How to Identify the Weeds Growing in My Lawn

Overview

Weeds growing in a lawn sap energy from the grass, taking two prime nutrients: water and light. They might also attract garden pests or develop diseases that can harm your lawn. If you're wondering what you've got as you pull weed seedlings from your hard by hand, learn weed identification. Knowing what weed you're combating can help you eradicate its presence in your yard effectively and efficiently.

Step 1

Pay attention to your grass blades, noting the size, color and shape of mature blades. If you've sown new grass seed, check the area you seeded every day, looking for signs of germination. As the grass seeds germinate and grow, watch their shape. To identify the weeds on your lawn, you need to know what grass looks like at each stage of growth.

Step 2

Look for growth that does not resemble your grass blades--this growth is a weed. A weed at its most basic is any plant growing where it's not wanted. So if wildflowers or wild mint have come up in your lawn, they're still considered weeds even though they're pretty or useful.

Step 3

Consult the image reference databases at the Down Garden Services and University of Florida – Nassau County Extension websites (see Resources). These services provide images of commonly found lawn weeds, along with information on how to best kill each type of weed.

Step 4

Use Virginia Tech's Weed Identification Guide if you are having trouble classifying your weed (see Resources). This guide allows gardeners to describe their weed using key terms like stem color, stem texture, leaf size, leaf shape and flower structure. Enter information about your weed in the interactive guide; once you've provided the necessary information, the guide identifies your weed for you.

Step 5

Learn more about native plants in your area by taking a native plant class at an adult education center, arboretum, community college or other educational venue. This teaches you about commonly found native plants for your area, including those that are invasive and those that have medicinal properties. Identify weeds and common road plants by looking at plants and plant images in class.

References

  • University of California – Davis: Weed Control in Home Gardens

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida – Nassau County Extension: Weeds
  • Down Garden Services: Weed Seedling Gallery
  • Down Garden Services: Weed Leaves
  • Virginia Tech: Weed Identification Guide
Keywords: weed identification guide, weeds in lawn, weed recognition

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.