April showers bring May flowers – and weeds too! Spring is the season when nature leaps back into action after a long winter’s rest. We all love the plant and flower growth that surrounds us in the spring season; however, we must take the good plant growth with the bad. That's right, warmer temperatures bring a slew of new weeds to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and you need to be prepared if you want to keep them out of your yard.
Knowledge is the best preparation, so let's discuss the most common weeds that you may encounter in North Texas and why you need to know which weeds you're fighting.
Why it’s important to identify weeds
When you notice an unsightly weed in your yard, your first thought is probably not, "Oh, I wonder what kind of weed that is?!" Your first thought probably had a few more expletives and groans involved. Well, you may want to rethink your approach because the sooner you identify the weed in your grass, the better off you'll be.
One reason that identifying weeds is important is that herbicides used to remove weeds often work differently. Some are more effective for certain species of weeds or for specific groups of weeds.
You'll also want to know whether this problem weed is an annual or perennial plant. Annual plants germinate from seeds and die all in the same year. They only live for one season, so their root systems aren't very established or complex. This means that they are easier to control and to remove than perennial plants.
Perennial plants can live for 2 or more years and are harder to eradicate because they live long and keep coming back. Weed removal treatments will be much more effective if you know which type of plant you're dealing with.
To properly treat your weed problem, you must know what weeds you're battling.
If you're not sure that you've correctly identified the weed, then be sure to have a professional lawn care company come take a look for you.
Blindly treating weeds is ineffective and can actually exacerbate the problem.
Three main groups of weeds in Dallas
Weeds are grouped based on their morphology, and there are three main groups that we need to concern ourselves with in the North Texas area. Broadleaf weeds are the first group, and they tend to be the easiest to spot in your yard. These weeds usually have leaf and flower growths that make them obvious to spot.
In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you'll definitely want to keep a sharp eye out for the second weed group known as grassy weeds. These weeds can be tough to remove and tough to notice. Most grassy weeds tend to blend in well with grass, especially in mowed grass where their seed spikes that often adorn them are mowed down.
The last group of weeds that you may encounter is the sedges. These weeds are grass-like in appearance, but they have triangular-shaped stems.
Broadleaf Weeds Common in Dallas
Henbit is a winter annual broadleaf weed that is in plentiful supply in the North Texas area. Henbit can be found across most of North America and is commonly found in fields, gardens, lawns, and pastures. This particular broadleaf weed germinates in the fall, grows in the winter, and takes over in the spring. This weed is highly competitive with grass, and henbit can spread using seeds rather aggressively.
Henbit can be identified by its square green or purple stem, which branches at the base. This weed has leaves that are circular with notched edges and are hairy in texture. Henbit is also adorned by purple and pink flower blooms that are cylindrical in shape. The roots are shallow and fibrous.
The growth and spread of henbit can often be prevented with a fall pre-emergent weed control product. However, if you already have henbit on your property, your best treatment option is to hire a lawn care company to professionally treat this aggressive weed with a broadleaf post-emergent product.
Common Chickweed is an annual broadleaf weed that is actually commonly used as a medicinal herb. Although the leaves of this weed are edible and often fed to poultry, we recommend you always do research before you decide to eat any wild herbs.
Common Chickweed is found throughout most of the United States and thrives in cool, shady, wet areas. It can often be found in gardens, fields, and lawns. This weed is considered a winter annual because it germinates in the fall, grows during the winter, and spreads using seeds during the spring.
Chickweed is mainly identifiable by the intertwined, matted nature of its growth. Common Chickweed has hairy, green stems that branch out horizontally and mat together. The leaves are green, oval, smooth-edged, and grow in opposite pairs on the stems. Common Chickweed usually has small flowers that grow in clusters. These clusters typically have 10 tiny white petals that fan out in a star shape.
Maintaining thick, healthy grass in your lawn can often prevent Common Chickweed from growing.
If you spot Chickweed, you can attempt to pull the weed to remove it as the roots are shallow. However, the seeds of the pulled weed could be inadvertently spread across your yard, so be cautious in your removal. Working with professional lawn care experts is always your best choice.
Another common Texas weed is the annual broadleaf Spotted Spurge weed. This weed grows outward from one central point in a wide matted mess. These weeds are opportunistic and grow best in weak lawn areas, open gaps in gardens, and even cracks in cement.
Spotted spurge is identified by its thin, hairy, red stems with leaves growing in opposite pairs along them. This weed gets its name from the red spots that appear in the center of its dark green leaves. Other than the red spots, the leaves are small, flat, and oval in shape.
Each spotted spurge weed is capable of producing a vast amount of seeds, and this weed can also reproduce from bits of its roots that may break off. Spotted spurge quickly germinates when temperatures begin to warm, and it thrives in the heat of summer.
Early identification and treatment are particularly important with spotted spurge as this weed exudes a toxic milky sap when it's cut. That sappy liquid is a skin irritant for people and can be toxic to some animals. If you attempt to remove a spotted spurge weed by pulling it up, be sure to wear gloves.
This weed can be a nasty nuisance, so you should have it professionally treated if you find it on your property.
Dandelions are a perennial broadleaf weed that are commonly found all across North America – in fact, they’re practically an American institution! Some people find dandelions charming – mostly children with a wish. However, plenty of people just absolutely can’t stand them – mostly homeowners. But no matter how you feel about dandelions, they tend to just keep come back again and again.
The dandelion has a deep, thick taproot with deeply lobed leaves that point back to their base. However, dandelions are better known for their long, leafless stems that are topped with yellow flower blooms. The dandelion flowers bloom in the spring, and by summer, the yellow petals change into round, white puffs. These puffs are actually the reproductive seeds that are ready and waiting to fly off into the wind and spread the weed.
Dandelions prefer to grow in open, sunny areas like lawns, gardens, fields, and roadsides. The best way to keep these weeds off your property is to keep the grass in your yard thick and healthy.
Dandelions need room to grow and dense grass can help to prevent them. It's best to avoid pulling dandelions because the seeds spread very easily. Still, they can be treated with a post-emergent weed control product. These weeds are tough to remove effectively, so contact a local lawn care company to help you do it right.
Purslane is an annual broadleaf weed that can be found throughout most of North America. It thrives in rocky environments like between cracks in cement and brick. Although this weed may prefer rock-type environments, it can become a turfgrass problem as well. Purslane is resistant to heat and drought, and it begins to appear when soil temperatures increase. You can expect to see purslane begin to pop up in the spring and last through the hot Texas summer.
This low-laying succulent weed grows outward horizontally in an entwined, matted manner and has thick, purple/red stems. The leaves of purslane grow alternately all along the stems and are green, fleshy, relatively thick, and oval in shape. This broadleaf weed is also adorned with small, cup-shaped yellow flowers that usually consist of 5 petals. These flowers produce seed pods that help purslane spread. However, it's important to note that purslane can also be spread by broken bits of its stem or root.
Pulling a purslane weed can be an effective removal method; however, any seeds or stem fragments left behind will grow new weeds.
Any do it yourself removal can be rather tricky because seeds and stem or root fragments could easily be left behind trapped underground or under pavement.
Your best option is to have purslane professionally treated with a broadleaf weed product.
Grassy Weeds Common in Dallas
One of the most notorious grassy weeds that plague the DFW area is the common annual crabgrass weed. This weed begins to pop up in spring when soil temperatures start to warm, and it can appear in all kinds of turfgrass. This incredibly resilient weed thrives in drought and heat and can stick around till the cold of winter finally kills it.
Crabgrass is composed of clumps of long, pointed leaves that look like wide blades of grass. These clumps of crabgrass can take over thin, weak areas in your lawn incredibly fast. Crabgrass requires plenty of sunlight, so be on the lookout for it in the sunnier areas of your yard.
Fortunately, as crabgrass is so prevalent, there are several effective pre-emergent weed products that you can apply to help prevent crabgrass before the warmth of spring arrives. Also, if crabgrass has already set in, there are many post-emergent weed killers that can help in their removal.
The problem is that crabgrass seeds are easily spread in the wind, and crabgrass can take over your yard faster than you ever realized. Your best hope to avoid the crabgrass headache is to always maintain a thick, healthy lawn, and to have a professional lawn care service monitoring and treating your yard.
Dallisgrass is a perennial grassy weed that primarily occurs in the southern United States. This weed prefers to grow in wet environments and thrives in sandy-clay soils. Dallisgrass has long been a problem for golf courses, public parks, lawns, and pastures. This weed is infamously difficult to control due to its aggressive reproductive methods that include spreading seeds, growing from rhizomes (part of the roots system), and growing using creeping stems (known as stolons).
This grassy weed has a plush, circular-shaped, clumped appearance. Each clump of dallisgrass is composed of long, wide, rough-edged blades. However, the most identifiable features of dallisgrass are the tall seed stalks that extend vertically from this weed. These stalks can grow several feet tall and have spikes branching off the stalk. Each of these spikes is loaded with seeds. If left untreated, the circular clump of dallisgrass can continue to grow out wider until it takes over.
Treating Dallisgrass is particularly tricky because this perennial weed typically lives for 2 or more years, and it has many means of spreading. As always, maintaining a thick and healthy turf is your best option to avoid this weed. If you find a clump of Dallisgrass in your yard, pulling it can be an effective removal method. However, any bits of root, stem, or seed that you miss can grow into new weeds.
For this reason, it is usually best to work with a lawn care company to professionally remove this troublesome weed.
Bluegrass is an annual grassy weed found commonly in North Texas and can grow across most of the United States. Annual bluegrass is also often referred to by its scientific name, poa annua. This grassy weed is highly adaptable to different environments and mowing heights, so it is often sold as turfgrass and used on golf courses.
Poa annua grows upright in dense bunches or clumps. The leaves of this weed are smooth with serrated edges and boat-shaped tips. Bluegrass is also adorned with seed-filled spikelets that resemble a small sprig of parsley. These seedheads produce a considerable amount of seeds that easily spread and contribute to its fast growth rate.
The fast growth rate of this weed makes poa annua challenging to control once it has germinated. Bluegrass germinates mainly in the fall, so we recommend spreading a pre-emergent weed control product during the fall season. Post-emergent weed products can also be utilized if poa annua has already spread through your yard.
Because this weed is so well covered with seeds and has such a quick growth rate, your best option is to have a lawn control company preventatively treat your yard every fall season and monitor your yard all year round for poa annua.
Rescuegrass is considered a winter annual weed as it thrives in the cold winter weather throughout most of the southern United States. Rescuegrass is mainly a problem weed during the winter and spring seasons till it dies off in the heat of summer. This weed is often found in lawns, golf courses, sports fields, and pastures.
Rescuegrass weed can be difficult to distinguish from turfgrass, as is typically the case with grassy weeds. However, rescuegrass forms in bunched clumps and features seed spikelets. The stems are round and hairy with sheaths compressed in a tube-like manner along the stem.
Applying a fall pre-emergent weed product can help in preventing this weed, but it can be challenging to remove once it's taken over. Rescuegrass can reproduce from its many seeds or from fragments of its root system. This weed is hardy and well adapted to survive cold and drought. As with all weed problems, rescuegrass is best controlled professionally.
Sedges Common in Dallas
Nutsedge is a perennial weed that has several subtypes such as purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge. Both of these types of nutsedge are found in Texas, and they usually grow in the warmer months. This weed has long triangular stems that are topped with clusters of seed spikes. Nutsedge will typically sprout in groups of three and has a swift growth rate. Although nutsedge closely resembles turf grass, it grows faster and can usually be seen popping out in your turf.
Perennial weeds are notoriously difficult to control because they live for a couple years and always return. Applying a post-emergent weed killer can be effective in removing nutsedge. Still, you'll need to be very precise in your application because it can spread rapidly. Best nutsedge removal results come from professionally applied lawn treatments.
Green Kyllinga is a perennial sedge weed that is commonly found in Texas. It prefers moist soils and thrives in the southeastern United States. This weed has green stems that are topped with spherical seedheads with 3 pointed leaves around it. Kyllinga grows in a matted manner and produces seeds during warmer months.
Although it reproduces from seeds, this weed can also regrow from fragments of its deep root system. Removing green kyllinga can be rather tricky because it is a hardy weed that can easily be spread. This weed should be professionally treated for removal.
The lawn care specialists at Gecko Green are expertly trained to identify and skillfully remove any weeds that may trouble you. Our year-round program entails several perfectly timed weed control and prevention treatments that will keep your yard weed-free all year long.
We provide individually designed services for your unique yard, and we guarantee our services. Call us today for a free quote!