Like most Atlanta homeowners, having a healthy, beautiful and well-manicured lawn is probably one of your top priorities. Yet, every year,
weeds threaten to take over and mar your immaculate turf. Weed seeds come in many shapes, sizes and colors, can spread like wildfire, and are present in almost all lawns. In order to keep these weedy pests from running rampant in your beautiful grass, you need to know how to
identify them in order to choose a weed control method to protect your lawn and garden.
Types of Common Weeds in Atlanta Lawns
There are generally two types of weeds: broadleaf and grassy or grass-like. Broadleaf weeds have a wide leaf structure which makes them stand out in grasses. Dandelion and spurge are good examples. Grassy weeds are more difficult to detect, as they look like grass and blend into your turf more readily. Here are some basics to help you identify weedy pests in your lawn.
- Spurge. This is an annual weed with prolific seeds and a low matting habit. Each plant can grow up to three feet in diameter from a central stem, which exudes a milky sap when stems are broken. Fairly easy to pull, however, even lightly disturbing the plant spreads its seeds.
- Chickweed. Another low-growing, ground-covering weed, this common plant will quickly crowd out your turf grass. It is a favorite of insects and other pets, and sports multitudes of small teardrop-shaped leaves.
- Clover. This three-leafed low-growing perennial weed isn’t very lucky for your lawn. When blooming, it sports a clumped shape and rounded red, purple, yellow or white blossoms. While the plant is easily killed, the seeds are difficult to eradicate.
- Dandelion. A familiar sight in many lawns, this childhood favorite features lance-shaped leaves, and a yellow flower that quickly turns into a white puffy seed ball.
- Nutsedge. Because this weed so closely resembles long blades of grass, it is difficult to spot in your lawn, and even more difficult to control – there are only a few herbicides that can tame nutsedge. Pulling mature plants before they set underground tubers will help keep them in check and discourage them from spreading.
- Crabgrass. Arguably the most hated weed among turf enthusiasts, this pest is the scourge of lawns throughout the south. This troublesome weed is named for its sprawling habit; it grows in clumps which are difficult to pull. It thrives in dry, hot conditions, and each plant can distribute thousands of seeds. Year-round careful attention and control measures are needed to prevent it from going to seed, and applying a spring pre-emergent can help keep it from choking out your lawn.
- Green foxtail. Often mistaken for crabgrass, this heat-loving pest creeps into your turf in the middle of the summer season. Green foxtail has hairy, grass-like leave and a clumping nature. The clumps quickly develop large, bushy seed heads at the ends of long stems, which are then spread by wind or by latching onto clothing and fur. It’s not always easy to deter it, but treating your lawn before you see the plant can help.
The best way to control any weed in your lawn or landscape is through prevention. If your lawn has a strong stand of turf grass, it will be able to help prevent weed infiltration. In addition to proper watering, fertilizing, and regular mowing, establishing a weed control program will give your lawn its best chance of fighting back. For more information about controlling these common lawn weeds or for answers to any other lawn care questions, contact the experts at Environmental Turf Management today.