Early Spring Weed Identification

April 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm

With the unseasonably warm temperature we’ve experienced this Winter and Spring in the Mid-Altantic region, we’ve been getting lots of calls from clients trying to identify the weeds that are popping up on their property. There are several weeds that are common to this area that we see often on clients’ properties. They include:

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

Common Chickweed is a winter annual found in turfgrass, lawns and winter small grains. It has a shallow, fibrous root system and thrives in open, sunny or partially shaded areas. Chickweed tends to run along the ground, rooting at the nodes, with the upper portion erect or ascending and freely branching. Stems are light green in color,with hairs in vertical rows, and small, white flowers tend to grow in clusters at the ends of stems.

Common Chickweed

Clover (Trifolium)

Clover are small annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial herbaceous plants. Typically, clovers are fairly low-growing, herbaceous plants. The leaves are divided into three leaflets which are attached to the petiole at or near the same point. Blossoms usually occur in ball-like clusters (sometimes in clusters of just a few flowers) and may be pink, red, white, or yellow, depending on the clover species. In lawns, clovers can form dense patches, crowding out turfgrasses. They do not withstand traffic well. Clovers can also be desirable plants in lawns due to their nitrogen-fixing ability. Increases in clover may indicate soils are low in nitrogen. Bees are attracted to the blossom.


Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

The dandelion is so well known as a widely distributed weed that a detailed description of it is unnecessary. Its golden-yellow flowers, followed by the round, fluffy, seed heads, are a familiar sight in lawns, meadows, and along roadsides. The entire plant contains a white, milky juice. In spring, the tender, young leaves are often used for table greens. The plant has a large, thick, fleshy taproot which extends well into the ground.


Wild Violet (Viola pratincola)

Wild violet is a winter perennial, growing 2 – 5 inches tall. It can have a tap root or a fibrous root system, and also can produce rooting stolons and rhizomes. The leaves can vary but usually are heart shaped, on long petioles with scalloped to shallow rounded margins. The flowers of wild violet range from white to blue to purple and appear from March to June. Wild violet flowers are pansy-like with three lower petals and two lateral petals on long single flower stalks.

Wild Violet
Wild Violet

Weed Management

Regardless of the type of weeds growing in your turf, the most effective strategy for reducing and preventing weed growth is to apply Integrated Pest Management principles. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to weed and pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of weeds and their interaction with the environment is combined with available weed control methods to manage weed damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

If you’re ready to tackle your weeds, or you simply want to learn more about how we apply IPM principles to tackle weed management on commercial properties, give us call!