Weed Removal in Turfgrass
ProLawnPlus provides weed removal services for Maryland residents in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, in addition to portions of Harford and Carroll Counties.
Listed below are in-depth descriptions of common, yet difficult weeds found in local turfgrass. For your convenience, we have also included instructions on weed removal. With a landscape clear of pesky turfgrass weeds, your lawn will be able to grow to its full potential.
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For any further questions regarding turfgrass weeds, weed removal, or how to maintain a healthy lawn, feel free to call us at 410-825-TURF.
Dallisgrass is a light green warm season perennial. It spreads upright forming clumps with leaves that are about 1/2 inch wide. It germinates in 60 to 65 degree soils, and although it thrives in the hot and humid south, it can be found all the way up to the mid-Atlantic. The best way to remove this plant is by pulling out the clumps with your hands or a small garden tool.
Veronica speedwell are winter annuals and thus are seen in lawns in late fall and in the spring. Veronica is commonly misidentified by customers as chickweed because some species look similar from a distance.
However, most veronica species have blue or purple flowers while chickweed has white flowers. Another difference is that chickweed is very easy for us to control and veronica is difficult to control. It generally requires several herbicide applications of products stronger than we normally apply. One good thing about most Veronica species we see are that the flowers are very tiny and thus are not that displeasing aesthetically. Furthermore, since they are winter annuals, they die out for the year once the temperatures stay over 80°F for a few weeks.
Bermudagrass is a warm season perennial turfgrass. Its leaves are short and approximately 1/8 inch wide and have rough edges. The roots grow deep and are very fibrous, allowing the plant to survive during drought. Bermudagrass does not grow in the shade, is very tolerant of low mowing and can be found in either dry or wet soils. Physical hand removal is possible with bermudagrass, and it is also susceptible to some grass herbicides.
Roughstalk Bluegrass, or Poa trivialis, is a cool season, rapidly spreading turfgrass. It is light green and its leaves are shiny. During drought, it gains a bronze hue and is among the first grasses to turn green in the spring. It forms dense, irregular, circular patches that can be from 6 inches to several feet in diameter. It thrives in moderate shade and moist soils. Hand pulling is an option for removal, as is non-selective herbicide sprayed only on the roughstalk bluegrass.
Annual Bluegrass is a cool season annual. It is an apple green colored plant that grows up to 15 inches. Its leaves grow 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and 1/25 to 1/5 inch wide. The leaves are smooth and soft with a boat-shaped tip. It can grow 1 to 3 1/2 inch pyramidal flowers as well. Annual Bluegrass occurs in cool temperatures and wet, compacted soils. It responds to intense mowing and has no tolerance to extreme temperatures. To dispose of annual avoid excessive watering and fertilization and keep soil loose.
Nimblewill is a warm season perennial. It is blue-green and forms dense patches a foot long in diameter or more. Its leaves are short and flat and are about 2 inches long. In late summer, it sprouts cylindrical 2 to 6 inch long flowers on slender stalks. It is found in both shady and sunny locals and favors moist soil. When dormant, its patches become fuzzy and a faded dull brown. Improving soil drainage, reducing shade and increasing air movement are the best steps to take in removing nimblewill.
• Creeping Bentgrass
Creeping Bentgrass is a blue-green cool season perennial. It forms puffy, dense patches of fine-textured grass. Its rough leaves are 1/8 in wide. The tip is pointed and it has prominent veins on the upper surface. In late spring or early summer, Creeping Bentgrass forms purple flowers. It thrives in moist, fertile areas where the turf is closely mowed. To control Creeping Bentgrass, avoid over watering, over fertilization and close mowing.
• Wild Violets
Wild Violets can be either winter annual or perennial. They can grow up to a foot tall and form large, dense patches. Its leaves are kidney-shaped to broadly oval with heart-shaped bases. The leaves come from the base of the plant and are 2-4 inches wide, often cupped, and have toothed edges. The flowers appear early in spring and are white, blue, purple and yellow. Wild Violets are found in moist, shady, fertile areas and are most obvious in spring and autumn when the environment is cool. To get rid of them, reduce shade and allow the soil to dry up.
• Ground Ivy
Ground Ivy, also known as “Creeping Charlie,” is a difficult to control cool season perennial. It is medium to dark green in color and forms patches in turf. It creeps on square stems that can grow up to 2 1/2 feet in length. Its leaves are round or kidney shaped and 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They can be smooth or hairy and produce a minty odor when crushed. It sprouts flowers in April to June that are small, lavender to blue-purple and funnel shaped. It thrives in shaded sites with poorly drained and fertile soils, but will spread into sunny areas. The way to get rid of Ground Ivy is by reducing shade and soil moisture.
• Spotted Spurge
Spotted Spurge is a summer annual that produces seeds in 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. From a central taproot, it grows a flat, extensively-branched mat up to 2 feet in diameter. The stems leak a milky sap when broken. Its leaves are small, oval and up to 3/5 inch long. They can be purple spotted and hairy. Flowers occur June to October and are small and cup shaped. It is found in thin, drought-stressed soil in hot climates and closely mowed grass. To get rid of Spotted Spurge, water deeply, fertilize in autumn and avoid close mowing.
• Black Medic
Black Medic can be either annual or a cool season perennial. It is dark green and shallow-rooted with hairy stems that spread from 1 to 2 feet. The leaves are sparsely hairy, oval, arranged in threes and can grow 1/5 to 3/5 inch long. It blooms 1/8 to 1/6 inch long bright yellow flowers that are clustered on short stems from April to October. Each cluster is 1/2 inch long and is composed of 50 individual flowers. Black Medic can be hand pulled.
• Yellow Woodsorrel
Yellow Woodsorrel, also known as oxalis, is pale green and either a cool season perennial or summer annual. It forms erect, bushy plants up to 20 inches tall. Its stems are slender and grey-green. Its leaves are grouped in three, are heart shaped and grow up to 4/5 inch across. Flowers occur during May to September and are yellow. They have five, flat-top petals that are 1/2 inch across and on the end of the stems in clusters of 4. It occurs in moist open, fertile land, but tolerates dry conditions when established and is difficult to control, so it is best to hand-pull.
• Japanese Stilt Grass
Japanese Stilt Grass, or Nepalese Browntop, is a pale green annual plant that grows up to 3 1/2 feet in height. The leaves are asymmetrical and lanced-shaped with a distinctive midrib and range from 1 to 3 inches long. Late summer yields flowers, and soon after fruits mature on the plant. It is found mostly in shady locations in moist or dry soil. It can be pulled from moist soil or mowed in late summer before the seeds are produced.
• Tall Fescue
Tall Fescue is a dark-green cool season perennial. It is a clumpy, coarse, bunch-type grass with flat leaves. The sharp-tipped leaves get up to 1/2 inch wide and have distinctive veins on the upper surface. Flowers that are contained in 1 foot branched clusters form in late spring or early summer. Unfortunately, Tall Fescue tolerates a wide variety of turf settings, so chemical control by a professional is the only choice for removal.
Quackgrass is an aggressive cool season perennial. It is dull green to light blue-green in appearance and is patch-forming. These coarse textured patches can grow up to 4 feet tall. The 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide and 3 to 12 inch long leaves are soft, flat and taper to a pointed tip. Narrow and dense flowers occur late May to September. It enjoys cool weather and thrives in thin, well-drained soil. It is hard to physically remove the underground portion of the plant, but low mowing can help.
Orchardgrass is an upright, coarse-textured cool-season perennial grass. It is light gray or dull green with 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide smooth leaves with a boat shaped tip. It grows in full sun or partial shade but will not tolerate heavy traffic or close mowing heights. Due to its rapid growth rate and the fact that its leaves shred against mover blades, mowing more frequently, or removal by hand, is necessary.
Nutsedge is a yellow-green warm season perennial. It has upright, grasslike leaves with a glossy upper surface and dull lower surface that emerge from the base of the plant. The leaves are 1/8 to 1/2 inch wide, up to 3 feet long, and have parallel veins with a prominent midvein. Its flat topped, burr-like flowers occur July to September and are affixed to the end of a stout triangular stem. It grows in all soil types, especially moist ones, but does not tolerate shade. To remove, increase drainage in moist or wet areas.
• Hairy Bittercress
Hairy bittercress is a winter annual weed that has become invasive here in Maryland. It germinates in October when you just see the leaves at the base of the plant are larger than the leaves at the top of the plant. The small white flowers develop on a stalk in late fall or winter. It flowers prolifically in February and March, and then goes to seed. Small round fruits (capsules) develop at the ends of each branch. The weed then disappears once the temperature warm and they lawn is mowed. You will see bittercress in lawns, beds and at the edges of woods. It is more difficult to control than most winter annual lawn weeds.
• Green Kyllinga
Green kyllinga is in the same family as nutsedge and grows in similar locations. Often green kyllinga can be recognized by its habit of growing in continuously enlarging patches similar to lawn grasses. Nutsedge appears more commonly as individual plants and have much wider leaves than the finer-bladed green kyllinga. Also, green kyllinga has a small, round seed head whereas nutsedges have an open spikelet.