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identify weeds by seeds

Ground ivy, a common lawn weed, goes by a number of names. For instance, it is also called “gill,” “gill-over-the-ground” and “creeping charlie.” Although considered a weed, ground ivy has a pretty flower and, when you mow this weed, it gives off a pleasing aroma. Ground ivy is also used as a medicinal herb.  

Common ragweed may be an important weed for you to identify, even if you don’t care about keeping your yard weed-free for aesthetic reasons. If you’re an allergy sufferer, you should be aware that common ragweed is a major source of hay fever.  

Dandelions are a harbinger of spring. Their bright yellow flowers often poke up through lawns and appear between cracks in driveways and sidewalks. The seed heads of dandelions are probably better known than those of crabgrass, but dandelions are perennial, not annual weeds.

Purslane (Portulaca olearacea))

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Polygonum cuspidatum goes by several other common names, including Japanese knotweed and fleece flower. Several other common names include the term, “bamboo,” such as “Mexican bamboo.” While its autumn flower does, indeed, look fleecy, “fleece flower” is just too dainty a name for so tenacious a weed!

A rather innocuous plant, common plantain can simply be mowed whenever you mow the lawn. Its relative, Plantago lanceolata is a similar weed, but with narrow leaves. Now a ubiquitous lawn weed in North America, broadleaf or “common” plantain was brought to the New World by colonists from Europe for its medicinal uses. Common plantain has many medicinal uses. Mashed, it can be used as a poultice for bee stings; the leaves can also be dried and made into a tea to treat diarrhea.  

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Control: Mulch garden areas in spring to prevent weeds. Pull oxalis weeds by hand or spray weeds with a postemergence herbicide in spring or fall.

A weed can be any plant growing where you don’t want it to, but there are some particularly weedy species to keep an eye out for. These aggressive plants choke out the garden plants you’ve worked so hard to grow. Use this handy guide to identify weeds by photo and know how to best remove them.

Appearance: This common lawn weed has a strong taproot; leaves are deeply notched. Yellow flowers mature to puffballs. Dandelion seeds are like parachutes that fly away in the wind—they’re the plants that you would blow on and “make a wish” when you were younger.

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Appearance: This garden weed has light green leaves that look like clover and cup-shape yellow flowers in summer and fall.

Where It Grows: Lawns and gardens in sun or shade

Size: 12 inches tall, 6 – 16 inches wide

Lawn Weed Control Tip: Mulch to prevent dandelions in gardens. Pull dandelion weeds by hand or use a postemergence herbicide (designed for using on weeds after they appear) in lawns.