A beautiful lawn requires work, but the rewards are plentiful. But every lawn owner’s worst nightmare is the sudden appearance of uninvited guests in an otherwise perfect lawn….weeds. Here in Georgia, we are home to everything from Alexadergrass to Yellow Nutsedge – from Alyeclover to Yellowtop. That is one of the disadvantages to living in such a temperate climate…almost everything will grow here.
This article will focus on weeds that are common throughout Georgia, how to identify those weeds, and methods of prevention and treatment.
Grass Like Weeds:
As the category implies, these weeds look and act like grasses. In fact, a few of these weeds (carpetgrass, for example) are sometimes used in mixture with grass seed. We’ll start off with the biggie –
Although “crabgrass’ has become a seemingly generic term for many common weeds, there are actually several types of crabgrasses that are found in Georgia. Blanket Crabgrass, Goosegrass (Silver Crabgrass), India Crabgrass, and Smooth Crabgrass are all varieties common to Georgia. The most identifiable of Georgia’s crabgrasses is the Southern, or Large Crabgrass.
Generally identified as tufts of long leafed blades clustered together, most crabgrasses are covered with small hairs. Long seed stalks rise up, waiting to be disturbed by passersby so the wind can carry the tiny seeds to uninhabited lawn areas.
Crabgrasses are best treated by the application of a pre-emergent from January to mid-March. Most pre-emergents recommend allowing 4-6 weeks before reseeding treated areas, so make sure you follow the package instructions carefully. After crabgrass has sprung up, almost any high quality weed and feed will treat it. Again, check the products label for specific weeds it will treat.
Sedges and Nutsedge:
These are usually perennials, meaning left unchecked they’ll be back every year, and feature loose, globe-like seed clusters atop the seed stalk. The most virulent, Yellow Nutsedge, is identified by its cluster of yellowish brown or straw-colored seed heads found atop triangular stems. Yellow Nutsedge spreads rapidly and can quickly ruin any lawn.
These weeds can be eliminated by proper mowing and the use of an herbicide, like Image, specifically created for dealing with Nutsedge.
Easily identifiable by a cluster of two to seven yellow flowers reaching up from a clumps of coarsley toothed leaves, this is one of the more common weed varieties in Georgia. Kids (and grandkids) love to blow upon the seed pods and watch as the globe disintegrates into hundreds of tiny seeds. These seeds are then carried to other parts of your lawn and soon you have your own dandelion farm.
Dandelions should be uprooted or spot treated at their first sign. Most high quality weed and feeds will act as a contact kill, but mowing should be delayed until the visible plants are dead. And don’t let the kids blow on the seed heads.
Shovel shaped leaves with a toothy red margin identify this low growing perennial. The plant shows short-lived clusters of small white flowers and is generally found in areas with moist, sandy soil.
Also known as “Pony Foot” because it’s kidney shaped leaves resemble a horse’s hoof, is a creeping perennial that is actually used as a lawn cover in Sourthern California.
Annual Blue Grass:
This winter annual has a smooth leaf featuring a distinct line on each side of the midrib. It’s flowers are small and white, with a yellow center.
While this is just a small sampling of the hundreds of weed species found in Georgia, it does give one an idea of some common identifiable characteristics.
Generally, treatment with a broad spectrum weed killer or a high quality weed and feed will get rid of the troublesome intruders. But, if one takes precautions – such as choosing high quality seeds and carefully selecting mulch materials – the risk of major weed infestation can be prevented.