Tips & Strategies
How to Tackle Common Lawn Weeds
Getting rid of dandelion, crabgrass, and other ugly weeds in your yard can be faster and easy than you think.
Some things are meant to take extra time. Getting rid of lawn weeds shouldn’t be one of them. For fast, effective weed control (think sprint, not marathon), all it takes is a little know-how. To that end, here’s a look at the most common and annoying lawn weeds, along with tips on how to kill each and every one.
What Is Chickweed?
Chickweed is a low, spreading annual weed that looks, smells, and tastes like an herb (it’s edible), which means it attracts insect pests like spider mites and thrips.
Tips for Killing Chickweed
- Apply fast-acting Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray* to kill chickweed to the root without harming your lawn when used as directed.
- Mow higher, especially in the fall when chickweed germinates.
- Water your lawn only as needed since chickweed thrives in super-moist conditions.
- Follow package directions when applying fertilizer to your lawn. Overapply and the extra nitrogen can lead to explosive chickweed growth.
What Is Clover?
Clover is a low-growing weed most recognizable for its cluster of white and pink-tinged flowers.
Tips for Killing Clover
- Spray large patches of clover with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand*. The battery-powered trigger sprayer lets you spray continuously with ease.
- Maintain healthy, thick turf by feeding your lawn regularly.
- Mow your lawn regularly, too, and at the right height for your grass type.
- Repair any bare spots to help keep new weeds from taking up residence.
What Is Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is a fast-growing, heat-tolerant, grassy weed that forms a crab-like cluster and produces thousands upon thousands of seeds.
Tips for Killing Crabgrass
- Apply Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray* when you first notice crabgrass in the spring. For dense infestations, apply a second time 3 weeks after the first application.
- Maintain a thick, vigorous lawn to keep crabgrass seeds from getting the sunlight they need to grow.
- Keep mower blades sharp so grass recovers quickly and stays healthy.
- Water deeply yet infrequently since crabgrass prefers the exact opposite: shallow, frequent watering.
What Is Dandelion?
Dandelion is a flat-growing, perennial weed with a deep taproot and a bright-yellow flower that fades to a puffball.
Tips for Killing Dandelion
- Spray actively growing dandelion leaves with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®*. It works its way through the weed to kill all the way down to the root when used as directed.
- Mow high, taking off only about one-third of the length of the blade each time.
- Water only when rainfall isn’t enough and then only about an inch per week.
- Overseed your lawn in the fall to help thicken it up and crowd out dandelion.
What Is Dollarweed?
Dollarweed, also known as pennywort, is a broadleaf lawn weed with leaves that look like tiny lily pads and a stem that grows directly from the center of the leaf.
Tips for Killing Dollarweed
- Spray Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®* lightly to cover dollarweed leaves. This fast-acting formula works best when weeds are young and actively growing.
- Avoid over-watering your lawn because dollarweed thrives in moist environments. Instead, aim for about an inch of water a week.
- Keep your lawn well fed, pest free and healthy to help crowd out weeds.
What Is Foxtail?
Foxtail is a grassy weed with a bristly, arched seed head that resembles a tail.
Tips for Killing Foxtail
- Kill foxtail, not your lawn, with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray*.
- Mow at the right height for your lawn type.
- Leave grass clippings on your lawn as a source of extra nutrients.
- Water deeply and infrequently to a depth of about one inch per week.
What Is Oxalis?
Oxalis, or yellow woodsorrel, is a broadleaf weed with heart-shaped, clover-like leaves, long stalks, and yellow flowers.
Tips for Killing Oxalis
- Treat tough-to-control oxalis with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®*, with 3 proven weed killers.
- Limit access to sunlight with healthy, dense turfgrass that crowds out oxalis.
- Mow regularly at the right height for your turfgrass type.
- If you hand-pick any oxalis weeds, put them in the trash instead of the compost to keep seeds from germinating and spreading.
What Is Plantain?
Plantain is a perennial weed with short, thick tap roots, and leaves that form a rosette shape.
Tips for Killing Plantain
- Treat a plantain problem with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray*. With this fast-acting formula, you’ll see results in just one application when used as directed.
- Avoid mowing too closely to the ground. Mowing at the right help keeps turf vigorous and crowds out ugly plantain in your lawn.
- Keep your lawn healthy by feeding it regularly so nutrients don’t get depleted.
- Make your lawn less plantain friendly by aerating it to loosen compacted soil with core aeration.
Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
What Are Poison Ivy and Poison Oak?
Poison ivy and poison oak are fast-growing, three-leaved broadleaf weeds that contain a known skin irritant called urushiol.
Tips for Killing Poison Ivy and Poison Oak
- Spot-treat poison ivy plants or poison oak leaves with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®*. For best results, aim at the center of the weed, spraying lighting to cover.
- Avoid coming into direct contact with the plant and wear protective clothing if you must cut the weed before spraying.
- Refrain from burning poison ivy or poison oak since they release urushiol particles in the smoke, causing skin and even lung irritation.
What Is Purple Deadnettle?
Purple deadnettle is a low-growing, broadleaf weed that’s part of the mint family, and has a square stem, purplish-pink flowers, and pointed leaves.
Tips for Killing Purple Deadnettle
- Treat small or large patches of purple deadnettle quickly and easily with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray*. Simply connect the attached sprayer to your garden hose, slide the switch to “on,” and spray until wet.
- Crowd out purple nettle by feeding your lawn regularly so grass stays thick and healthy.
- Adjust your watering or irrigation schedule to give your lawn about an inch of water each week.
- Mow at the proper height and frequency for your turfgrass type.
What Is Spotted Spurge?
Spotted spurge is an annual summer weed with hairy red stems and tiny oval leaves that branch out from a central point to form a large, thick mat.
Tips for Killing Spotted Spurge
- Hand-pull tiny plants when soil is moist, or spot-treat them with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®*.
- Control larger patches of spurge with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Spray*, which treats up to 5,000 square feet.
- Keep spotted spurge from taking hold by keeping your lawn thick and healthy. Spurge germinates quickly, especially in sparse lawns.
Wild Onion and Wild Garlic
What Are Wild Onion and Wild Garlic?
Wild onion and wild garlic are perennial broadleaf weeds that resemble their culinary cousins, with thin green leaves, pungent odors, and underground bulbs.
Tips for Killing Wild Onion and Wild Garlic
- Spot-treat wild onion and garlic with Ortho® WeedClear™ Lawn Weed Killer Ready-to-Use with Comfort Wand®*. It works fast to kill tough and troublesome weeds to the root when used as directed.
- Dig out tiny clusters with a hand trowel when soil is moist and the infestation is light.
- Cultivate healthy, dense turfgrass so there’s no room for wild onion and wild garlic to grow.
- Maintain a regular mowing schedule to help weaken these weeds and stop them from setting seed. No matter how common these lawn weeds might be, you’re not alone in wanting a fast and easy way to get rid of them without harming your lawn. Now, thanks to these tips and the right Ortho® weed killer, you have it!
*Be sure to read and follow all package directions.