Common Weeds


Annual bluegrass, also known as poa annua, is a short, cool-season grass that is characterized by its leaf tip, which is shaped like the bow of a boat. Grass leaves branch off from a single stem, creating a cluster and bushy appearance. Annual bluegrass is not actually blue. Instead it varies between a yellowish green to dark green color. Bluegrass produces flowers which are usually visible December through July. This type of grass is identifiable by the look of its flowers. The flowers are 1 to 3 inches long, open and have pyramidal shaped leafs.

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Bentgrass, also known as creeping bentgrass, is a cool seasonal grass that grows rapidly in wet conditions, especially where turf is closely mowed. It is described as puffy, dense patches of fine-textured grass. In the spring it spreads quickly and crowds out other grasses. In the summer it typically browns and looks dead. When bentgrass is dormant in the summer, annual weeds will take its place and start taking over your lawn.

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Chickweed is a winter annual that grows from seeds that sprout in the fall. When it takes root in your lawn or under your shrubs, it can form thick mats that prevent other plants from growing. Chickweed has smooth, oval leaves with a point at the tip. This weed is always flowering, with 5 tiny white petals per flower. The flowers close at night and open in the morning. This weed has a shallow root system, which allows it to grow very easily in a variety of environments. Chickweed is known as a widespread and successful weed.

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Crabgrass grows very low to the ground. It will first appear in “hot spots” along pavement or in areas of full sun. It will be more severe in lawns that were allowed to dry out in the spring prior to receiving regular irrigation.

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Creeping Charlie, or Ground Ivy is a common name for three species of flowering plants. Most commonly, it is an aromatic perennial among the evergreen family. A Creeping Charlie can be identified by its fan-shaped flowers that are attached to stems that root at the nodes of the plant.

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Dandelions have very small yellowish florets collected together at the flower head and produced on stalks. Dandelion flowers grow unbranched on one single stem, and are often leafless and hairless.

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Also called prostrate knotweed, knotweed is a summer annual characterized by its ability to grow in compacted areas, like gravel roadbeds, sidewalk edges, paths or sports fields. The root system of prostrate knotweed is extremely fine and can grow in the most compacted soils. This weed grows low to the ground forming mats, which is why it sometimes gets confused with spotted spurge. Tough, wiry branch stems are covered by small, oval, blue-green leaves. The extensive branching gives it a zigzag appearance. When stems or leaves are broken, it produces sap that is clear, not milky. Prostrate knotweed blooms from May through November, producing pinkish-white flowers.

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Plantains have medium-green, oval shaped leaves that form flat rosettes. Each leaf is connected by a skinny, long stem protruding from the base of the plant. The foliage can be broad or narrow. This weed has a shallow, but thick, taproot that keeps them alive during the winter time. Plantains sprout in mid spring, and produce flower spikes in midsummer. This plant is well adapted to both wet and dry conditions.

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Poison ivy, or poison oak, can be found everywhere; the woods, fields, or backyards. Poison ivy usually grows in the outside edges of forests, in sunny areas. Poison ivy is a vine that can densely grow as a bush or as a single plant. The leaves of poison ivy contain urushiol oil, which over half the population of the United States is allergic to. By learning how to identify the plant, you can avoid coming into contact with it.



Purslane is a weedy summer annual, and can easily grow and spread fast. Purslane grows best when conditions are hot and dry. Purslane is known for its smooth, shiny, and oval-shaped green leaves. It has a reddish color stem, which usually grows to be about 12 inches long. This weed has tiny, light pink to yellow flowers that open only in direct sunlight. Purslane is typically found growing in the cracks of sidewalks, gardens, and on lawns near the edges of pavement. This weed is not harmful, and most commonly is used in cooking cuisines around the world.

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Spurge is a low-growing summer annual broadleaf plant that often forms a dense mat when it grows in clusters. Spurge thrives in hot, sunny, and dry locations. The leaves are oval and slightly pointed at the tip. Spurge is characterized for having a maroon/dark red colored blotch in the middle of its leaves. The stems are reddish, and ooze a milky, sticky sap when broken.

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Tall fescue grows best in moist environments and is well adapted to sunny or partially shady areas. It can tolerate warm summer temperatures and remains green all winter long. Tall fescue is a coarse-textured grass that is medium to dark-green in color. Leaf blades are glossy and are rolled in the bud. Tall fescue is considered a bunchgrass, meaning it does not spread rapidly.

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Thistle is a green weed, covered with needle-like spines. It has green spiky leaves protruding from the stem. A purple or pink flower grows from the top of the thistle plant, making this weed easy to identify. The flowers have tooth-like leaves emerging from the top of the most upright stem. Normally, thistle grows to be 1 to 4 feet tall.

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Violets are purple weeds with well-developed heart-shaped leaves. They are aromatic and can be annuals or perennials. The weeds grow low to the ground and usually lack noticeable stems. Although called violets because the weeds tend to have petals that are purple in color, the petals can also be blue, yellow, white or bicolored.

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Yellow nutsedge is also referred to as nutgrass or swamp grass. It is not a true grass but rather a member of the sedge family. It can be recognized by its erect 3-angled shiny yellow-green grass-like leaves.

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