The Most Common Northeastern Lawn Weeds & How to Combat Them

The Most Common Northeastern Lawn Weeds & How to Combat Them

You might think your lawn looks nice and green… that is, until you really get a closer look. Then you discover that it’s actually full of weeds, not grass!

Many of the Northeastern US states experience the same common weed problems. We’re here to help you put a name to these invasive annoyances to maintain a weed-free lawn.

Here are five of the most common yard weeds our Massachusetts clients face and a little advice on how to get rid of them!

1. Crabgrass

Did you know that one single Crabgrass plant can produce 150,000 seeds during the growing season? That’s an insane number— and it’s no wonder this pesky weed is so hard to control.

Bare lawns often invite sunshine on the bare dirt where Crabgrass seeds land, so they sprout like crazy. This common weed loves water and can easily overtake an entire lawn if your turf is already weakened. A pre-emergent weed treatment is usually necessary to prevent this turf invader from spreading and consuming your yard.

2. Dandelion

We don’t think we need to explain to you what a Dandelion looks like! These yellow “flowers” are so hard to control for a number of reasons. Firstly, their fuzzy white seeds easily drift into other parts of your property with even the softest gust of wind, spreading like wildfire. Secondly, their roots can burrow up to 10 inches below ground— so pulling up the full structure of the plant can be difficult.

To effectively remove this common weed, you’ll need to wiggle the plant body to loosen the roots and get a good grip on the sucker before pulling! Dandelion greens are even edible, so you might be able to make good use of them in the kitchen instead of your yard!

3. Broadleaf Plantain

The Broadleaf Plantain is the second most common broadleaf weed; a close contender to the Dandelion. This summer weed overtakes lawns and pokes through garden beds all across the Northeast, and thrives in many types of soils and conditions but really loves densely compacted soil. Aeration and overseeding to loosen the soil and get new grass growing is a good way to prevent this habitat.

Both the plant itself and the seeds of the Broadleaf Plantain are extremely resilient. In fact, seeds can remain viable in the soil for up to 20 years! The weed can spring back from even the harshest weed-whacking or trim-job, so be sure to tear it out from its roots.

4. Garlic Mustard

The scary thing about Garlic Mustard is its “toxicity.” This common weed’s roots produce a chemical that can be toxic to other surrounding plants. That means it can kill your grass or other plants in your garden and overtake the entire area before you know it.

Worse, Garlic Mustard can grow in almost any type of soil, in full shade or full sun and spread easily. Each plant can produce up to 5000 seeds, which can remain viable in the soil for five years or more! Mowing Garlic Mustard does little to get rid of it, so be sure to pull up these guys by the roots.

5. Common Chickweed

If you have a patchy lawn with poor drainage, you’re probably the victim of a Chickweed invasion. This common weed is typically the first to appear in spring and is known for its small, star-shaped flowers.

It grows in thick blankets, which is why some homeowners leave the weeds in their garden beds, to layer green and white in the flower beds. Thankfully, Common Chickweed has a shallow root system and are easy to pluck out of your lawn.

Preventing Northeastern Lawn Weeds

These are just five common lawn weeds that Massachusetts homeowners have to deal with. While the varieties change, a few tips remain consistent— no matter what grass-invasive weed you’re up against.

  1. Watch out for bare spots. Open patches of dirt leave your turf exposed to pests and disease, and are easy spaces for invasive seeds to germinate and spread.
  2. Grasscycle. Fresh mower clippings form a barrier over your lawn to keep weeds away. Plus, they get reabsorbed back into your turf and provide extra nutrients.
  3. Don’t mow too low. Scalping your lawn weakens your grass or can damage your blade’s crown— killing it. Keep your blade height up so that your grass is no shorter than 3 inches tall post-mow.
  4. Fertilize. Feeding your grass minerals helps build its “immune system,” just like taking vitamins can help ours. Check out our article for help choosing between chemical or organic fertilizers.

The Extra Help Your Lawn Needs

Nourishing fertilizer and compost applications can help to make your turf strong enough to fight off troublesome weeds.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Fertilization for free advice from our expert landscapers on choosing the best fertilizer and starting a compost.

If fertilizer didn’t do the trick, you might need some professional weed control. We’re only a quick phone call away: (855)-391-1343.