When you are cultivating a thick, lush lawn, your nemesis is weeds. There are many invasive plants that will try to take over your lawn, choking out your grass if you let them. Weeds come in many varieties, including some lawn weeds that look like grass but can be detrimental to your turf.
What Is a Weed?
What makes one plant desirable and another a “weed?” While there are many different definitions of weeds, there are some specific traits that are associated with these plants. Any plant that is not cultivated could be considered a weed, but most weeds have one or more of these factors:
- Aggressive and adaptive
- Rapid spread and reproduction
- Excessive seed production
- Hearty seed survival
Dandelions are one of the most common weeds that infiltrate lawns, but these look very different from the grass around them. There are also lawn weeds that look like grass, but do not provide the soft carpet that most people prefer for their lawn.
6 Common Weeds That Look Like Grass
The first step to fighting weeds in your lawn is identifying them. While broadleaf weeds like clover and dandelions are easier to spot, there are characteristics that make grassy weeds stand out from your cultivated grass. Once you know what weed is trying to take over your lawn, you can begin weed control.
- 1.Wild Garlic and Onion
- If you see waxy, tall blades poking up through your lawn, you may have wild garlic or onion. The wild garlic has round leaves, and the wild onion has flat leaves which tend to sprout up fast. Like the cultured herbs and vegetables, these have bulbs underground.
- 2. Crabgrass
- One of the most common grassy weeds is crabgrass. This weed has wider blades then typical turf grass, and it grows in clumps with blades that grow out rather than up. Crabgrass is very invasive, and it can spread quickly through your lawn. It is important to catch it early and remove it from your yard.
- 3. Quackgrass
- Creeping grass, or quackgrass, is a tall grassy weed that can be difficult to remove once it takes hold in your lawn. The tall, pointed blades grow quickly and can reach three feet tall. This weed reproduces underground, making it hard to control unless you manually remove the weed and its root system.
- 4. Green Foxtail
- If you see clumps of flat blade grass with tuffs of furry heads of seed, you may have green foxtail in your lawn. This is one of the common lawn weeds that look like grass but are a menace once they show up in your yard. This weed produces a copious number of seeds, allowing it to spread quickly once it arrives.
- 5. Nutsedge
- Nutsedge is identified by V-shaped triangular blades that often grow with three blades on a stem. If you find this weed in your lawn, you will want to begin a thorough weed control campaign. These weeds reproduce underground and by seeds in the air, making them a nuisance that is difficult to control.
- 6. Annual Bluegrass
- While many people plant varieties of bluegrass for their lawn, annual bluegrass is an aggressive weed that you do not want in your yard. It grows in clumps of flat, light green blades with a curved, pointed top. Annual bluegrass is one of the most common lawn weeds that look like grass and one of the hardest to control.
Eradicating Grassy Weeds
Once you identify a grassy weed, you want to begin a control program. There are an estimated 3,000 or more species of weeds, and each has different ways for control. You will want to research the particular weed to determine the best way to eradicate it from your lawn. Some options include:
- Manually removing. Some weeds that look like grass can be pulled out – wild onion and garlic are good examples. However, others have extensive root systems that make it difficult to manually remove these weeds.
- Herbicides. There are many herbicides that can be used to control weeds. There are both pre-emergent and post-emergent chemicals that can target specific weeds.
- Natural weed control. If you do not like using chemicals, there are some natural weed control products that can be used to control some weeds.
- Strengthen your lawn. Keeping your grass healthy is the best way to fight off weeds. Mulching, fertilizing, watering and cultivating your grass can help keep out weeds from your lawn as well as improve its appearance.
Once grassy weeds begin taking over your lawn, it can be frustrating and difficult to eliminate these aggressive plants. Catching them quickly is the best option, but if they have already spread, contact a professional landscaper. There are treatments that are effective for controlling lawn weeds that look like grass.