Weeds With White Seeds

Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed. Name That Weed – Common Weeds That Could Be Growing In Your Lawn Lawn weeds can be a growing headache for property managers and are a primary concern when it comes to maintaining lawns. Q. Crazy weeds are literally popping seeds at me and my dog as we walk through the grass in our neighborhood. I have never seen them before, but they are everywhere this season! They’re about four inches high, have white flowers and ‘popping seeds’ (no wonder they’re so successful at reproducing!). Any idea what they are? They are difficult to pull because the seeds pop into your face. Thanks. —N. Ivy; Gaithersburg, MDAbout three years ago I noticed a pretty little white flower growing in my lawn. But after a few weeks, it turned into something from a science fiction movie, shooting its spikey seeds every which way if you touched it. My local garden shop identified it as a type of chickweed, and suggested I pull as much out as I could by hand. I spent many hours doing so, and all I got was a sore back. Last year I went online and correctly identified the culprit as Hairy Bitter cress. The recommended control method was to use a spray called Spectracide, which they forgot to mention also kills the lawn. Is there anything you can suggest to rid my lawn of this nuisance? Thank you. —Larry in Audubon, PAA. As you can imagine, a weed that evolves to have its dried seeds sitting on a kind of ‘trigger’ that shoots them into the air when the plant is disturbed has a huge reproductive edge. If a big herbivore comes along to devour the plant, that first touch is going to release a lot of lifeboats carrying the next generation. A number of weeds have developed this explosive ability, with ‘hairy bitter cress’ the most likely culprit at this time of year.Its small white flowers are similar to those of chickweed, another ‘unwanted plant’ that blooms early in the Spring. But chickweed is more of a flat, spreading, mat-like plant. And its seedpods aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. Both weeds are remarkably easy to control in flowerbeds; just pull them, roots and all, out of wet soil. Chickweed comes out in big clumps, while bitter cress has a nice little stalk that gives you a handle to grab onto. Just remember to soak the soil first; all weeds come out of wet soil MUCH easier than dry. But I like to wait until after the little white flowers form to pull these weeds. Their flowers open up right before the blooms on my fruit trees, attracting lots of the pollinators and beneficial insects I’ll need to get a good fruit set and to fight all the pests that want to eat those peaches as much as we do. If I’m paying attention and life cooperates, I’ll pull the weeds while they’re still in flower and before they set seed. Both weeds get composted—mixed into a good amount of shredded leaves hoarded from the previous fall; at least two parts leaves to every part green weed. The bitter cress typically comes up with a good amount of soil attached to its roots, which adds microbial life to the pile; and the chickweed has a lot of water content to help keep the moistness levels right. If I don’t get to them in time, I toast the seedheads with my trusty flame weeder before I pull the plants, just like I do with dandelions that have progressed to the puffball stage. Dandelion seeds burst into little flares of color—like Munchkin fireworks. Bittercress seeds explode with a loud ‘pop’. (Organic gardening is SO much more fun than spraying hormonal disruptor around!) Both weeds are also highly edible, especially when young. Chickweed is more nutritious than the salad greens that many people remove it to plant! And, although hairy bittercress (a member of the mustard family) doesn’t have nearly as many wild food fans as chickweed or purslane (perhaps the most edible ‘weed’), it does have some of the peppery taste of its namesake watercress, and it’s loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients. Pick it before the flower buds form and it won’t have nearly as much of the bitter edge that older plants take on. (Flowering changes the flavor of virtually all herbs and greens for the worse.) In turf, weeds like bittercress are a sure sign of poor lawn care. The answer is not to poison yourself and the environment (and kill your grass) in a futile attempt to remove the weed, but to care for your lawn correctly and deny the weed a place to live. Take good care of your grass and a harmless little plant like this should never have a chance to get established, much less thrive. For a Northern, cool-season lawn (one composed of cool-season grasses like rye, fescue and/or bluegrass) that means never cutting shorter than three inches, never feeding in summer, watering deeply but infrequently, and giving the lawn a big natural feeding in the Fall. If you scalp the lawn, weeds will thrive. If you water it frequently for short periods of time, weeds will thrive. And if you feed the poor heat-stressed thing in summer, weeds will take over. Oh—and don’t use chemical herbicides. We hear they’re murder on the poor grass…. Ask Mike A Question    Mike’s YBYG Archives    Find YBYG Show

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A Guide to Common Weeds in the United States

Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed.

Use this guide to learn more about some of the most common weeds across the United States.

What to Look For When Identifying Weeds

When identifying weeds, observe the following:

  • What does the weed look like? Is it tall or short? Does it have flowers?
  • Where is the weed growing on your property? Is the weed in the shade or in the sun?
  • Are there any drainage or runoff issues where the weed is found?
  • When is the weed growing? Is it spring, summer, winter, or fall? What is the local climate?

Knowing the appearance and location of weeds will help narrow down what type of weed(s) you may have.

Name That Weed – Common Weeds That Could Be Growing In Your Lawn

Lawn weeds can be a growing headache for property managers and are a primary concern when it comes to maintaining lawns. Unfortunately, it’s an annual battle that many facility and property managers endure. Without a doubt, weeds will find a way to creep back into your lawn, whether it’s from the wind, birds, a lawnmower, or possibly even through your very own soil which may contain weed seeds. While we continuously fight to be weed free, the question isn’t if you’ll have weeds to deal with, but rather when.

We’ve gathered a list of common weeds you might find in your lawn and what measures you can take to keep them at bay.

Broadleaf Plantain:

The broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed that has smaller leaves with a green leaf base. Blooming in spring to early summer, you will notice it adapts well to most sites, including drought tolerant conditions and thriving in overwatered soil. They can grow in heavy soils, sunny or shady areas and under very low mowing heights. Since these weeds reproduce readily by seed, they will require repeat applications of a post-emergent, broadleaf herbicide to effectively kill off large populations. To help manage broadleaf plantain aerate your soil, avoid overwatering, and using proper mow cut heights.

Common Chickweed:

Common chickweed is a low, dense growing annual weed that has branching stems with small, white, star-like flowers and five deeply-notched petals. This winter annual germinates in late fall and will start flowering in the spring. It prefers moist, fertile, and partly shaded locations but may sprout seeds in dry soil. Chickweed will also appear in lawns with thin turf. Control it with pre-emergent herbicides in late summer or early fall to prevent seeds from germinating or use a post-emergence control and apply it to actively growing immature weeds in the fall. If spring application is made you may need more than one application. Keep in mind that herbicide effectiveness is reduced as weeds mature.

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Dandelion:

Probably the icon of summer weeds any lawn faces, dandelions emerge in early spring when the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These persistent perennials come equipped with a deep taproot sprouting bright yellow blossoms that grow on end of leafless, hollow stalks and emit a white milky sap when broken. You may also recognize these with a white puffball seed head. This appears shortly after mowing. Dandelions reproduce readily by seed, and spread quickly by the dispersal of wind. They prefer moist conditions and soils, but thrive in weak, thin turf. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in early spring when temperatures are still cool.

Crabgrass:

Crabgrass gets its name from their leaves because they form a tight, crab-like circle. The summer annual germinated when soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit and appear in weak or bare areas of the lawn. Treating crabgrass can be tricky because over and under watering both favor its growth, along with close mowing. To control it, spray with a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide in the spring when temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep seeds from sprouting.

There are different types of crabgrass you can be on the lookout for:
Large crabgrass is a bunching-type grass featuring seed head spikelets in two to nine fingerlike branches along the stalk.

Southern crabgrass forms in dense strands in open sites. It grows laterally along the ground with branched stems that root at the nodes.

Smooth crabgrass can be distinguished from large crabgrass by the absence of hairs on the leaves. The seed head features two to six fingerlike spiked branches.

Ground Ivy:

Ground ivy is a perennial with square stems that extend several feet and root at the leaf nodes. These weeds showcase rounded scalloped leaves and small funnel-shaped purple flowers that grow in clusters. Ground ivy prefers shady, moist areas of the lawn with poor fertility, and can tolerate low mowing heights. Fall is an excellent time to use a post-emergent herbicide to treat it. Applications in the spring (when it is in flower) is also a good time to get effective control.

White Clover:

Interestingly, white clover used to be a common ingredient in lawn seed blends. However, now it’s regarded as a common weed in your lawn. White clovers are a low-growing, creeping winter perennial with stems that root at nodes. The elliptical leaves are grouped in threes and usually have a light green or white band like a watermark, plus toothing on the edges. These weeds are most noticed for their white to pink-tinged flower clusters growing from the long stems that usually rise above the leaves. They actively grow in cooler temperatures with increased moisture and where soil is poor and low in nitrogen.

Annual Bluegrass:
Annual bluegrass is an annual weed, just as the name suggests. It blends very well with fescue grasses due to its light green color. Its color, however, makes it stand out in dark green turf grasses and will typically form in clumps, so it’s easy to spot the culprit. Annual bluegrass seeds germinate in late summer as temperatures start falling below 70 degrees. It appears where overwatering occurs and/or there is poor draining soil. Since it produces most it its seed head in the spring, applying a pre-emergent herbicide prior to germination of the seedlings will prevent growth.

Wild Violet:

These perennial weeds are pansy-like flowers featuring five blue-violet, lilac or white petals that grows in bunches reaching 2-5 inches tall. Wild violets can quickly take over cool, shady, moist, and fertile soil. Eradicating these weeds can be difficult due to its aggressive growth and resistance to many herbicides. To control, apply a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide as soon as the violets reach the two-leaf stage of growth.

Bull Thistle:

Bull thistle is a biennial that can form large infestations, especially along roads and vacant fields. They bloom in mid to late summer and grow erect with spines on the leaves and stems. They are coarsely hairy on the upper side, contain softer, whitish hairs below and rose to reddish-purple flowers grow at the ends of the branches. Bull thistle reproduces by seed only. For optimum control, application prior to seed set is most effective. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in fall or early spring, when the thistle is in the seedling to rosette stage.

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Weeds can be deceptive in your lawn, and they aren’t shy to grow and spread quickly! They are your lawns biggest threat to staying lush, green and healthy. At Bluegrass, we provide you with a preemptive weed control program to help stop those weeds in their tracks. Give us a call today at 314.770.2828 or fill out our simple online contact form to discuss your lawn care needs.

Weeds That Shoot Their Seeds

Its small white flowers are similar to those of chickweed, another ‘unwanted plant’ that blooms early in the Spring. But chickweed is more of a flat, spreading, mat-like plant. And its seedpods aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. Both weeds are remarkably easy to control in flowerbeds; just pull them, roots and all, out of wet soil. Chickweed comes out in big clumps, while bitter cress has a nice little stalk that gives you a handle to grab onto. Just remember to soak the soil first; all weeds come out of wet soil MUCH easier than dry.

But I like to wait until after the little white flowers form to pull these weeds. Their flowers open up right before the blooms on my fruit trees, attracting lots of the pollinators and beneficial insects I’ll need to get a good fruit set and to fight all the pests that want to eat those peaches as much as we do.

If I’m paying attention and life cooperates, I’ll pull the weeds while they’re still in flower and before they set seed. Both weeds get composted—mixed into a good amount of shredded leaves hoarded from the previous fall; at least two parts leaves to every part green weed. The bitter cress typically comes up with a good amount of soil attached to its roots, which adds microbial life to the pile; and the chickweed has a lot of water content to help keep the moistness levels right.

If I don’t get to them in time, I toast the seedheads with my trusty flame weeder before I pull the plants, just like I do with dandelions that have progressed to the puffball stage. Dandelion seeds burst into little flares of color—like Munchkin fireworks. Bittercress seeds explode with a loud ‘pop’. (Organic gardening is SO much more fun than spraying hormonal disruptor around!)

Both weeds are also highly edible, especially when young. Chickweed is more nutritious than the salad greens that many people remove it to plant! And, although hairy bittercress (a member of the mustard family) doesn’t have nearly as many wild food fans as chickweed or purslane (perhaps the most edible ‘weed’), it does have some of the peppery taste of its namesake watercress, and it’s loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients. Pick it before the flower buds form and it won’t have nearly as much of the bitter edge that older plants take on. (Flowering changes the flavor of virtually all herbs and greens for the worse.)

In turf, weeds like bittercress are a sure sign of poor lawn care. The answer is not to poison yourself and the environment (and kill your grass) in a futile attempt to remove the weed, but to care for your lawn correctly and deny the weed a place to live. Take good care of your grass and a harmless little plant like this should never have a chance to get established, much less thrive.

For a Northern, cool-season lawn (one composed of cool-season grasses like rye, fescue and/or bluegrass) that means never cutting shorter than three inches, never feeding in summer, watering deeply but infrequently, and giving the lawn a big natural feeding in the Fall.

If you scalp the lawn, weeds will thrive. If you water it frequently for short periods of time, weeds will thrive. And if you feed the poor heat-stressed thing in summer, weeds will take over.

Oh—and don’t use chemical herbicides. We hear they’re murder on the poor grass….