University of Maryland Extension University of Maryland

College of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lawn Weed Identification

I've got weeds in my lawn. How do I get rid of them?

First things first - identify the weed! Then go to Control Options for step 2.
(Click on a weed type to jump down the page.)

If you can't find the answer to your plant problem here, you can ask a Master Gardener. Bring your plant samples and photos for identification or diagnosis to Ask a MG Plant Clinics thoughout the growing season. Get advice on pruning, vegetables, insects and more.

Broadleaf winter annual weeds Broadleaf summer annual weeds Broadleaf perennial weeds
Grassy winter annual weeds Grassy summer annual weeds Grassy perennial weeds

Broadleaf winter annual weeds - Seeds germinate from late summer through fall. Weeds over winter and continue to grow in early spring.  Control with a broadleaf postemergent herbicide applied when the weeds are actively growing in the spring. The exception is chickweed which can also be controlled with a preemergent applied in early September before it germinates. However, you would not be able to sow grass seed in the fall.


Speedwell (Veronica)

Dead nettle 

shepherd's purse
Shepherd's purse
(photo U. Mass Amherst) 

Hairy bittercress 

Broadleaf summer annual weeds - Seeds begin to germinate as soils begin to warm up in early spring and continue to germinate throughout the growing season. Annual weeds complete their entire life cycle in a single growing season. However, some of these weeds can also be perennials or biennials.  Control with a broadleaf postemergent herbicide applied when the weed is actively growing.

black medic
Black medic
carpet weed
prostrate spurge
Prostrate spurge (photo
Jack Harper Penn. State)

Broadleaf Perennial Weeds – Perennials are persistent from year to year. They reproduce by seed and also by vegetative means. This is the largest group of weeds. They range from weeds that are easy to eliminate, to some of the most difficult to control. Control with a broadleaf postemergent herbicide applied when the weed is actively growing.  For difficult to control weeds like creeping Charlie and Indian strawberry a spring and fall application of an herbicide is necessary.      

curly dock
Broadleaf & curly dock
broad leaf plantain
Broadleaf & buckhorn plantain
Common cinquefoil 
Creeping oxalis

Ground ivy
Indian strawberry
Indian strawberry
Mouse-ear chickweed

Sheep or red sorrel
white clover
White clover
wild garlic
Wild garlic and wild onion
wild violet
Wild violet
yarrow foliage

Grassy winter annual weeds: Seeds germinate in late summer to early September. Control with a preemergent herbicide applied in early September before the seeds germinate.

annual blue grass
Annual blue grass

Grassy summer annual weeds: Seed germination begins in early to mid-spring, when soil temperatures have risen to 55° - 60° F. for about a week. In Central Maryland; this is typically mid-March through mid-April. Seeds continue to germinate in the summer, and plants are killed by the first frost. Control with a preemergent herbicide applied prior to seed germination.

Japanese stiltgrass
Japanese stiltgrass

Grassy perennial weeds/Sedges: Are some of the most difficult weeds to control in a lawn. There are very few selective herbicides labeled for these types of weeds. Total lawn renovation is usually necessary.

Bermudagrass or wiregrass
 yellow nutsedge 
Yellow Nutsedge


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IET Departmentof the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2014.