As residents of Lafayette and the Baton Rouge area get ready for the spring and summer weather, it is important to remember that lawn care needs are most crucial as the warm months approach. April to September is known as the wet season in Louisiana, which means weeds are getting ready to ravage your yard. Fortunately, Brothers Lawn Service & Landscaping is prepared to take care of your lawn care and weed control needs!
Louisiana is one of the rainiest states in the country. As that rain comes, it welcomes the emergence of beautiful flowers and lush lawns. With that heavy rainfall, however, come unwanted weeds that damage your plants and your turf. The presence of weeds means less water and nutrients for the grass and plants you have growing across your lawn. We want to make sure you are able to identify harmful weeds on your property so you will know when corrective and preventive weed control measures should be taken.
Categories Of Weeds
There are many different types of weeds in Louisiana that plague Lafayette and Baton Rouge. While the types of weeds you are likely to encounter in these areas can vary greatly, they can all be categorized into three main types: broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, and sedges. Keep reading to learn more about a few of the common types of weeds you may find in your yard.
These weeds are very resistant and can be difficult to manage once they appear in your yard. Broadleaf weeds can grow annually, biennially, or perennially, making their growth and control needs difficult to predict. Broadleaf weeds are known to multiply quickly, utilizing a mixture of both rhizomes and seeds to sprout new shoots. These weeds are easily identifiable by their wide, broad leaves, and they are often accompanied by a single flower or cluster of flowers.
This type of broadleaf weed, also known as a pennywort, has a wide appearance that is often likened to lily pads with small white flowers. The leaves of dollar weeds are mostly round with curled edges and are commonly a bright green color. There are similar-looking plants that you may find in your yard, but dollar weeds can be identified by stems located in the center of the leaf rather than towards the edge of the leaf.
As perennials, these weeds are notoriously difficult to control. They grow and spread rapidly as they re-emerge in fall. Spot-treating a few dollar weeds can be effective, but hand-pulling is not recommended. Roots will quickly spread out from the nodes of the weeds underneath the soil, which makes their complete eradication unlikely once they have established a strong presence.
This plant can grow both annually and perennially. Common chickweed is known to have light green, oval-shaped leaves that appear smooth and occasionally have pointed ends. Their stems are a darker color that is often described as a shade of purple. Tiny white flowers with multiple pedals emerge from the ends of the stems. Common chickweed is dormant in winter and spreads rapidly in fall.
Though common chickweed has a shallow root system, one plant can produce and distribute thousands of seeds that will spread the chickweed population. Seeds are set in spring, and most growth takes place in late summer or early autumn. The rapid growth of chickweed is worsened by its infamous thick mats of densely growing weeds. The shallow root system does allow for hand-pulling to be effective, but it can be a difficult task due to the dense matting of the plants.
This weed is native to Asia, but it can now be found all over the world, and it is becoming more common in Louisiana. Asiatic hawksbeard grows annually and can bloom at any time of year. The stem and flowers are small, but the plant can grow quite tall, surpassing 3 feet in some cases. Its long, single stem ends in a yellow flower that is commonly misidentified as a dandelion (another common weed in Louisiana).
Asiatic hawksbeard is accustomed to growing near man-made structures, including roads and houses. Luckily, they only spread by seed dispersal, and controlling them is relatively easy. Removing these weeds before they flower is the best way to keep them from reappearing.
Other common broadleaf weeds in Louisiana include the following:
- Spotted Spurge
- Bristly Mallow
- Common Violet
As the name suggests, grassy weeds resemble regular turfgrass. Because of this resemblance, it can be very difficult to differentiate between harmful grassy weeds and desirable turfgrass. The various types of grassy weeds are known to be some of the toughest weeds to control.
This annual grassy weed is one of the most well known and detrimental weeds in Louisiana. The leaves of crabgrass can vary between a yellow-green color to a darker green. Leaves are short and wide, and the plant grows quite low to the ground. The stems branch out widely in groups when the plant is younger, but they will straighten up and grow more vertically as the plan matures. The low, multi-branched stems of crabgrass are good indicators of harmful weeds on your property.
Once crabgrass begins to spread, it is very challenging to control it. Though the plants die every winter, each plant is capable of producing over 100,000 seeds in a single growing season. Crabgrass thrives in the sunlight, especially in struggling lawns. While pre-emergent weed control can be effective, the best way to defend your lawn against crabgrass is to ensure proper and healthy lawn growth. Crabgrass will not be able to survive in a lawn with thriving turfgrass.
Similar in appearance to Kentucky bluegrass, annual bluegrass often goes undetected and spreads throughout lawns. Though it is nearly indistinguishable from turfgrass in early stages of development, annual bluegrass does have a few subtle differences that can help you identify it. A careful eye will notice that the leaf blades of annual bluegrass are a slightly lighter shade of green than turfgrass and form a canoe-like shape at the tips. The most obvious identifier of bluegrass is its fuzzy, white seed heads.
Moist soil is the ideal condition for annual bluegrass, making the Louisiana climate a comfortable environment for these weeds. The plant will often die in the summer heat and leave behind bare spots all over your lawn. Seeds germinate in late summer, begin growing throughout fall, and flower the following spring. In order to prevent the spread of annual bluegrass, it is best to apply a weed preventer in summer before the seeds begin to sprout and grow.
Commonly mistaken for crabgrass, goosegrass is another annual grassy weed found in Louisiana. Like crabgrass, it grows low and wide and prefers a struggling lawn. Unique characteristics of goosegrass include folded leaves, flat stems, and feather-like flowers. When looking at the weed from above, a white center near the base of the plant can be seen spreading outwards, and the color of the plants gets darker towards the tips.
A post-emergent herbicide is frequently recommended for goosegrass because the weed is often unnoticed until it becomes widespread. As is the case with most weeds, keeping a healthy lawn is the best way to deter goosegrass. Goosegrass loves dense soil, so make sure your lawn is draining properly, and remember to fertilize your lawn to ensure your turfgrass gets the nutrients it needs.
Other common grassy weeds in Louisiana include the following:
- Crowfoot Grass
- Torpedo Grass
- Creeping Bentgrass
Unlike broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds, sedges are not “true grasses.” Sedges stems are solid, triangular in shape, and have no nodes. Sedges also tend to have unique-looking flowers that are not common in most grassy weeds. Despite these features, sedges are commonly referred to as grassy weeds.
Similar to grassy weeds, sedges grow well in poorly drained lawns and warm climates. Sedges reproduce via seeds and rhizomes, meaning they can quickly take over your yard. They can lie dormant in the soil of your lawn, which makes it difficult to totally remove them, though there are special herbicides designed for sedges. Make sure your lawn is well fed and draining properly to avoid sedges, as thick turfgrass will deter their growth.
Common sedges in Louisiana include the following:
- Yellow Nutsedge
- Purple Nutsedge
- Hurricane Grass
- Green Kyllinga
Weeds intercept nutrients in the soil that should be absorbed by the turfgrass in your lawn. If your lawn has a weed problem, your grass and plants are suffering because they are not getting proper amounts of water and nutrients. Brothers Lawn Service & Landscaping will provide your lawn the best weed control and fertilization anywhere in the Lafayette/Baton Rouge area. Ask us how our products and services will give you the healthy, weed-free lawn of your dreams!