Weeds are undoubtedly the worst. They are terrible pests that crop up in ideal conditions across a lawn or invade flower beds. Weeds are a lot of headaches and stress for Connecticut gardeners and landowners. People are tired of going outside regularly to fret over the crabgrass or dig out dandelions that don’t seem to be controlled.
Weeds are unwanted pests. But you can’t avoid all weeds. Some of them can be prevented, but you can treat and control some weeds after they dangle their ugly heads. However, it’s important to note that each weed type is different and, eventually, their preventive measures.
Thus, it is foremost necessary to learn about the common types of weeds germinating in Connecticut lawns, yards, or big properties. This article highlights some of the most common weeds of Connecticut – their characteristics and how they look. Keep reading to find them out!
Common Lawn Weeds of Connecticut
Weeds are common guests of most yards, lawns, or gardens. Some of them are pretty familiar, while others aren’t. Learning about the common weed types will help you eradicate and easily bring them under control from the land. So let’s get started!
1. Ground Ivy
|Scientific Name:||Glechoma hederacea|
|Common Names:||Creeping Charlie, Tunhoof, Alehoof, Run-away Robin, Field Balm, and Gill-over-the-ground.|
This common perennial herb creeps along, stepping itself as a ground cover and finding its way into flower beds, gardens and lawns. Although some homeowners relish the light minty aroma of creeping ivy, others regard it as a hard-to-control nuisance. Ground ivy can even survive mowing.
- Ground ivy has a square cross-section stem that produces roots at every node.
- Flowers are blue to purple with two lips. They are funnel-shaped and emerge in whorls of two to four.
- This weedy plant exhibits kidney-shaped, green leaves with blunt serrations on the margins.
- Ground ivy will create a dense mat on the ground if not controlled within time.
- They emit a strong blackcurrant smell.
- The plant can spread rapidly under suitable conditions like soft turf grasses, shade, and low mowing height.
- The leaves appear bright green under shaded conditions but often appear purplish-red in full sunlight.
Ground ivy takes the opportunity of a poor turf system with bare spots to sprout. Factors that persuade a lawn or yard to this weed’s invasion include low mowing height, shade, improper pH, and poor fertility.
Herbicide application during the fall is an effective way to control this weed.
2. Canada Bluegrass
|Scientific Name:||Poa compressa|
|Common Names:||Flat stem bluegrass, Wiregrass, English bluegrass, and Flattened meadowgrass|
Canada bluegrass is a cool-season grass, easily identified by its flattened stems, colony-forming habit, and blue-green, boat-shaped tipped leaves. They have an extensive root system with rhizomes that let this plant spread aggressively. As a result, Canada bluegrass can be an awful invader.
Canada bluegrass is adapted to cool temperatures, and its leaves will remain green in early winter. This plant sees adequate moisture and full sun for good growth. However, they can even thrive in moderately acidic soils and wet sites.
- This perennial grass can grow up to 2 inches in height and produce infertile and fertile shoots. However, fertile shoots are higher than infertile shoots.
- The culms are tufts or solitary, and 4 to 6 alternate leaves grow along every fertile culm.
- You will find grayish-blue or green culms with no hairs. They are unbranched and somewhat flattened.
- The leaf blades measure 4.5mm across and 4 inches in length. Moreover, they are grayish blue or dull green.
- The leaf sheaths are somewhat hairless, flattened, and shorter than internodes.
- Canadian bluegrass even has white membranous ligules and light to medium-green nodes. The nodes are slightly swollen.
- You will see the blade tips to be hull-shaped.
- Flowers represent an open panicle of spikelets where each bears a pair of glumes and 3 to 7 lemmas.
- However, glumes measure 1.5 to 2.5mm in length and are curved, oblong-lanceolate, longitudinally veined, and grayish blue.
- This perennial grass also has hairy lemmas along the lower half.
- Canadian bluegrass has ellipsoid, 1.5mm long grains grooved along one side. Fruits are brown to light tan in color.
- Seeds stay viable in the seed bank for nearly four years.
One effective way to manage this weed’s growth is careful hoeing or hand pulling in early summer or spring before they produce seeds. However, experts don’t recommend using herbicides as the grass grows in mixed stands along with native species.
|Scientific Name:||Tussilago farfara|
|Common Names:||Dovedock, Coughwort, Clayweed, Horse-hoof, Ginger root, Clayweed, Sowfoot, Cleats, and British tobacco|
The shape of coltsfoot leaves looks like hoof prints, thus the name ‘coltsfoot.’ Coltsfoot grows rapidly and bears fast-spreading rhizomes. However, this weedy plant gives rise to several finely-dispersed seeds.
Coltsfoot can thrive well in occasionally dry to very wet conditions. They even tolerate cool to moderate temperatures and semi-shade conditions. This plant spreads rhizomes through water and soil and seeds via wind. They form dense mats in disturbed, damp lawns and yards.
- It’s a low-growing perennial weedy plant with large leaves, deep green in color.
- Coltsfoot doesn’t have any main stem.
- Leaves appear on leaf petioles up to 20cm above the soil, creating an entire canopy that covers the soil.
- The upper leaf surface appears smooth and nearly waxy, whereas you will find white wooly hairs on the leaf’s underside.
- Fascinatingly, the leaf veins and the leaf stems appear uniquely purplish.
- Underground rhizomes create stands of foliage densely. You commonly find just two to three coltsfoot patches in a yard that expand gradually.
- Coltsfoot bloom flowers similar to dandelions. Flowers are bright yellow, but they are a little bit smaller and emerge in early spring.
- The fluffy, white seed heads also look like dandelions.
- Coltsfoot doesn’t produce seeds prolifically. For example, each plant is known to bear nearly 3500 seeds.
- After seeds ripen on early flowers, the leaves appear above the ground and continue growing for many weeks.
Perfect growing conditions of coltsfoot include moist clay soil in shaded, cool areas. However, they can thrive in sunny areas and other soils. Interestingly, smothering vetches or mustard crops can help suppress this weed.
4. Bull Thistle
|Scientific Name:||Cirsium vulgare Bull|
|Common Names:||Scots, Scotch thistle, Common thistle|
Bull thistle is known to be among the biggest nectar producer. The entire bud features stiff spines that resemble a ferocious bull and, thus, the name ‘bull thistle.’ In addition, a bull thistle can displace other vegetation by creating dense.
Bull thistles can sprout pleasantly in different conditions, whether it’s sunny, dry soils, or moist open areas.
- Bull thistle foliage features stiff hairs on top and appears woolly on the bottom.
- Seeds germinate during the spring and are the only reproduction mode.
- The plant shows a rosette appearance, 4 to 8 inches wide, in the first growing season. They bear egg-shaped newly appeared leaves with spines along the margin.
- During the second year, one to several vertical branching stems emerges with spines that elongate in the summer.
Bull thistle is also characterized by long leaves close to the base and minimized in length while ascending to the top. The upper part of the leaves is coarse, and the bottom part is soft. Moreover, you will see deeply-lobed leaves with a spine on each leaf tip, and each spine expands from the leaves to the stem ridges.
The flower heads are shaped like gumdrops, 1 to 2 inches wide, and consist of numerous tiny purple flowers. Their heads appear solitary or a small clump at a stem’s apex. Moreover, you will find a long, stiff spine on the top of every leaf-like structure. Flowers emerge two or three weeks after other thistle plants, usually from spring to early fall.
Bull thistle produces numerous straw-colored seeds tipped with plume-like bristles. However, wind help in dispersing the seeds that can thrive in soil for over ten years.
Another characteristic feature of bull thistle is its fleshy taproot. As a result, bull thistles can be tackled in turf via daily mowing, preventing the plant from blooming flowers. Eventually, you won’t have to worry about seeds blowing from one place to another.
|Scientific Name:||Taraxacum officinale|
|Common Names:||Cankerwort, Lion’s-tooth, Monk’s-head, Irish daisy, Puffball, Priest’s-crown, Yellow-gowan, Earth-nail, Bitterwort, Clockflower, Piss-in-bed, Pissinlit, Telltime and Swine’s snout.|
With their signature spiky greens and sunny flowers, dandelions can be instantly recognized. Although dandelions are considered a weed, they are edible plants. Leaves, flowers, and roots – every part is eatable! This perennial herb is known for several medicinal and culinary uses.
They prefer shady, cool areas but can still tolerate sunny, hot areas with full sun. Dandelions reproduce by wind-blown seeds; each plant is estimated to produce from 3,000 to 23,000 seeds yearly.
- Dandelions have a thick and deeply branched taproot. If cut, the root will release milky juice.
- The plant has pale, oval, yellowish-green cotyledons with smooth edges.
- Young leaves are oblong to oval and have long hollow petioles (leaf stalks), forming a basal rosette.
- Dandelions have 2 to 12 inches tall, erect, hollow, leafless stems.
- You will see bright green, thin leaves, 3 to 10 inches long, pointed around the margins with teeth or lobes of different shapes and sizes.
- Moreover, leaves show alternate arrangements. Nodes are usually beneath or at the soil surface because of compressed stems. Leaves are hairless.
- Flowers are bright yellow, 1 to 2 inches wide, appearing at the tips of the long, hollow stems. When it matures, flowers turn into fuzzy white seed heads.
- Fruits are one-seeded, narrow (nearly 3/16 inch long), and brownish in color. They taper to a thin beak that is 2 to 3 times as long as the seed.
You can manage small infestations by pulling or digging dandelion plants. But ensure to remove the entire root; otherwise, it can regrow and develop into a mature plant in the next season.
6. White Clover
|Scientific Name:||Trifolium repens|
|Common Names:||Dutch clover, Ladino clover, Honeysuckle clover, Shamrock, Purplewort, White Dutch clover, White trefoil|
Another widespread weed of Connecticut lawns, gardens, grasslands and disturbed sites is white clover. This short-lived creeping herbaceous plant is mostly seen in spring and winter.
- White clovers have creeping stems and upright flower stalks, about 10 to 30cm tall.
- The creeping stems propagate closer to the ground with nodes that produce roots. They typically have no hairs and measure 30cm long or less.
- Leaves are hairless and display alternate arrangements, emerging on long stalks. White clovers have compound, trifoliate leaves. However, each leaflet is egg-shaped, heart-shaped, or oval with serrated edges.
- The upper leaf surface exhibits distinctive v-shaped markings in pale green color. Moreover, the tips are notched or rounded.
- Flowers are small pea-shaped, pale pink to white, arranged in clusters at the stalks’ top. You will even find five reddish or green sepals merged into a small tube. And within each fruit, you will see three to four seeds.
White clovers reproduce via seeds and creeping stems. You can control this weed in lawns through proper fertilization and broadleaf herbicide application.
7. Broadleaf Plantain
|Scientific Name:||Plantago major|
|Common Names:||Dooryard plantain and Common plantain|
This is another common weed in Connecticut. Broadleaf plantain grows close to the ground in clusters of green leaves. However, they may even bloom a flower that can expand nearly a foot tall. This weed can crop up everywhere, from parking lots and playgrounds to flower beds, even where other plants might not survive. They are usually eradicated as annoying garden pests.
- Plantain has oblong-shaped cotyledons.
- The first and following few leaves are football-shaped.
- Leaves are egg-shaped to lance-shaped, short-haired or hairless, and feature five to seven visible parallel veins.
- They have shallow and fibrous roots.
- Flowers appear from April to September.
- Interestingly, you will find lean spikes of discreet flowers arranged in clusters upon the flowering head. However, each flower has narrow, white stamens.
- Fruits contain egg-shaped capsules that are horizontally open to exude seeds. Broadleaf plantain reproduces by seeds.
Cultivation, hoeing, or other mechanical methods are effective ways to tackle young plantain.
You must take care of these common weeds in Connecticut lawns or gardens. Nevertheless, properly caring for your yards or lands is the best way to prevent any weeds. For example, aerate your yard, fertilize regularly, and water deeply. Also, remember that a healthy turf will be resistant to these invaders.