10 Most Common Lawn Weeds In Georgia

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While the warm climate and diverse ecosystems make Georgia a haven for lush lawns, these factors also present unique challenges when it comes to weed management for your turf. To help you combat this issue, we have compiled this list to help you identify common lawn weeds that residents of the area are likely to encounter. Join us as we navigate through the green landscapes of Georgia, and be sure to check out all SKB has to offer you and your property after reading!

1. Dandelion

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are commonly regarded as lawn weeds due to their invasive nature and ability to outcompete desirable grass species. Their deep taproot allows them to extract nutrients and water from the soil, often overshadowing surrounding grasses. The prolific production of wind-dispersed seeds further contributes to their widespread distribution, leading to the formation of unsightly yellow blooms throughout lawns. 

Key Characteristics

  • Distinctive Yellow Flowers: Dandelions are recognized by their bright yellow, composite flowers with multiple petals arranged in a characteristic circular pattern.
  • Serrated Leaves: The leaves of a dandelion are deeply toothed, forming a rosette pattern at ground level.
  • Hollow Stems: The stems of dandelions are hollow and contain a milky white sap.
  • White Puffball Seed Heads: In the later stages of maturity, dandelions develop spherical seed heads, commonly known as "puffballs," which release seeds with the aid of the wind.
  • Basal Rosette: Dandelions typically grow in a basal rosette form, with leaves radiating from a central point near the ground.

2. Chamberbitter

Chamberbitter (Phyllanthus urinaria) spreads quickly due to its prolific seeding, which can lead to the formation of dense mats, interfering with the health and aesthetics of well-kept lawns. The finely divided leaves and the ability to produce numerous tiny seed pods contribute to its resilience and capacity to spread rapidly. Chamberbitter's ability to adapt to various environmental conditions further adds to its reputation as a challenging weed to control.

Key Characteristics

  • Fine Leaves: Chamberbitter has fine, feathery leaves that give it a delicate appearance.
  • Opposite Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stem, forming a distinctive pattern.
  • Small Green Flowers: In the flowering stage, chamberbitter produces small green flowers with five petals.
  • Jointed Stems: The stems of chamberbitter are often jointed, giving them a segmented appearance.
  • Tiny Seed Pods: After flowering, chamberbitter develops tiny seed pods that contain several seeds.

3. Ground Ivy

Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is deemed a lawn weed due to its quickly spreading nature. This low-growing perennial can form dense mats, suppressing the growth of desirable grasses and creating an uneven lawn surface. The square stems and scalloped leaves of ground ivy help it distinguish itself, making it stand out as an undesirable interloper in well-manicured lawns. Its rapid growth and ability to thrive in various conditions contribute to its classification as a weed.

Key Characteristics

  • Scalloped Leaves: Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie, is characterized by scalloped or rounded leaves with a crenate margin.
  • Square Stems: The stems of ground ivy are square-shaped, a distinctive feature that sets it apart from other plants.
  • Low-Growing Habit: This weed has a creeping and low-growing habit, forming dense mats close to the ground.
  • Purple Flowers: In the spring, ground ivy produces small, tubular, bluish-purple flowers that emerge from the leaf axils.
  • Minty Odor: When crushed, ground ivy releases a characteristic minty odor, making it easier to identify.

4. Henbit

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is an undesirable weed primarily due to its aggressive growth habits and its potential to form dense patches in lawns. This winter annual can quickly establish itself, producing square stems and purple or pink tubular flowers that disrupt the uniformity of well-maintained turf. Henbit's ability to spread rapidly and outcompete desirable grass species makes it a nuisance for homeowners seeking a pristine lawn. Its presence can diminish the overall aesthetics of the landscape and deplete your soil.

Key Characteristics

  • Purple Or Pink Flowers: Henbit is characterized by small, tubular, purple or pink flowers that bloom in clusters along the stems.
  • Square Stems: The stems of henbit are square-shaped, a distinctive feature that sets it apart from other plants.
  • Opposite Leaves: The leaves of henbit are arranged oppositely along the square stems and have rounded to heart-shaped edges.
  • Lobed Leaves: The leaves often have lobed margins, adding to the unique appearance of this weed.
  • Low-Growing Habit: Henbit typically grows low to the ground, forming a sprawling mat-like structure in lawns or garden beds.

5. Bittercress

Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is classified as a lawn weed due to its rapid growth and prolific seed production. This winter annual can establish itself quickly, forming low-growing rosettes with lobed leaves. The plant produces small white flowers and seed pods that, upon maturation, explosively release seeds, contributing to its widespread dispersal. Bittercress's ability to thrive in various conditions and its competitive nature can lead to the formation of dense patches in your lawn.

Key Characteristics

  • Tiny White Flowers: Bittercress is known for its small white flowers that form in clusters at the ends of its stems.
  • Compound Leaves: The leaves of bittercress are compound, meaning they are divided into smaller leaflets along a central stem.
  • Basal Rosette: In its early stages, bittercress often forms a basal rosette of leaves close to the ground.
  • Tall Seed Pods: As the plant matures, it produces distinctive elongated seed pods that can forcefully expel seeds when touched or disturbed.
  • Opposite Leaf Arrangement: The leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stems, creating a distinctive pattern.

6. Broadleaf Plantain

Broadleaf plantain (Plantago major) is well known for its pervasive growth habits and the impact it can have on the aesthetics of residential lawns. This perennial weed forms a basal rosette with broad leaves that often competes with desirable grass species. Its ability to establish deep roots and survive frequent mowing makes it resilient and challenging to control. 

Key Characteristics

  • Broad Leaves: Broadleaf plantain is characterized by its large, broad, and oval-shaped leaves that have prominent parallel veins.
  • Low-Growing Rosette: It typically forms a low-growing rosette close to the ground, with leaves radiating from a central point.
  • Distinctive Ribbed Texture: The leaves have a ribbed texture, creating a unique pattern that aids in identification.
  • Tall Flower Spikes: In the flowering stage, broadleaf plantain produces tall spikes with small, greenish flowers clustered along them.
  • Deeply-Rooted Basal Rosette: The plant often establishes a deeply-rooted basal rosette, making it resilient and capable of regrowth after mowing or herbicidal treatments.

7. Wild Onion

Wild onion (Allium canadense) is harmful to lawns due to its highly invasive nature and its tendency to form clumps in lawns, disrupting the uniformity of the turf. Its grass-like appearance and pungent onion odor make it undesirable in well-maintained lawns. Wild onion is challenging to control because it often reproduces through bulbs that can persist in the soil, even in dormant lawns, leading to regrowth.

Key Characteristics

  • Grass-Like Appearance: Wild onion has a grass-like appearance, with thin, linear leaves that closely resemble those of common grasses.
  • Clump-Forming Habit: It tends to grow in clumps, forming dense clusters of foliage.
  • Onion-Like Odor: When crushed or cut, wild onion emits a distinct onion-like odor, helping to differentiate it from other plants.
  • White/Pinkish Flowers: In the flowering stage, wild onion produces small, white to pinkish flowers arranged in umbrella-like clusters.
  • Underground Bulbs: Wild onion is characterized by underground bulbs, which contribute to its ability to persist and spread.

8. Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua) is infamous for its invasive nature and the challenges it poses to the health and aesthetics of well-manicured lawns. This grassy weed tends to form tufted clumps, creating uneven patches in the lawn and disrupting the uniformity of desirable turf species. Annual bluegrass often outcompetes other grass varieties, especially during its germination period in the fall, leading to an influx of this weed in lawns.

Key Characteristics

  • Tufted Growth: Annual bluegrass typically forms tufted clumps, creating uneven patches in lawns.
  • Bright Green Color: Annual bluegrass is easily identifiable by its rapid growth of bright green leaf blades that stand out in a lawn. 
  • Boat-Shaped Leaves: The leaves of annual bluegrass are boat-shaped and have a distinctive glossy texture.
  • Compact Seed Heads: During its reproductive phase, annual bluegrass produces seed heads with a unique compact structure resembling a "crow's foot."
  • Winter Growth: Unlike many cool-season grasses, annual bluegrass remains active during winter, contributing to its identification in colder months.

9. Crabgrass

Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) is widely considered a lawn weed due to its rapid growth, spreading nature, and ability to outcompete desirable grass species. This warm-season annual grass exhibits a fine texture and often forms unsightly patches in lawns, creating a visually uneven appearance. Its prolific production of seeds and low growth habit make it particularly resilient, allowing it to thrive in various soil conditions. Crabgrass tends to germinate earlier in the season, giving it a competitive edge over desirable cool-season grasses. 

Key Characteristics

  • Fine Texture: Crabgrass exhibits a fine and spreading texture, forming a mat-like growth pattern.
  • Light Green Color: The color of crabgrass is typically lighter than that of surrounding turf, making it stand out in a lawn.
  • Seed Heads: In the later stages of growth, crabgrass produces distinctive seed heads that resemble finger-like spikes.
  • Stems Radiating From Center: Crabgrass often grows in a circular pattern, with stems radiating outward from a central point.
  • Parallel Veins On Leaves: The leaves of crabgrass have parallel veins, creating its distinct appearance.

10. Goosegrass

Goosegrass (Eleusine indica) is known for its low-growing and sprawling habit, which forms dense mats in lawns. This warm-season grass exhibits a distinctive whitish-green color, making it stand out from surrounding turf. Its ability to thrive in compacted soils and withstand frequent mowing contributes to its resilience and invasive nature. Goosegrass competes with desirable grass species, creating patches of uneven growth and disrupting the overall aesthetics of lawns.

Key Characteristics

  • Low-Growing Habit: Goosegrass is characterized by its prostrate, low-growing habit, forming dense mats close to the ground.
  • Whitish-Green Color: The color of goosegrass ranges from light green to whitish, distinguishing it from other grass species.
  • Flat Growth: The growth pattern of goosegrass is flat, with stems spreading horizontally rather than upright.
  • Distinctive Seed Heads: This weed produces unique seed heads with spike-like clusters that are often perpendicular to the stems.
  • Parallel Veins On Leaves: The leaves have prominent parallel veins, similar to crabgrass, helping homeowners pinpoint which types of weeds are in their lawns.