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How to Get Rid of Weeds in Grass

person wearing gloves and digging up weeds
damiangretka / Shutterstock

Keeping unwanted lawn weeds away is one of the most demanding outdoor household chores. Stubborn growths of dandelions, clover, and crabgrass can make a yard look patchy and unkempt. Learn how to eliminate weeds in grass areas and make your lawn beautiful again.

Types of grass weeds and how to get rid of them

By knowing the types of grass weeds in your yard, you can buy the right killer to solve the problem. In this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of creeping Charlie weeds and other common plants that take stubborn hold in your yard.

How to get rid of dandelions

What it looks like: This common perennial weed is easy to identify with its long, hairy stem and bright yellow circular flower with countless petals. When the flower matures, it turns into a circular white puff full of tiny seeds.

Where it typically grows: Dandelions emerge in the early spring and can remain in the yard as long as the weather is warm.

How it spreads: Its iconic puffball seeds come off easily and blow away. The wind carries them to new destinations where they take seed and grow.

Best ways to get rid of it: People who want to know how to kill dandelions will find an excellent solution in a broadleaf weed killer like Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer.

How to get rid of clover

What it looks like: A clover weed is a low-growing plant that has sets of three leaflets emerging from its many stems. The flowers are usually white and circular with multiple long, thin petals.

Where it typically grows: There are many species of clover that thrive in different conditions like full sun, shade, dry soil, or wet soil.

How it spreads: Clovers reproduce through their seeds and through nodes on their stems.

Best ways to get rid of it: A great clover killer is Bonide Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Weed Killer, which is a ready-to-use formula.

How to get rid of crabgrass

What it looks like: This common weed looks like yard grass but grows horizontally and has flatter, wider leaves that extend from its center. It also has flower heads that resemble spikes.

Where it typically grows: Crabgrass grows anywhere bare soil presents itself and is most prominent in late summer.

How it spreads: Crabgrass multiplies through its seeds and pieces of its stems that can sprout new roots.

Best ways to get rid of it: A dual-acting crabgrass killer like Roundup Ready-to-Use Extended Control Weed & Grass Killer Plus Weed Preventer kills existing crabgrass and prevents new seeds from germinating in the soil. For more details and tips, check out this comprehensive guide to crabgrass removal.

How to get rid of yellow nutsedge

What it looks like: Nutsedge has long, thin stems and clusters of grass-like leaves that burst out horizontally. Light brown flower spikelets grow between its leaves.

Where it typically grows: Nutsedge can grow anywhere but it mainly prefers moist soil.

How it spreads: Nutsedge produces seeds, but it predominantly spreads through underground tubers or rhizomes, which are horizontal underground stems.

Best ways to get rid of it: The best killer for nutsedge is Bonide Sedge Ender Nutsedge & Crabgrass Killer, which kills and prevents nutsedge weeds from growing.

How to get rid of creeping Charlie

What it looks like: The creeping charlie weed is also known as ground ivy. It’s a member of the mint family and is best known for its small, purple flowers. It has layers of textured, spade-shaped leaves and an overall fuzzy texture.

Where it typically grows: This weed prefers moist soil and shade, but it can also thrive in sunny locations.

How it spreads: Creeping charlie weeds can reproduce by their seeds or through stolons, which are runners that exist above ground.  

Best ways to get rid of it: Homeowners who want to know how to kill ivy effectively need a broadleaf weed killer like Ortho WeedClear Lawn Weed Killer.

How to get rid of plantains

What it looks like: This weed has large, broad leaves on the bottom and tall, vertical flower spikes that emerge from the center. The flower stems can be purple or green and turn black when maturing into seeds.

Where it typically grows: You may find plantains in gardens, turfgrass, pastures, and on roadsides. They can grow at any time of the year except in extreme cold and heat.

How it spreads: Plantains spread by their seeds.

Best ways to get rid of it: A broadleaf killer like Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer targets plantain plants without harming your grass.

How to get rid of quackgrass

What it looks like: This upright weed resembles wheat when its flowers and seeds emerge in alternating flattened spikes. Its leaves look like long blades of grass.

Where it typically grows: Quackgrass can be found in or on lawns, roadsides, and riverbanks, and in many soil types and conditions. It can even thrive in dry conditions.

How it spreads: Quackgrass reproduces mainly through underground tubers, but it also multiplies through its own seeds and rhizomes.

Best ways to get rid of it: The best way to kill quackgrass is to spray it with a broadleaf killer like Hi-Yield Triclopyr Ester.

How to get rid of ragweed

What it looks like: This common allergen offender has long, hairy leaves with many small yellow-green flowers. The broadleaf weed looks like a fern and has hairy stems.

Where it typically grows: Ragweed grows everywhere except in extremely cold or hot climates.

How it spreads: The ragweed plant can reproduce quickly just by its own seeds. Each plant can make up to 60,000 seeds per season.

Best ways to get rid of it: A broadleaf weed killer like Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer targets ragweed and leaves the rest of your lawn alone.

How to get rid of purslane

What it looks like: This weed grows low to the ground and has thick, waxy leaves that look like succulents. The plant takes on a purple-green hue and has small yellow flowers.

Where it typically grows: Purslane can thrive in many soil types and is resistant to droughts. You can often find it alive and well in rocky and dry places.

How it spreads: Its seeds and stem fragments can cause new plants to grow.

Best ways to get rid of it: A weed killer that targets extremely stubborn plants like Compare-N-Save 2, 4-D Amine Selective Weed Killer can get rid of purslane.

How to get rid of creeping woodsorrel

What it looks like: Also known as Oxalis, this weed has a purple hue and has sets of three heart-shaped leaves. The stems are hairy and they have bright yellow flowers that emerge in the spring.

Where it typically grows: Creeping woodsorrel prefers growing in shade instead of full sun.

How it spreads: The Oxalis plant spreads through its creeping stems and extensive root systems. Its flowers also release seeds that sprout new plants.

Best ways to get rid of it: A weed killer that targets broadleaf weeds like Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer works well to get rid of this plant.

Products and tools you’ll need to get rid of weeds in grass

  • Store-bought weed killer
  • Spray bottle
  • Water hose
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Spade or small shovel to dig out stubborn weeds
  • Gardening gloves

How to get rid of grass weeds naturally

To get rid of grass weeds naturally, you can use nontoxic ingredients from your pantry. Fill a spray bottle full of vinegar and spray it on weeds to dehydrate the stems and leaves. This naturally kills them without using synthetic chemicals in the yard.

It’s also possible to use a mixture of salt and water and spray it on undesirable plants and weeds. However, note that any sodium that enters the soil dehydrates roots, regardless of what plant type is nearby.

How to maintain your lawn to prevent grass weeds

To know how to get rid of weeds in grass areas without killing desired vegetation, you can use pre-emergent killers, also known as preventers, which work in the soil to prevent weed seeds from developing.

There are also dual-acting weed killers that are a combination of post-emergent and pre-emergent weed controllers. This means that the product kills existing weeds and prevents new ones from forming at the same time.

The bottom line on removing weeds from your lawn

Homeowners looking for the answers to how to kill weeds in lawns will be delighted to find all the solutions available in the store and at home. Many are concerned with accidentally killing grass in the process of killing broadleaf intruders like dandelions and clover weeds, but selective herbicides like Ortho Weed B Gon Weed Killer can target broadleaf plants without harming grass. There are also natural ways to get rid of weeds – by using vinegar-based solutions or salt, you can kill common weeds effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I kill weeds without killing the grass?
To kill weeds without killing the grass, use a selective weed killer that targets only certain species of plants, such as broadleaf weeds. These leave desirable grass alone.

Is there an app for identifying weeds?
Yes, there are apps on your smartphone that can help you identify weeds easily. One popular app is ID Weeds which allows users to search for weeds based on their physical characteristics.

How do I control weeds in my lawn organically?
You can control weeds in your lawn organically by spot spraying weeds with a vinegar-based herbicide. 

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