Eight Worst Weeds in North Texas With all the rain north Texas has had, and facing what is always a hot summer, now more than ever, everyone’s lawn will be a haven for weeds. And while innumerable types of these unwelcome guests exist, here’s a list of eight of the most common (and most pesky) that will call your yard home. If you see one, or more in your yard it’s important to recognize it and deal with it properly. Each has its own characteristics and traits, making specific eradication complicated. It’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution. If caught early, homeowners can often handle the problem; if not however, the solution can be more complicated and will probably require a more focused and targeted strategy, probably implemented by a lawn care professional. Remember that with the proper strategy, these invaders can be defeated.
Eight Worst Weeds
Dandelions are troublesome weeds that are extremely good at multiplying. Their taproot is buried two to three feet deep in the soil, making it difficult to pull them out by hand. Their airborne seeds multiply quickly through your and your neighbor’s yard. Start by creating a healthy lawn. To do that, apply a weed and feed fertilizer once or twice a year. This proactive approach helps to lessen the likelihood that airborne dandelion seeds will survive. If that doesn’t work to your satisfaction, then contact your local lawn care professional. Henbit grows everywhere, from parking lots to lawns; that makes eradication difficult, and almost always requiring a lawn care professional. Henbit looks pretty with its purple flowers, but a closer look at the square stem means you’re dealing with a worrisome weed. Henbit usually blooms and releases its seeds in the north Texas winter, where it’s carried via the air, water, insects, and animals.
A post-emergent herbicide can still be effective against non-blooming plants. However, once henbit blooms appear, the seeds for next year’s crop appear surprisingly quickly. The hot north Texas summers are a perfect setting for spurge weed. This speckled worst weed thrives in thin, weak spots in your lawn, with each plant capable of producing several thousand seeds annually. Its seeds are capable of wintering over and then sprouting early in the spring of the following year. Spurge weeds begin producing seeds just five weeks after germinating, making early treatment imperative. Since herbicides are not usually effective against mature plants, a lawn care specialist will begin treatment by hand pulling, then possibly follow that with a thick layer of mulch to smother any emerging weeds. Herbicides are also usually effective on young plants. Spurge spreads quickly, especially in the heat of a Texas summer.
Oxalis, or yellow wood sorrel, spreads fast, and it’s difficult to eradicate. As with most weeds, prevention is best, and aggressiveness is required for invading plants. Oxalis thrives in small patches of under performing turf, and with ample water, the sun or shade. It’s a low-growing, creeping weed with stem nodes that form new roots and stems when it makes contact with the soil. Unlike other worst weeds, oxalis can be eradicated with hand pulling, most effective early in the weed cycle, before slight movement can send seeds flying.
Chemicals can also prevent seeds from producing, and post-emergent herbicides may be successful in dealing with more mature plants. A pre-emergent herbicide may prevent germination. For more information on getting rid of oxalis, then give a north Texas lawn care specialist a call. Thistles are covered with prickly protrusions that hurt when touched, and rough on bare feet. Some varieties release noxious chemicals into the soil that drain valuable sunlight, water and nutrients from other plants. And their elaborate root network makes them a tough weed. While difficult to eliminate, you can control a mature thistle by repeatedly cutting it near ground level, which cuts off its sunlight. A late summer or early fall application of an herbicide applied directly to the rosettes on the weed may keep it from returning. For serious thistle infestation, cut back and then heavily mulch the area. After several months, cover the area with new turf. Some homeowners leave the mulch in place, covering it with soil to create a new garden.
Bittercress is a frilly green weed with tiny white flowers in your lawn or garden likely means you are infested with bittercress. It’s a winter annual weed that sprouts early in the spring. It loves wet ground, so it’s particularly prevalent after all the recent north Texas rains. The bittercress’ white flowers turn into powerful seed pods that burst, covering your lawn with next years’ seeds. Preventing the seed pods from forming gives you a good chance of beating this pest. Bittercress’ long tap root means pulling them by hand isn’t usually effective. Instead, frequent mowing cuts off the plant’s head, destroying the blossoms before the seed pods can form. Because it’s an annual, the existing plant won’t return. So preventing the seeds from spreading is critical.
White heath aster is a perennial broad leaf worst weed recognizable by clumped, vertical stems, smooth or hairy stems, hairy leaves, and woody-looking base. It’s most distinctive feature is its white, pink or purple flowers, which is generally in bloom from August until November. When it dies, its fibrous root system survives at the surface of the soil. It’s a vigorous re-seeder, one weed can quickly become a dozen, and the reproduction is exponential from there. Eliminating asters takes more than just cutting them back and making your lawn healthier. A lawn care professional can apply a selective herbicide, one that works from the roots up, killing the entire weed, but leaving the rest of the lawn healthy. Tradition tells us that four-leaf clovers are lucky. However, if you find clover in your lawn, you’re likely to feel anything but fortunate. It’s a challenge to rid your grass of this pesky worst weed.
Clover is a hardy, perennial weed that is frequently found in Texas lawns. Its spiky, white blooms attract bees. Clover seeds thrive in weak, nitrogen-deficient grass. Many homeowners who haven’t fertilized in a few seasons or haven’t been using the right fertilizer are likely to see clover taking over their lawn. The good news is you can beat clover. Clover grows low to the ground and has a relatively shallow root system. This means that hand pulling can be an effective method of mitigating the situation. However, if you leave even part of the roots behind, the clover will return. It may make sense to treat clover with an herbicide as well. Unfortunately, many herbicides sold at home improvement stores are only somewhat effective against this weed. That’s why many people prefer to call a lawn care professional
There are solutions
These are just some of the many types of worst weeds found in north Texas lawns. Some are more challenging than others to eradicate. Some are a minor nuisance, causing little more than cosmetic problems. However, the appearance of others can result in long-lasting damage. Either way, if you find you can’t beat the worst weeds on your own, don’t give up. Call your local lawn care professional. We have the latest technology and most efficient strategies to rid your lawn of these invaders, which will give you a healthy, thick lawn that will enhance the beauty of your home. Check out additional Weed Control Tips!