There are some beautiful lawns in Utah, and nothing makes us happier than helping our neighbors maintain that level of green perfection. Unfortunately, there are many weeds that can sprout up at any time and ruin that lawn you have worked so hard to perfect. Holmes Lawn & Pest wants to make sure you are prepared and protected this summer, so we have compiled a list of weeds commonly found in Utah.
As soon as spring rolls around, weeds begin competing with your lawn and plants for nourishment. If their presence is ignored, weeds will quickly overtake your yard and steal all the nutrients away from the healthy vegetation on your property. As weeds grow, your lawn becomes weaker and weaker, and we are here to help ensure that never happens to you! The sections below will help you identify some of the most common Utah weeds so that you will know exactly what you are dealing with in your yard.
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Many different types of weeds can be found throughout Utah, and they can mostly be categorized into two groups—broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. Broadleaf weeds can be annual, biennial, or perennial, which makes their growth difficult to predict and treat. Broadleaf weeds are known to multiply quickly, utilizing a mixture of both rhizomes and seeds to sprout new shoots. You can identify broadleaf weeds by their flat and wide leaves (as the name suggests) and by the single flower or cluster of flowers that often stems from the plant.
There are several different types of clovers, but white clovers have become quite prevalent over the years in Utah. White clovers are recognizable by their white, puffy flowers and their clusters of 3 petal-shaped leaves that often have a faint white “V” on them. White clovers grow very low to the ground and can cover an entire lawn quickly. It is a perennial weed that grows during spring, summer, and fall, and it will thrive in a lawn that is nitrogen deficient. Skipping or improperly applying fertilizer treatments can easily lead to the emergence of white clover on your lawn.
With their bright yellow flowers that turn into fluffy and delicate seed heads, dandelions may be the most recognizable weed you are likely to encounter. Dandelion flowers emerge from a single stem, and the plant has flat, spear-shaped leaves that produce a milky sap. The seed heads that emerge from the flower are the same ones you probably plucked as a child and blew across the yard, which is just one of the ways a dandelion spreads its seeds so quickly. This perennial weed is very hardy, and it will even withstand freezing temperatures.
Like many broadleaf weeds, thistles have distinct-looking flowers that are hard to mistake. Thistle flowers are typically a pinkish or purplish color, and they grow from long stems that can get as tall as 6 feet for certain species. Many people know thistles as prickly plants due to the presence of tiny sharp prickles that can grow all over the stem and leaves of the plant. Thistles are another resilient type of broadleaf weed, and the varying types of thistles can be either annual, biennial, or perennial.
There are thousands of plant species that belong to the morning glory family, some of which are invasive and harmful to your lawn and yard. Field bindweed is a type of morning glory plant that has become one of the most widespread weeds throughout the American West, including most parts of Utah. Field bindweed is a vine-type plant that has arrow-shaped leaves and white flowers, but other morning glory plants could have flowers of different colors. What makes field bindweed an invasive plant is its deep and widespread root system. While its flowers may look pretty in your yard, the roots of this morning glory plant will diminish the root system of your turf and plants.
As is the case with morning glory weeds, violets are distractingly beautiful but cause large amounts of damage under the soil surface. With heart-shaped leaves and vibrant flower petals of purple, pink, blue, or white, these plants are pleasant to look at, but their root systems are strong enough to overtake other roots of plants you actually want in your yard. The flowers bloom in spring and die/fall off when the temperatures get too hot, but the plant and its strong roots will remain, as violets are a perennial weed. If the colors alone are not enough to identify this weed, check if the flower petals are slightly droopy. Violets will often have flowers that are just barely angled downward.
You may find this weed on your lawn, but it is very common to find spurge in flower beds. Spurge is characterized by its prostrate growth of oblong, sometimes heart-shaped leaves and pink flowers. The leaves are commonly spotted with a reddish color, leading to the plant’s common nickname of “spotted spurge.” These weeds spread out widely and grow low to the ground, and growth is often so thick that it becomes matted and difficult to remove. This nasty weed is also known for the milky sap it produces, which has been known to lead to rashes and skin irritation. This is also a poisonous plant to ingest, and doing so could lead to vomiting and/or diarrhea. Spurge can be either perennial or annual, but the most common spurge weeds in Utah are annual weeds that spread quickly via their seeds.
Grassy weeds are also appropriately named, as these weeds masquerade as regular turfgrass on your lawn. They often share many characteristics with turfgrass, but they do not produce the same quality lawn that healthy turfgrasses produce. In fact, the invasive roots of grassy weeds often overtake healthy root systems in the soil, which will cause your lawn to be filled with harmful and undesirable weeds. If you see patches of sudden and quick grass growth that is taller than the surrounding grass, you likely have a grassy weed problem.
As is the case with most grassy weeds, it is very difficult to differentiate between annual bluegrass and regular turfgrass, especially the popular Kentucky bluegrass. However, there are a few key differences to look for that can help you identify this annual grassy weed. The leaf blades of annual bluegrass will be a lighter shade of green than the surrounding turfgrass. Under closer examination, another reliable indicator of annual bluegrass is the canoe-like shape that forms at the tip of individual leaf blades. In the springtime, the most obvious identifier of annual bluegrass is its fuzzy, white seed head.
Perhaps the most well known of all the grassy weeds, crabgrass is known to ravage lawns and root systems all over Utah. The leaves of crabgrass can range in color from a faint yellow to a dark green. Leaves of this weed are flat and wide, and they grow very low to the ground, often in clumps; the low, sprawling growth of crabgrass leaves is sometimes said to resemble crab legs. Stems of this weed are long and thin, and growth becomes more upright as the weed matures. Though crabgrass is an annual weed, one plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds that will emerge from the soil the following summer. Their roots are strong, and this weed is extremely difficult to control once the plant emerges and begins to spread across your lawn.
The appearance and growth of goosegrass are very similar to those of crabgrass. At first glance, goosegrass has the same low, flat, and wide leaves that crabgrass has, but there are noticeable differences if you know where to look. Goosegrass has folded leaves, flat stems, and feather-like flowers, all of which are characteristics that crabgrass does not possess. When observed from above, the base of the plant has a white center that spreads outwards and blends to a darker green toward the tips of the leaves. Goosegrass is another annual weed, and it can cause similar damage to your lawn and yard as crabgrass.
There are several types of bentgrass, with the most common among lawns in Utah being creeping bentgrass. Bentgrass grows in thick layers and looks just like many other desirable types of turfgrass, but it becomes an invasive species when those other types of turf are present. Bentgrass has a unique root system that is very shallow, which means that its roots will steal the majority of water and nutrients from the roots of other turf types that may be in your lawn. When it gets hot, creeping bentgrass may turn brown and appear dead, leaving behind unsightly patches all over your lawn. This is a perennial grassy weed, meaning it will return every year and continue to spread if it is ignored.
We hope that this article will help you identify invasive and harmful weeds that may be present on your property, but the next step is to protect your lawn and yard! Holmes Lawn & Pest has been combating weeds in Utah for years, and we know exactly how to defeat them for you. Our skilled technicians provide pre-emergent, post-emergent, and spot treatments to make sure your lawn is taken care of from top to bottom! Call Holmes today at (801) 616-5296 for more information on our weed control services.
Thank you for reading our blog on the 10 common weeds in Utah. If you're dealing with Brown Recluse problems or would just like to learn more about this spider, give our last blog post a read. Our latest post is live and it's the perfect read for those who are looking to prevent weeds from popping up in their lawns or gardens.