low growing creeping weeds

Weed Type:

Weed Name:

Weed Name:

Yellow Nutsedge.

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To help simplify weed defense, we’ve charted 10 common lawn weeds, including their characteristics, type and how they spread, and most importantly- how to eliminate them. Weeds, like ornamental garden plants, can be annuals or perennials. Annual weeds, such as crabgrass, complete their entire life cycle in a single growing season, and then die, leaving seeds behind to continue the legacy. Perennial weeds, such as dandelions, come back year after year from their roots, and distribute new seeds to boot. Weeds can also be grass-like, broadleaf or sedge. Choosing the right weed control product requires understanding the weed you want to fight and its stage of growth. Pre-emergent weed controls, sometime called preventers, work to keep weed seeds from germinating and developing. Post-emergent weed controls fight weeds that have already germinated and emerged from the soil.


Broadleaf perennial with shallow, fibrous roots.

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1. Always mow at the recommended mowing height for your type of lawn grass. This helps promote healthy root growth and increases resistance to pests and disease.

Weed Name:

Pennington UltraGreen Weed and Feed 30-0-4 Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed and Feed 34-0-4 IMAGE All-In-One Weed Killer IMAGE Kills Nutsedge.


By seeds and lower stem pieces that root.

How it Spreads:

Broadleaf annual (responsible for hay fever) with shallow, fibrous roots.

2. Mow based on grass growth, not your calendar. Time your mowing so you remove roughly one-third of the length of the grass blades in a single mowing.

How it Spreads:

Where It Grows: Sunny or partly shaded lawn, landscape, or garden areas.

Appearance: Identify this weed groundcover by its fleshy, dark green leaves and small yellow flowers at the ends of the stems.

Appearance: This common lawn weed has a long taproot; leaves are deeply notched. Yellow flowers mature into puffballs. Dandelion seeds are like parachutes that fly away in the wind, helping them invade new spaces in lawns and garden beds.

Size: To 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

Appearance: White clover has three-lobe leaves and round white flower clusters. The plants quickly spread outward to form dense mats of foliage.

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Type: Broadleaf perennial.

Weed Control Tips: Mulch garden areas in spring to prevent weeds. Pull oxalis weeds by hand or spray weeds with a broadleaf herbicide in spring or fall.

Test Garden Tip: Clover adds nitrogen to the soil plus the flowers feed many pollinators so some gardeners use this plant to create a more environmentally friendly lawn.

Control: Mulch garden areas in spring to prevent creeping charlie. Pull plants by hand or spray with a postemergence herbicide in spring or fall.

Where It Grows: Landscape and garden areas in sun or shade.

Type: Broadleaf perennial.

Type: Broadleaf annual.

Control: Mulch the garden to prevent weeds or use a preemergence herbicide in spring. Pull weeds by hand or spot-treat with a nonselective postemergence herbicide.

Test Garden Tip: This weed is native to areas of North America. Unlike many exotic weeds, it does support local wildlife.

Appearance: Identify this garden weed by its light green leaves, clusters of white flowers, and dark purple berries.

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Control: Prevent poison ivy with a deep layer of mulch. If the weed starts to grow in your yard, spot-treat it with an herbicide or wrap your hand in a plastic bag, pull the plant up, roots and all, and carefully invert the plastic bag around the plant, seal, and throw away.

Size: To 2 feet tall and wide.

Where It Grows: Fertile, sunny landscape and garden areas.

Where it grows: Sunny landscape or garden areas.

Appearance: Dayflowers have dark green leaves sprouting from a stem and brilliant blue flowers through the summer.

Appearance: Canada thistle has spiny, gray-green leaves and purple flowers.

Type: Broadleaf annual.

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Type: Grass-like perennial.

Size: 6 feet tall, 2 feet wide.

Control: Use a preemergence weed preventer ($26, Amazon) to prevent seeds from sprouting, pull plants by hand, or spot-treat with a nonselective herbicide if growing in sidewalk cracks or other places where nothing else is growing.

Type: Broadleaf annual.

Control: Prevent knotweed with a deep layer of mulch or apply a preemergence herbicide in spring. Once the plant grows, hand-pull or spot-treat it with a nonselective weed killer.

Test Garden Tip: This plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental in shade gardens.

Size: 8-10 inches tall, 12 inches wide.

Appearance: Identify this lawn weed and groundcover by its scalloped leaves, creeping stems, and clusters of purple flowers in late spring.

As a lawn weed, purslane is a prolific seed producer. A chemical control regimen will address the issue at both ends: with a pre-emergent herbicide (such as dithiopyr) and a post-emergent herbicide (such as 2,4-D). Persistence is required.

But if you are resolute about eradicating the clover mixed in with your turf grass, there are both chemical and organic means to do so. For the former, seek a broadleaf herbicide intended for use on the type of grass that you’re growing (study the label on the bottle carefully). Along with other broadleaf weeds, clover will also be killed by such herbicides.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu.

Purslane is a ground-hugging weed with fleshy leaves. It tends to thrive in dry, sandy soils.

There are dozens of different lawn weeds, but the greatest problems are caused by a select few. While it is tempting to simply use heavy doses of broad-spectrum chemical killers to eradicate weeds, there may also be more specific remedies for specific weeds. Plus, some weeds are remarkably resistant to herbicides, responding better to different methods of control.

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

Although it's just a common lawn weed, one can count creeping Charlie among the fragrant plants. When you mow a lawn that has creeping Charlie mixed in with the grass, the fragrance is released into the air. Perhaps it's a small thing, but inhaling the pleasant aroma takes one's mind off the work involved in mowing.

Yellow or "curly" dock is one of the easier plants listed here to identify. It has a distinctive dried flower head that resembles coffee grounds. A dock is a tall plant when mature, so you may not associate it with lawns, but seeds may well sprout up as tiny plants in your lawn, and especially along fence lines if you haven't trimmed diligently.

If you choose to engage the enemy organically (by digging it up), you will have to be persistent, too. The tiniest pieces of vegetation in the soil will regenerate.

Or, you can eat your dandelions. Yes, dandelions are edible and delicious. All parts of the plant are good in salads or as cooked greens.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu.

There are two types of ragweed, but the form that haunts lawns is Ambrosia artemisiifolia , common ragweed.

Here are nine common lawn weeds that most homeowners eventually have to deal with.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu.

Common plantain ( Plantago major ) may take you back to your childhood. Did you have a pet bunny as a kid? What did you feed it? If you built a bottomless outdoor cage for your pet (with the cage resting directly on the ground, without legs), your bunny no doubt would eat the vegetation under him. Grass would have been on the menu, but another favorite dish would have been common plantain (if present). Common plantain is also edible by people and may be used in salads or as a cooked green.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu.

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)

This member of the mint family is also used as a salad green in some places.

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova.

There are many species of clover, all of which homeowners would like to banish from the lawn. This is perhaps a mistake, as clovers are actually quite healthy for a lawn. It is fragrant, resists most pests, helps to aerate the soil, and best of all, as a member of the pea family, clover actually adds nitrogen to the soil. There is a lot to be said for a lawn that contains a healthy percentage of clover within its turf-grass blend. Besides red clover ( Trifolium pratense ), white clover ( Trifolium repens ) is the most common lawn clover.

Unlike many weeds, dandelion is a perennial plant, and its tenacious long taproot makes it a difficult enemy to eradicate. But dandelions can be pulled by hand, and they can also be killed with vinegar.

Common plantain has a broad leaf, but a relative, Plantago lanceolata , has grass-like foliage and is called b uckthorn plantain, or ribgrass .

This is another plant with a big taproot. While digging it out is possible, you'll have to be thorough. Follow up removal by checking to see if new growth has emerged from any root fragments left behind. If you don't care about staying organic and you're dealing only with an isolated yellow dock plant here or there, the leaves are big enough that you could carefully daub a bit of Roundup (glyphosate) onto the foliage to kill the plant.

You can dig up plantains to get rid of them organically—the roots are relatively shallow. However, this is a perennial weed, and any portion of the roots that aren't pulled will regenerate.

Common Plantain (Plantago major)

PaoloBis / Getty Images.

The common dandelion is a member of the aster family. It arrived in North America from Europe and quickly established itself as a wildflower—and common lawn weed.

Unlike many lawn weeds, this one is indigenous to North America, not a foreign invader.

The Spruce / David Beaulieu.

For more environmentally friendly controls, you can simply to pull up the clover. Be aware, though that the presence of the clover in the first place indicates that your soil is lacking in nitrogen. If you remove the clover, you should add nitrogen in the form of compost or granular fertilizer. If entire patches of lawn are bare once the clover is removed, you should reseed these areas with turf grass. To prevent the reappearance of clover, keep these spots healthy and well-fed.

Unlike some of the other examples on this list, Ambrosia artemisiifolia does not have a taproot, so weeding is easy: just pull it up. Ragweed thrives in poor soil, so keeping your lawn healthy and well-fed will also discourage ragweed.

Creeping Charlie is one of the most stubborn of lawn weeds, but it has shallow roots and is easy enough to pull if you are patient and diligent. It is also susceptible to control using household borax.

A common lawn weed that resembles a type of clover but isn’t one is Oxalis stricta , better-known as sourgrass or as yellow wood sorrel.