As temperatures drop and lawns enter dormancy, dreaded winter weeds begin to sprout up on lawns across the southern United States. If given the opportunity, these weeds will take advantage of your lawn’s newly weakened state and attempt to overpower your grass.
Weeds compete with desirable grasses for water, space, light and nutrients, which may cause your lawn to suffer while weeds flourish. Weed Man can apply pre-emergent and post-emergent weed control treatments that will prevent these undesirable invaders from overpowering your lawn, and, as a result, improve the overall health of your grass for next spring.
Proper identification of weeds will help you manage your lawn more effectively in the long run. Use this helpful guide to identify unfavorable growth in your yard and take action earlier rather than later.
Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)
Annual bluegrass is a fast growing, bright green winter annual that can grow up to 15 inches tall. It is the most common and widely distributed grassy weed in the world, and thrives in cooler weather when lawns are more susceptible to weeds and disease. It has pale, boat-shaped tips that make it clearly distinguishable from the surrounding turf. Even though annual bluegrass can be an issue on all lawns, it is usually found in areas where Bermuda grass and bentgrass are grown.
Annual bluegrass leaves behind unsightly bare patches when it dies in the summer, causing lawns to appear dry and unhealthy. Additionally, like all winter weeds, it greatly weakens healthy turf by monopolizing the valuable nutrients that desirable grasses need for survival.
A childhood favorite of many, the dandelion is an aggressive perennial weed easily recognizable by its bright yellow flower head. Overnight, this flower can transform into a white seed head, eventually spreading via downy “parachutes” in windy conditions. The dandelion’s zig-zag leaves grow in flat clusters around a hollow flower stalk. When broken, the plant secretes a white, milky sap.
Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)
Henbit, sometimes confused with purple deadnettle, is a broadleaf weed and one of the most common winter annuals. It can grow to a height of 12-16 inches at its peak, and is thus quite easy to spot. The plant has rounded leaves and hairy stems, complete with tubular, purplish flowers. This shade-loving weed is highly aggressive and can spread quickly if it is not controlled.
Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Common chickweed is a cool season annual weed that may try to take over your lawn. It can grow anywhere from 2-8 inches in height and is fond of shaded areas. The stems have a band of hairs along one side while the leaves remain relatively smooth. Chickweed has small, white flowers, each consisting of five v-shaped petals. This invasive weed presents a serious challenge for homeowners, as it known to be a regular host for other insects and damaging plant viruses.
Virginia Pepperweed (Lepidium virginicum)
Also known as peppergrass or Poor Man’s Pepper, Virginia pepperweed is an invasive winter annual that grows to a height of 6-12 inches. It is most easily identifiable by its raceme (unbranched flower clusters), as well as its alternating leaf pattern. Although many individuals enjoy Virginia pepperweed for its culinary uses (it is often a substitute for black pepper), it is not a desirable addition to home lawns.
Once you’ve identified a weed problem on your turf, Weed Man can help you create a treatment plan that is right for your lawn. Although weeds are bothersome, most can be easily controlled with a little extra time and attention. Not sure what’s growing alongside your grass? No problem! Call your local Weed Man today to schedule a free healthy lawn analysis.
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