produce seeds and cause further damage. Weed-like plants to consider looking out for in most parts of the US are Crabgrass, Canada Thistle, Ragweed, Nutsedge, Quackgrass, Creeping Woodsorrel, Poison Ivy, and Spotted Surge.
This is the lawn weed of all lawn weeds! It’s extremely invasive in the southeastern US and grabgrass can grow to a massive size clump that’ll be the death of your lawnmower blade. Get rid of them with the mixture of vinegar and salt we mentioned above, or if it’s a wide enough area, you can simply cover with black plastic for a couple of weeks. Even the toughest crabgrass can’t survive the extreme temperatures this will produce under the midday sun.
This aggressive perennial plant is actually native to Europe, but it’s become quite invasive after its introduction to North America. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture considers this to be a very serious problem weed, especially around the Lake Superior area. Try to control thistle early in the season, before it has time to spread its extensive root network underground.
This notorious allergen actually thrives in compacted soil with low fertility. Mow frequently and you’ll usually be able to prevent too much spread. If you do resort to using a weed killer, it’s best to apply it in mid-spring.
Also known as nutgrass, this perennial has a good bit of resistance to even the best weed killers out there. This is because it’s not very similar to the common types of broadleaf weeds genetically. It’s actually a member of the sedge family and it thrives in the hot summer when other weeds are drying out in the hot sun.
Quackgrass is often confused with crabgrass, proving yet again that what looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, isn’t necessarily a duck. Quackgrass is a cold weather plant that looks almost identical to the crabgrass that’s often seen growing during the summertime. In cooler areas, this perennial may be able to survive the summer, whereas crabgrass is an annual that dies off in winter.
This low-growing weed is often confused with clover due to the shamrock-shaped leaves, however they have radically different flowers that are easy to tell apart. These are common in sidewalk cracks all over the US, but never fear because this lawn weed won’t stand up to straight vinegar and salt applied early in the morning.
Do fear these plants! Poison ivy is responsible for a serious skin rash that you want to avoid at all costs. Pay attention to the image below so you can identify the leaves of this plant. It’s best to avoid removing these by hand, even if you have thick garden gloves. Instead, it’s probably better to use some sort of spray and avoid the area for a while until the stems and leaves dry up completely. Never burn these plants as it can release a toxic gas!
A member of the mint family, this common lawn weed actually has beautiful light-blue flowers that you often see along roadsides in the springtime. They can grow to be about 1-2 feet tall before going to seed and are common in USDA zones 6-9.