Weeds 2019: What You Need To Know Now

Posted on 10. Feb, 2019 by in Lawn Care

Weeds have become an increasingly severe problem the last three years due to incessant rain, several bouts of flooding, and lawn crews walking problems and damage from one yard to the next, twenty yards a day, six days a week.

People often say they appreciate my straight-talk, so let me be straight with you now:

  • Gone are the days when I can apply something in Spring that will keep you largely weed free for the year.
  • Gone are the days when a pre-emergent is all that is required for good weed control.
  • Gone are the days when five treatment visits a year alone can keep a lawn looking strong and healthy.

The one thing that hasn’t changed, is that if we work together to tackle underlying lawn problems and put good maintenance practices in place now, then we can manage virtually any of Houston’s worst weed problems.

Worst Weeds

While there are other weeds that can take a lot of lawn real estate, the most aggressive ones to look for are:


  1. Doveweed – emerges in May/Jun, resembles grass but has a small purple flower. Thrives in hot, wet conditions. Spreads aggressively and quickly (by leaf clippings alone!) Will mercilessly kill your grass, then leave ugly bare patches when it dies off in Winter.
  2. Virginia Buttonweed – emerges in May/June, loves hot, wet conditions. Spreads quickly, will kill St. Augustine, dies off in winter.
  3. Basketgrass – may be seen year-round, often found in shade, I include this one because it spreads out quickly in areas where your lawn doesn’t do well.                                                                                                                                 
  4. Crabgrass – may be seen year round, a grassy weed, at first glance it is hard to tell the difference, but closer inspection shows it grows out in a circle from one spot, often grows faster than St. Augustine giving an uneven look to the lawn.
  5. Nutsedge – may be seen year-round, though this doesn’t often kill your lawn it’s tall, thin, grassy blades grow much taller and faster and is an indicator that conditions are not good for St. Augustine.                                            
  6. Mock Strawberry – identified by its strawberry-looking flowers, I have noticed in winter this weed loves to fill in gaps left bare by Doveweed or Buttonweed.
  7. Dollarweed – a locally known favourite, thrives in wet compacted soils and can survive year round.

Though Doveweed is one of the newest weeds we see, it is by far the most aggressive. Please understand: this weed can do significant damage to your lawn in ONE WEEK. This is not an exaggeration and I have numerous customers who can attest to the amazing pace at which it can take over, Buttonweed is not far behind.

Do not underestimate the damage these weeds can do to a weakened lawn.


Having these weeds often suggests you may have less than ideal conditions for your grass. Any good weed control plan should include both weed treatment and – equally important – a plan to improve conditions for your grass. This means thinking about drainage, mowing, watering and fertilization practices. There are a number of factors that now need to come together:

  1. Immediate Weed control – depending on your preference this could be hand pulling, organic or chemical products to kill the weeds you have NOW (this is included in your Spring treatment if you are our customer).
  2. Pre-emergents – only effective if utilized regularly (as often as monthly). Please note that the top 4 weeds above are all resistant to pre-emergents, they will help if used regularly but will not provide complete control.
  3. Soil Condition – have your lawn assessed for it’s condition and hospitality to your chosen lawn type; look for issues like compaction, nutrient wash-out and poor drainage.
  4. Watering – many of these weeds thrive in wet conditions our grass hates, read this for recommended advice on watering.
  5. Mowing – a major contributor to Houston’s growing weed problem, read this for recommended advice on mowing procedures.
  6. Drainage – the incessant rain we have had over the last few years has uncovered prior and caused new drainage problems in lawns across the city. If you think you may have a drainage problem ask an expert for advice and recommendations.
  7. Surveillance – one of the most important things you can do to control a weed problem is REGULARLY MONITOR YOUR LAWN. That means getting out there and walking the lawn – as much of it as possible, as often as possible (suggest weekly). Almost all lawn problems can be resolved with limited damage if they are caught early enough – and – this doesn’t cost you anything to do!

The Time Is Now

Join me in an effort to vanquish our worst weeds and take back our lawns.

Step 1 is education, step 2 is action. We have until about July to get your lawn as healthy and strong as possible before it faces the toughest grass months of the year (September – November are historically wet, stormy and fungus ridden!) But the sooner we get started the better.

Our Spring application starts February 11th 2019. Please look for notes and recommendations on your invoices (not hangers), if you have questions call me or email and if you need a lawn crew reference email Ashley and she will send contact details for our recommended contractors.


One Response to “Weeds 2019: What You Need To Know Now”

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