With the vast number of climates in Texas, it’s no shocker that the variety of weeds in Texas is pretty broad.
Which weeds should you be looking out for in your own North Texas yard?
There are two major types of weeds:
- Broadleaf weeds
- Grassy weeds.
The broadleaf variety has wider and more noticeable foliage, so they tend to stick out among your turf grass.
However, grassy weeds are more effective at hiding in your lawn until they become visible, at which point they have likely spread beyond the point of manageability.
Here, we will explore some common weeds in southern areas like Texas and how to deal with them effectively.
In addition to the common dandelion, there are several other invasive plants you need to be on the lookout for in your yard. Now keep in mind that “weed” doesn’t necessarily mean the plant will harm your grass. It simply means that it spreads rapidly and may take over your turf faster than you can stop it.
Here are a few common broadleaf weeds to look out for:
Also known as amaranth, this plant tends to crop up during late spring and early summer. While it can show up in turf grass, it is more problematic in crops and gardens.
Pigweed is best dealt with preventatively, with winter mulching to discourage seed germination. In early spring, you should till your earth and pull up any seedlings attempting to sprout. Follow that with a second layer of mulch, and your pigweed should perish fairly easily.
This broadleaf annual is named for the fact that chickens love to munch on it. The problem is that it spreads rapidly and many find it intrusive and unattractive in their lawns.
Chickweed can grown up to eight inches high with tiny white flowers. Their growth pattern includes matting, which can choke out your grass, so best use a selective herbicide as soon as you notice their presence.
This lovely white flower an wreak havoc on your lawn if you allow it to. It blooms in the spring and grows an lengthy taproot that can be difficult to dig up and fully eradicate.
Bittercress spreads mainly through seeds, so addressing the problem before it blooms is the key. The good thing is, a post-emergent herbicide used early on is effective. Because this is an annual plant, you only need to get rid of it once to prevent it from returning.
Also known as the Dolly Parton Flower, this invasive succulent enjoys warm and well-watered soil but can certainly withstand heat and drought. Its nickname comes from the fact that its flowers bloom from 9 to 5!
Purslane seeds can survive multiple years beneath the soil, making it a bit of a hassle to get rid of. You’ll want to use a post-emergent herbicide before it blooms, in order to kill off any buds before they get a chance to spread their seeds in your yard.
Spurge is a hardy plant with a variety of species and subspecies. While some are grown ornamentally, wild spurge can be a disruption to your otherwise uniform turf grass.
It grows through the spring and summer, and can be difficult to control because it thrives in a variety of environments and soil types. Most experts recommend using both a pre- and post-emergent herbicide to fully rid your lawn of this intruder.
Otherwise known as “ground ivy,” this weed spreads via creeping stolons along the ground. While it doesn’t directly harm your turf grass, its growth pattern tends to create “mats” that can deprive your topsoil and root system of nutrients and moisture.
Creeping Charlie is difficult to get rid of, but easy to avoid. That is, a dense grass bed won’t allow it to set in at all. But if you’ve already been invaded, any leftover roots or stolons will easily sprout into a whole new plant to contend with!
This plant also goes by roadside aster and slender aster. It grows in clumps, producing flowers that resemble a daisy. While that sounds attractive at first, asterweed can become problematic pretty quickly.
As it matures, the plants, stems become woodier, meaning that they’re sturdier as well as more difficult to get rid of. Best practice is to water thoroughly, as it prefers dry soil, and to apply a pre-emergent treatment before asterweed gets a chance to flower.
Thistle can fool you when it first sprouts, looking a bit like dandelions until it produces those little spiked purple blossoms. The thing is, you really want to nip this one in the bud if you don’t want it around. A single patch can easily reach a foot wide and several feet tall.
It grows both as a biennial and a perennial, spreading mainly through seeds. The best measure is to treat vigorously with a post-emergent herbicide before blooming, and to dig up as many seedlings as possible.
Ah yes, the stereotype of all weeds! These poor souls don’t actually cause any harm to adjacent plant life, but they are often seen as an eyesore and are disliked for their opportunistic growth habit.
Dandelions bloom both perennially and biennially, producing yellow blossoms that soon turn to grey crowns of seed spores which children love to blow on. Dig them up by hand, or use a post-emergent herbicide that’s formulated specifically for broadleaf weeds.
Named for the fact that yard birds love to munch on it, this annual weed tends to bloom in the spring. It has notched leaves and spreads via seeds when it blossoms in late spring.
Like many weeds henbit is best dealt with before it blossoms and gets a chance to seed your yard. Keep an eye out for sprouts and treat them immediately with a selective herbicide.
This perennial intruder loves moist soil, so it’s most likely to crop up in overwartered lawns and low areas that don’t drain well. It doesn’t actually harm your grass or garden, but many people don’t appreciate the inconsistency it creates in their landscape.
Because clover loves wet soil, so one option is to give your lawn a brief dry spell to try and discourage clover growth. Selective spot-treatments are also effective and typically safe for your grass.
This weed is sometimes mistaken for a harmless plant called dichondra. However, it actually has darker and larger leaves, and can harm your lawn if left unchecked.
If you spot dollarweed in your yard, there are some simple measures you can take. Herbicides like atrizine work fairly well if applied during early growth. Meanwhile, you can also apply mulch around shrubs and trees to prevent sprouting, and keep your lawn as healthy as possible to choke out the dollarweed.
These intruders are a bit trickier to spot in your grass turf because they can blend in pretty easily. That is, they masquerade as normal grass only at first. Most of them will quickly take on a different shape, color, or height than the grass breed you’ve chosen, so they’re easier to identify once your lawn has grown out a bit from mowing.
Here are a few grassy weeds to look out for:
Sedges are one of the most difficult plants to get rid of in your yard. While some types are grown intentionally, their invasive nature is the reason they are commonly classed as a weed.
Nutsedge grows in clumps of v-shaped sprouts that resemble normal grass at first, but they tend to turn yellowish and grow much faster than common turf grass. The best deterrent is to establish a dense turf grass that doesn’t allow for nutsedge to develop in the first place. This includes adequate watering and fertilizing practices, but a pre-emergent herbicide should be used if you suspect your lawn may be at risk.
This plant will look very much like your own lawn when it first begins to sprout, but don’t be fooled. Its biggest giveaway is the tiny blue flowers it produces, which can bloom any time of year.
Dayflower is difficult to get rid of because its seeds can remain viable for over a year while lying dormant in your soil. Hand-pulling seems fairly effective, and fertilizers with sulfentrazone show good results as well.
This is a tough one to identify, as it initially resembles both ryegrass and crabgrass. In addition to its tufted growth pattern, what else it has in common with its brethren is its resiliency. The best deterrent is to foster a healthy grass bed that’s too dense to let quackgrass to set in in the first place.
Quackgrass is best avoided with proactive use of a pre-emergent herbicide that doesn’t allow it to gain any momentum. It’s a deep rooter so it’s hard to dig up. If you have any reason at all to believe your yard is succeptible to quackgrass, go ahead and treat it in early spring with a pre-emergent product.
While perennial ryegrass is sometimes used as a turf for lawns and landscapes, annual ryegrass is a poor choice for the long-term. It is often used in the short-term for populating fields, and sometimes mixed in with other grass seeds, which is a common mean by which it finds its way into residential lawns.
While not specifically harmful to your chosen turf grass, annual ryegrass only lasts up to two years. It will then die off, leaving unsightly yellow patches in your yard that need sod plugs or overseeding to remediate. It can be identified by its thin blades and rapid growth pattern.
Also known as duck grass or button grass, you will likely recognize this weed by its fuzzy star-shaped spikes that extend beyond its grassy foliage. While not overtly invasive, many find this plant unattractive in their lawns and gardens.
Crowfoot grass does have a “matting” growth pattern that can be potentially harmful to your soil and turf grass. Mulching is an effective method for garden areas, and a selective herbicide should be used on lawns.
Not to be confused with “fescue,” this grass is opportunistic but short-lived. Some appreciate it for its ability to sustain local wildlife, but it’s a bit of a liability when it comes to aesthetics.
While rescuegrass won’t harm your chosen turf grass in your yard, it dies off very quickly. This means you’re left to patch up yellow spots with overseeding or sod plugs. The best way to handle it is with a selective herbicide and a close eye: look out for hairy leaf sheaths and flattened spikes, and apply the treatment very carefully.
This creeping weed does a great job of impersonating your turf grass, especially if you’ve got a bed of St. Augustine. However, the best way to spot it is noticing the clumping blades have a rubbery texture that differs from your established grass.
This foe can propagate easily and take over your lawn if not dealt with quickly using a pre-emergent herbicide. It spreads by creeping stolons (stems that grow along the ground), as well as by seeding, so be sure and tackle it before it gets a chance to spread and start flowering.
This may be one of the most formidable foes known to residential, commercial, and ranch-based land owners. Crabgrass is truly harmful to your turf, and it’s incredibly challenging to get rid of.
This grass looks a lot like turf grass at first, but for its clumping growth pattern and rapid spreading. It propagates both through seeding and through stolens, creating a double threat. The best remedy is using a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring, to stave off any possible invasion.
Poa Annua (Bluegrass)
This plant is an avid seeder, which makes it especially difficult to control. It typically shows its face in late winter and early spring, and it really loves moist soil for seed germination.
The funny thing about Bluegrass is that you have to treat it differently depending on the turf you’ve chosen. For St. Augustine grass, a pre-emergent herbicide is your best bet. However, with Zoysia grass and Bermuda grass, both a pre- and post-emergent treatment will be best.
This perennial grows in clumps that will continue to get larger until you stop it. Some weeds are simply opportunistic in their growth patterns, but dallisgrass will actually choke out your turf grass with its roots.
Because it poses an immediate threat to your lawn, dallisgrass needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. Unforunately it grows well in clay-rich soils like those found in North Texas. Take all the proper measures to enrich your turf so dallisgrass doesn’t get a chance to set in, and use a selective herbicide once you spot it.
Crow poison looks somewhat like wild onion with its tiny white flowers, but you can differentiate the two by noticing the lack of fragrance. Also known as false garlic, this pest is hardy enough to grown in all four seasons.
Please make sure you identify it properly, as this grassy plant is not edible! Some experts say that organic herbicides are sufficient to rid your yard of crow poison. And as with many other grassy weeds, a dense and healthy bed of turf is the best deterrent.
While goosegrass resembles crabgrass, it is actually somewhat less of a pest. It grows in clumps, is considered a summer annual plant, and prefers poorly drained soil.
If your turfgrass is healthy enough to handle it, one good way to discourage goosegrass from propagating is to give it a brief dry spell. Additionally, aerating your soil can help prevent it from setting in to begin with. Pre-emergents are best to stave off this foe.