Ugh, weeds. You put a lot of work into your yard with the hopes of helping it look its best so you can relax and enjoy it this summer. Then you spot a weed and all that relaxation goes out the window. Suddenly, you’re on the offensive, prepping to battle an invasive species. Fortunately, you can avoid all the stress by knowing how to spot and eradicate the most common weeds. And we’ve put together this guide to help you do exactly that.
Here are seven of the most common types of weeds — and what you can do about them.
If you live in the northern half of the country, odds are high you’ve encountered this broadleaf annual. You can spot it by looking for its scalloped leaves with gray undersides. It’s a fast grower that sucks the moisture out of your soil, so don’t dally in removing it from your garden.
Pull lambsquarters by hand or extricate it with a sharp hoe. You want to get all of the root because it can survive for decades in the soil. Alternately, you can treat it with a post-emergence herbicide.
And, bonus, if you haven’t been using chemicals in your yard, you can actually eat lambsquarters. It’s a little like spinach and you can enjoy it raw, steamed or sauteed.
A summer weather lover, this annual weed springs up tall with a taproot that’s red. Amaranth grows clusters of green flowers that look like they have little hairs. But you don’t want them to get to that point, because once this plant goes to flower, you’re fighting a much bigger battle.
Pull pigweed by hand or use a post-emergence herbicide on it. Mulch your yard to prevent it from coming back.
This is another edible weed. The greens can be used in a tossed salad or cooked.
Who doesn’t love puffing a dandelion’s seedhead like Belle in Beauty & the Beast? People who don’t want their yards overtaken, that’s who. Those signature seedheads make this plant spread like, well, a weed.
If you’ve got dandelions in your yard, dig them out (they can have a deep taproot, so keep digging to ensure you’ve got it all) or spray them. If you choose the spray route, kick them a bit beforehand. No, you’re not just getting your aggression out. Wounding their leaves helps the herbicide absorb better.
And if you didn’t spray, this is another edible weed. The Farmer’s Almanac has quite the variety of recipes awaiting you.
This stiff, V-shaped, grassy weed can produce a yellow or purple flower. Nutsedge grows underground tubers, also called nuts or nutlets. Get rid of those bad boys before the weed can spread.
The best course of action is to pull the weeds by hand, but you can also spray with a post-emergence herbicide. Just be sure to read the labels because you need something that’s specifically formulated to get rid of sedge.
Nutsedge can actually be a helpful indicator of soil quality. If you’ve got it, it’s a sign your soil isn’t draining very well.
This annual likes shady, moist spots. It’s got small, white flowers and if you let it get to seed, you’ll be dealing with as much as 800 seeds per plant. A lot of the other common weeds on this list prefer the summer’s heat, but you’ll usually start to see chickweed springing up in the spring, so start checking for it early. When it spreads, it will create a mat of green.
Hand pull chickweed or look for an herbicide formulated to treat chickweed. Mulch can help you keep it at bay, too.
As its name suggests, this summer annual looks like a grass. But you can spot it because it keeps close to the ground, spreading out along its surface. It likes hot and dry conditions. And, good news, it’s easy to control.
If you’ve got crabgrass, hand pull it or treat it with a post-emergence herbicide. If it’s growing in your lawn, mowing regularly and keeping your turfgrass healthy should be enough to crowd it out.
Sure, it’s pretty. But bindweed, also known as perennial morning glory, is one of the most common weeds — and one of the most difficult to control. A single weed can spread 10 feet in all directions, often under the soil thanks to its wandering roots, so getting rid of bindweed can be a hassle.
You can identify it by its vines filled with arrowhead-shaped leaves and small white or pink morning glory flowers.
Getting rid of this weed takes some work. Keep pulling it every time it emerges and you’ll eventually wear out the root. Or treat it with an herbicide that can kill it at the root — but don’t expect it to work in one go. Keep reapplying the herbicide as needed to get rid of bindweed.
Now you’re ready to deal with the most common weeds and keep your lawn looking great this summer. But if you’re sick of fighting a losing battle against the weeds in your yard, a dedicated lawn care professional can help you keep your yard lush, beautiful and weed-free.