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Lawn Weeds That Produce Fuzz

By Dawn Walls-Thumma ; Updated September 21, 2017
Fuzzy seeds scatter on the wind and catch on the grass, establishing a weed problem in your lawn.

Several lawn weeds produce seeds attached to fuzzy parachutes. In fact, according to the Wayne's Word site maintained by Palomar College, these parachutes are a major reason why these plants become invasive and annoying enough to earn the designation of weeds. Parachute seeds travel so well on the wind that some have even crossed mountain ranges. In your lawn, their ability to scatter in large numbers means that one weed can quickly become 100.


The fuzzy seeds that afflict your lawn most often come from a special type of flower called a composite flower. A single composite flower -- a family which includes familiar turf weeds like the dandelion -- actually consists of hundreds of tiny flowers supported by a single receptacle. As naturalist Jim Conrad of Backyard Nature explains, rather than a single plant making only a few seeds, each tiny flower produces its own seed, explaining the reproductive success of some lawn weeds. Often, fuzzy parachutes form to carry the seed away from the parent plant.


According to the University of Missouri Extension, dandelions are one of the most common and problematic weeds of turf grass. Other fuzzy-seeded lawn weeds -- such as catsear and salsify -- closely resemble dandelions and exhibit similar invasive potential. Many species of thistles produce fuzzy seeds and can establish by the hundreds in your lawn and garden.


Before you can begin treating a weed problem in your lawn, you should correctly identify the weed, according to the University of Missouri Extension. Treatments often work best for only a particular weed, and treating a weed you can't identify could mean that you are wasting time and money and possibly using harmful chemicals that won't solve the problem. Your local extension office can help with identifying lawn weeds.


Chemical herbicides exist for controlling weeds like thistle and dandelion but, according to Ed Billingsley of the University of Illinois Extension, controlling weeds in your yard needn't come to chemical warfare. You can remove the weeds by pulling or digging them up, taking care to remove as much of the taproot as possible. Raising the height of your mower to let grass grow longer makes it better able to compete with the weeds. Whatever you do, don't let the weeds produce those fuzzy seeds, which can turn an isolated problem into a lawn overrun with fuzzy weeds.


Some weeds, such as certain species of thistle, are so invasive and destructive that they are deemed noxious by state and federal governments. Law often requires homeowners to control outbreaks of these weeds when they occur, according to the University of Missouri Extension.