What You Need To Know About Weeds and How to Kill Them

Posted on 19. Mar, 2012 by in Lawn Care Tips

What You Need To Know About Weeds and How to Kill Them“A weed is in a general sense a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance” (thank you Wikipedia).

Weeds grow aggressively, spread rapidly and can turn a beautiful manicured landscape or lush green lawn to a hodgepodge of mis-matched plants competing for attention…with your desired plants normally losing the battle!

Here is a breakdown of the most common “weeds” in the Houston area and how they can be treated.

Bermuda

Bermuda GrassOn a golf course this is considered very fine grass, but in your average St. Augustine back yard it appears as a weed, taking advantage of the cooler climates of early spring and late fall or whenever your chosen grass is struggling or dormant.

Bermuda appears often because of the spread of seed from another source (that local golf course or a neighbor’s yard who preferred the look and feel of the soft, thin blades, or perhaps a nearby meadow) but prospers whenever St. Augustine is weak.

The most effective way to rid your lawn of this pest is to keep your preferred grass healthy with an efficient mowing, watering and fertilizing schedule.

Dollarweed

DollarweedA large, round and shiny weed that prospers in wet areas and will spread in damp conditions. It tends to take over when St. Augustine is dormant and in this way can take over a lawn.This sneaky weed can hide under rocks or tree roots and even though it appears to be gone can re-occur if not treated properly.

It can be killed off by most over-the-counter herbicides but correcting over-watering and poor drainage will be more beneficial long term.

Dichondra

DichondraThis can be found in plant form to be grown in pots in colored varieties but appearing as the green variety in your lawn acts as a weed. It thrives in shady and dry conditions (and incidentally is grown in the western US as a lawn).

Over-the-counter products struggle to effectively manage this weed; keeping your shaded areas well watered will help prevent it taking hold.

Note: this is often mis-diagnosed as Dollarweed, but Dichondra has a smaller leaf and is matted, not gloss.

Virginia Buttonweed

Weed by name, weed by nature. A creeping weed with white flowers and a large seed, Virginia Buttonweed tends to be seen in Summer after a lot of rain. It can tolerate almost any conditions but dislikes iron and low ph soil.

As soon as you spot this weed, pull it up! That is the most effective way of ridding your lawn of this pest.

Click here for an excellent array of images of this weed at all stages of its development.

Nutsedge

A grassy weed with a glossy leaf, can’t be prevented but prospers in wet areas. The “nut” or rhizome grows underground with thin, grass like foliage appearing above ground.

It can be controlled or killed by a few specialist products (Sedgehammer – very effective but very slow, Image – less the over-the-counter product than the commercial dry granules.)

Oxalis (Clover)

CloverAnother rhizome based plant, it is often grown commercially for potted plants (especially the purple and bronze varieties).

Spreads ferociously in lawns but is easily controlled, most over-the-counter herbicides or even extremes in weather will control it.

Crabgrass

CrabgrassMost easily identified once mature with thick blades and a star-like appearance, crabgrass prospers in hot climates and is especially aggressive. Its appearance can change dramatically as it grows. Click here for a photo library of all the forms it takes.

Also, check this out for a great, in-depth article on how to handle crabgrass.

Seasonal Weeds

Chickweed, dandelion, milk weed and blue grass appear seasonally in our area. They arrive as the season changes – most often in spring when St. Augustine is still dormant.

Chickweed
Dandelion

There is no treatment necessary for these nuisance weeds – the heat and growing strength of your St. Augustine will eradicate the majority, but a good lawn fertilization schedule will include a weed killing element to their spring schedule to help these weeds on their way out.

Prevention is the Best Cure

The most effective way to treat all weeds is prevention! A healthy lawn will fight off these invaders much more effectively than a weak one.

Further Resources

For more information on how to spot and treat weeds in your lawn we like:

Do you have a weed in your garden not listed above? Let us know so we can help.

Creative Commons images courtesy of avlxyzEcotrustSara BjörkThe Equinest and Lauren Tucker Photography

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One Response to “What You Need To Know About Weeds and How to Kill Them”

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