Spring is just around the corner and pretty soon, that sweet smell of life will be back in the air! Our lawns will also start to grow and with that being said; it would be the ideal time to start tackling early spring weeds.
Weeds are extremely annoying to everyone who has a beautiful yard. While it is inevitable that weeds will appear in even the healthiest lawn, they are an eyesore and a hassle—to put it lightly. Spring weeds are a natural adversary to a healthy, beautiful lawn. The last thing you want is for weeds to appear out of nowhere in your amazing yard and destroy it. Weeds also fight for nutrition and water with your healthy turf, and some of the more aggressive ones even push out your desired turfgrasses.
It’s better to be proactive and get rid of them before they create any big issues. But do you know how to spot them? In this article we will discuss the most common spring weeds we find here in Pennsylvania and how to identify them.
Dandelions are without a doubt the most well-known of the early spring weeds that are simple to spot. We’ve all seen lush green lawns that have just come out of winter dormancy peppered with these perennial weeds yellow-colored seed heads. Dandelions are a perennial plant with leaves that range in length from 3 to 10 inches and originate from a single taproot. You probably also remember this perennial weed from its white “puff-ball” seed head you used to scoop up and blow off as a child.
Another early spring weed that stands out like a sore thumb in the grass is hairy bittercress. They actually start growing in the winter and mature in the early spring. The white flower is easy to spot among the other vegetation.
Since it grows all winter, it is likely to be noticed even by homeowners who have their lawns treated. It is almost impossible to keep it from growing, even if you keep up with the lawn care service during the summer.
Henbit & Purple Deadnettle
These two weeds are very similar and are members of the mint family. Mint family weeds are distinguished by their square stems, like all other members of the mint family.
The winter weeds begin to grow in the fall and finish in the spring, just like all other winter weeds. They are classified as winter annuals. Henbit and purple deadnettle flourish best in thinner grass areas and are relatively easy to control if treated early with specific, liquid broadleaf weed control materials.
Common & Mouse-ear Chickweed
Chickweed is a small, low-growing plant with heart-shaped leaves and small white flowers. Chickweed can be seen in urban environments in early spring, especially along the edges of sidewalks, beds, or curbs. Chickweed can be distinguished from other, similar plants by its small, fuzzy heart-shaped leaves. Chickweed can be distinguished from mouse-ear chickweed by its white flowers and the presence of hair on the leaves.
Wild onion and garlic are perennial plants that sprout from underground bulbs, and they will certainly stick out on any grass, but wild garlic leaves are spherical and hollow, while wild onion leaves are flat and solid.
Getting rid of both the wild ion and garlic plants could be difficult since they can lay dormant underground for several years undetected. They have a similar appearance to store-bought scallions but are smaller. Furthermore, deer will not eat these weeds, and your dogs and cats should avoid them since these early spring weeds are toxic to them.
Sometimes called “white clover,” this perennial weed is often found in lawns, especially in thin spots where it doesn’t have to fight with healthy grass to grow. White clover is a creeping, white-flowering plant that establishes roots whenever a stem node contacts the ground. White clover prefers soil with a lower pH and thrives in thin spots. You can usually see bees scurrying through your yard when white clover develops its flowers, so you would want to be mindful when you are around them.
In the spring, this tall, clumping plant blooms with little purple flowers. It is a winter annual and indeed one of the earliest weeds to appear in the spring. Given its toughness, it can be difficult to handle. It grows slowly and thrives on thin grass, and it has even adapted to growing in compacted soil.