Few things can be more frustrating in the lawn than weeds creeping in. If you’re struggling with lawn weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, or Warrenton, VA then you might be wondering what types of weeds you have so that you can get them under control and get back to having a great-looking lawn.
Of course, there are hundreds of different weed species in Northern VA so it is no simple feat to figure out what you’re dealing with. Even so, the first step in controlling the weeds in your lawn is identifying them.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of the 13 most common weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA. Chances are if you’re struggling with lawn weeds, you have at least one of these common culprits. Of course, many lawns are dealing with multiple varieties of weeds (many of which even resemble one another) so proper identification really is key.
The 13 Common Weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA
While it’s easy to assume that all weeds are the same, that’s not the case. There are many different types of weeds and since different weeds require different treatments, it’s essential that you figure out which weeds you have.
Here are some of the most common.
Chickweed is identifiable by its small white flowers and fleshy, egg-like leaves. It grows densely and close to the ground. Chickweed thrives in thin areas of the lawn as well as in shade. Unfortunately, this weed can spread rapidly and often grows in thick mats. It’s most common in late winter or early spring.
As a winter annual lawn weed, chickweed germinates in the winter and starts dropping seeds in the spring until rising temperatures cause it to die off. It is best treated early with selective, liquid broadleaf weed control before it has an opportunity to seed and spread more plants for next season.
This winter annual lawn weed is a member of the mustard family that can spread rapidly. It is characterized by tiny white flowers that develop at the end of its stems and turn into long seed pods.
It can produce up to 2,000 seeds per plant and literally “explodes” when ripe, ensuring that it will spread like wildfire. This weed grows in dense clumps but it has a shallow fibrous root system, making it easy to pull.
Bittercress is best controlled by mowing or hand-pulling it in early spring before it has a chance to spread its seeds. Having a weed spraying service appy post-emergent weed control in the early spring will also help prevent Bittercress from forming seed pods in the first place. Pre-emergent weed control can be applied in the fall before seeds germinate and will reduce its chances slightly as well.
Most homeowners are well-aware of the notorious dandelion, which has a sweet-sounding name but is a real pain to get rid of. That’s because dandelions are fast-growing and hardy. Even when conditions are not ideal for germination, the seeds can remain viable until growing conditions improve.
This broadleaf perennial is known for its bright yellow flower. It thrives best in moist soil and sunlight but has been known to be adaptable.
Dandelion seeds can be spread by strong winds, which can cause new growth many miles away from the original plant. As a perennial, even if the dandelion dies above the surface, it will continue to come back. However, this weed can be relatively easy to control if sprayed at the right time and with the right product. They require selective, liquid broadleaf weed control applied during periods of active growth.
4. Virginia Buttonweed
In terms of common weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA, this is a frustrating one. This mat-forming, rapidly spreading, deep-rooted weed is another notorious local weed that can be frustrating to get rid of. Virginia buttonweed is a broadleaf perennial that has spreading branches and thick leaves. It typically begins its growth in the spring and continues through the summer.
Buttonweed’s growth habit causes it to crowd out healthy turf over time. This lawn weed is classified as difficult-to-control and it may require several rounds of post-emergent broadleaf weed control by a weed spraying service. Since it thrives in poor turf conditions, the best defense against this weed is a thick and healthy lawn.
5. White Clover
This white-flowered weed grows low to the ground and is quite common in Northern Virginia lawns. It is a perennial weed that grows in a “creeping manner,” meaning that it develops roots anywhere that a stem node touches the ground.
This lawn weed can spread rapidly if you have a lawn with sparse areas, where it does not have to compete with healthy turf. Therefore, a thick and healthy lawn is a great defense against white clover. In addition, it can be relatively easy to control using a selective, liquid broadleaf weed control product.
This winter weed is a member of the mint family and is characterized by being sparsely hairy and having green or purple square stems. It has a fibrous root system and can grow as high as 12 to 16 inches in the early spring.
While it can quickly invade thinned out areas of your lawn, it is also relatively easy for a weed spraying service to control using liquid broadleaf weed control.
7. Wild Onion
Though wild onion and wild garlic are often grouped together, these are two separate (but equally pesky) weeds. The leaves of the wild onion weed are flat and emerge from the base of the plant. It occurs in bunches (and is not hollow or branched like wild garlic).
The control approach for both wild onion and wild garlic (which we’ll cover next) is the same. Both will die off on their own in the summer, however, the underground bulb can continue to persist for years. That’s why they are best treated with selective, liquid weed control that will cause the foliage to wilt down and disappear.
8. Wild Garlic
Very often mistaken for wild onion weed this weed’s name difference is the fact that it has round and hollow leaves. Leaves of wild garlic branch off of the main stem (as opposed to emerging from the base of the plant). Wild garlic omits a garlic odor when crushed (but so does wild onion).
The control is the same as described above. Note that wild garlic (and wild onion) may take multiple rounds of treatment as they can be persistent.
9. Ground Ivy
This low-growing perennial lawn weed is identifiable by its scalloped leaves and purplish/bluish flowers. It is an aggressive member of the mint family and grows by creeping along the soil surface.
To control ground ivy, a weed spraying service should apply a liquid, selective, post-emergent broadleaf weed control product during its period of active growth. Because this weed tends to grow on the edge of lawns and near trees and shrubs, it is essential that it is controlled carefully and with the right product.
10. Corn Speedwell
This upright and clumping weed produces small purple flowers in the spring. Because it is a winter annual it is one of the first weeds that you might see emerge in the spring. It is low-growing and thrives in thin turf. It has even adapted to growing in compacted soil.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to control, making a thick and healthy turf the best first step of defense. It is ideal to prevent it in the first place as it is not easy to control with products.
When it comes to lawn weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA, this one is pretty notorious. This grassy weed is aggressive and grows in unattractive clumps. It is an opportunistic weed that is likely to pop up in thin areas of the turf that have good access to sunlight. In time, it can grow rapidly. A single crabgrass plant has the capacity to produce 75,000 seeds in one growing season.
Fortunately, a thick and healthy turf can crowd it out. Crabgrass can also be controlled with pre-emergent applications to prevent its germination as well as post-emergent products for breakthrough.
This ugly perennial lawn weed thrives in compacted soil. Plantain is characterized by its waxy oval leaves and stalk-like branches. It has a fibrous root system and can be difficult to control if it is given the chance to grow.
Post-emergent broadleaf weed control is the most effective on plantain in the fall but can also work in the spring.
13. Spotted Surge
This weed is characterized by the red and purple spots that appear on its leaves. It germinates in mid-spring and thrives in the heat of summer. Spotted surge can form thick mats as long as 3-feet! And because it can produce several thousand seeds per plant, it can spread fast.
Broadleaf weed control is most effective on this weed when the plants are young and haven’t been given much chance to grow. This makes early detection critical. Pre-emergent weed controls, applied in the spring, can also reduce its proliferation.
Using a Weed Spraying Service in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA
Now that you have a better sense of what weeds might be lurking in your lawn, you might be wondering what to do about them. You might assume that all lawn care companies will address your weed problems the same way, but this simply isn’t the case.
The best way to get rid of lawn weeds is to work with a lawn care company that will take a customized approach to your problem.
As you can see, different weeds require different methods of treatment so it’s important that your lawn care company is taking that into account. Unfortunately, not all of them do. Many companies fail to vary their methods and just spray everything the same way. But you need to find a company that is going to identify exactly what weeds you are dealing with and vary their approach.
You also want a company that is going to use high-quality products. The fact is, not all companies use the same products and many are not investing in high-quality control materials. Instead, they’ll use cheap products that simply don’t work as well.
In addition, there is also a benefit of working with a weed spraying service that is going to promote an overall healthy turf with the best possible practices. For each of the common weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA that were mentioned in our lawn weed identification guide above, an effective prevention tactic (to avoid them in the first place) is a healthy, thick lawn that will choke out weed growth. Since weeds tend to thrive in lawns that are thin or bare or lawns that have soil trouble, you can prevent them from even beginning to grow.
In order to gain this benefit, it’s important to work with a lawn care service that has a comprehensive and proactive approach to lawn care in general. You want a company that not only offers fantastic weed control methods but also offers services like lawn aeration, topdressing, and seeding. It is these types of services that go a really long way in thickening up your turf and preventing weed problems from even starting.
Gain the Peace of Mind You Deserve
There is no doubt that lawn weeds in Gainesville, Haymarket, and Warrenton, VA are a major source of frustration when they pop up. But you don’t have to go on just “living with them.” You can hand your lawn care needs to a professional who will not only specifically address the weeds that your property is struggling with, but will also ensure your lawn is in the best possible shape with any other lawn care services you may need.
As a result, you can let go of your weed worries and get back to enjoying your lawn the way you ought to be able to enjoy it.
If you’re ready to get the lawn care results that you desire at your Gainesville, Haymarket, or Warrenton, VA home, talk to an expert, choose a solution that rocks, and get ready to enjoy your lawn and relax.