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Common Mid-Atlantic Lawn Weeds

Weed image by Necroborg from

Mid-Atlantic lawn weeds compete with cool, warm and transitional turfgrasses for sunlight, water and soil nutrients. The best preventive measure against weed infestation is cultivating optimal environmental conditions for the growth of lawn grass. Weeds are opportunistic and will exploit poorly maintained lawn areas where grass growth is sparse. Weed identification is the first step toward effective treatment and future prevention.


Dallisgrass (Paspalum dilatatum) is a light green, grassy, perennial, warm season weed with a low profile and coarse texture. Hand-pulling is the recommended method for removal; however, both pre- and post-emergent herbicides are effective.


Bedstraw (Galium aparine) is a broadleaf, winter annual weed with small, narrow leaves that extend from a central stem. Preferring moist, nutrient-rich soil, bedstraw is best controlled by regular mowing. Post-emergent herbicides can be applied directly on the foliage when bedstraw weeds are young and growing.

Bull Thistle

Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) is a summer bi-annual with a dark green foliage and long, low growing, outward spreading, lobe-shaped leaves with wavy, spiky edges. Isolated bull thistle weeds can be cut beneath the crown or hand-pulled for removal. Patches of bull thistle are most efficiently treated with a post-emergent herbicide.


Chicory (Cichorium intybus) is an upright, summer perennial weed with blue and purple flowers. Left undisturbed, chicory can grow up to 3 feet high. Frequent mowing and a dense turfgrass will effectively eliminate chicory growth in lawn environments.


Hawkweed (Hieracium pratense) is a broadleaf, winter perennial with club-shaped, hairy leaves and smooth edges. More common in low maintenance lawns, hawkweed can be effectively controlled by creating dense stands of turfgrass and applying post-emergent herbicides directly on the weed foliage.

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