lawn weed

Identifying lawn weeds and controlling them

Do not get fooled into thinking that a lawn will remain weed-free forevermore, and despite a lawn seeming to be clear of weeds at the start of the year, the likelihood is that there will be some unwanted annual weeds that will appear later in the spring and early summer.

Different Types of Weeds

It is important to remember that not all weeds are the same in establishment and growth, having one of three life cycles:

  • Annual – live for a single season, germinate from seed in the spring or summer, flower and then die
  • Biennial – live for two seasons, where during the first growing season, they remain in a vegetative state, and in the following year will produce flowers, set seed and die
  • Perennial – live for multiple seasons and flower more than once

Perennials are the most common type, where the majority of lawn weeds are found including dandelion, daisies, and buttercups.

Weed Characteristics

Weeds have a large number of mechanisms and characteristics that enable them to survive:

  • Many weeds have thick wax type leaves that can be resistant to some weed killers
  • They have fast reproduction methods
  • The ability to reseed in six weekly cycles
  • In many cases a more robust root system than any of the common grasses you will see in the UK

Treating Weeds

You need to ensure that the correct weed killer is chosen in treating the weed and the correct applicator and nozzles are used or the end result will be that the weed will continue to flourish at the expense of the grass quality.

Weed seeds are continually circulating, so while a healthy lawn, with a dense grass cover, will prevent most weeds from penetrating the surface, germinating and growing, some seeds will occasionally get through and need to be treated before they start to take over large areas of the lawn.

Where only a few broadleaf weeds are present, you could consider digging them out by hand but be mindful of removing the full root structure in preventing any regeneration. While there is nothing wrong with digging out weeds, it is generally advisable to use a quality systemic selective weed killer, that will enter the plant via the leaf before translocating through the plant and into the roots, actioning a total kill.


For help with looking after your lawn find your nearest TruGreen professional and book a free lawn analysis today.