Weeds are unwanted! Well, we’re not talking about marijuana here; instead, we’re talking about those unwelcome plants that, if left unchecked, can frequently take over the lawn. Why do we use the word frequently?
Because weeds can destroy other plants in the garden if they grow purposelessly, remember that weeds are notorious for quickly spreading. Most of them sprout quickly from underground rhizomes, facilitating their rapid growth.
Stopping weeds from sprouting is one of the best strategies to manage their growth. What if you are unable to identify the weeds in your yard?
Your efforts to get rid of them will be ineffective. So, here is a detailed guide on the common weeds found in Florida. We’ll also concentrate on weed identification techniques and other relevant information.
So, if you reside in Florida, you should read this guide. Keep reading to find out everything there is to know about common Florida weeds!
Terms Associated with Weeds
Before we start our journey with Floridan weeds, here are some common or standard terms you will often find associated with these unwanted plants. Let’s look at them to identify what weeds are of what types.
Annual weeds, one of the infamous weed species, proliferate ferociously and can quickly take over an entire lawn. Annual weeds are, as their name implies, annual plants that go through their entire life cycle in a single growing season.
Example: Prostrate knotweed, Yellow foxtail, Goosegrass, Chickweed, Henbit, etc.
Weeds that are perennial grow longer than one growing season. They may reproduce from seeds and vegetative parts and have a lifespan of more than two years.
Example: Plantain, Buckhorn, etc.
These weed species go through their entire life cycle in just two growing seasons.
Example: Musk thistle, Wild carrot, etc.
Wide leaf blades are a defining characteristic of this group of weeds. Grasses and sedges can also be classified as broad-leaved weeds.
Example: Buckwheat, Burdock, Chickweed, etc
Grass-type weeds are actual grasses that we grow on our lawns.
Examples: Foxtails, Goosegrass, Crabgrass, etc
These weeds look like grasses but are not actual grasses. Instead of looking like real grass stems, these weeds have triangular stems. If looked closely, we will see different stems in these weeds.
Example: Garlic, Nutsedge, etc.
What are Common Weeds Found in Florida?
The first step toward getting rid of weeds is identifying them as weeds. So, let’s start our journey with the common weeds found in Florida.
1. Broadleaf Plantain
|Appearance||Leafless flower stems with leafy bracts of leaves|
Native to Central America and Europe, Broadleaf Plantain can be identified by looking at its rosette leaves and bare flower stalks.
This weed also has broad, flat, oval-shaped leaflets that can reach lengths of six inches and widths of four inches. Broadleaf plantain seeds are also recognized to provide health advantages despite being considered a weed.
2. Florida Pusley
|Appearance||Low growing and produces white, star-shaped flowers|
|Edible||Yes, in salads|
A relative of Brazilian and large-flower pusley, Florida pusley is one of the weeds frequently found in Florida. Their white blossoms in the form of stars make them simple to identify.
But if you spot this weed after it blooms, it will already be too late because it quickly starts to set seed after that. So even before you have done pronouncing its name, Florida pusley will take over your yard.
This weed thrives in areas without irrigation because of its remarkable drought tolerance. Additionally, if Florida pusley takes over your grass, it could develop nematode infections.
The most effective time to apply herbicides is when the plants are still young. Herbicide treatments may need to be repeated to eliminate this weed after its roots have taken hold.
3. Bull Thistle
|Appearance||Spiny leaves that grow on a rosette and stem with wooly white hairs|
|Edible||Yes, in salads, cooked or tossed|
The bull thistle is one weed that you should always keep an eye out for. The thick taproots of this weed are notorious for enabling it to spread ferociously.
What begins as a solitary rosette of leaves quickly grows during the winter and begins to bloom in the summer.
Bull thistles are very difficult to hand uproot once their taproot has developed. It won’t take long to dominate your lawn and trample the nearby vegetation.
Bear in mind that bull thistle produces about 5,000 seeds per season when dealing with it. Due to the size of this number, it spreads far.
4. White Clover
|Appearance||White flower heads and three oval leaflets with beveled blades|
A beneficial or harmful weed? When dealing with white clover, gardeners frequently vacillate between these two questions. White clover is grown by some homeowners because it aids the soil’s ability to fix nitrogen.
But if left unchecked, this weed multiplies quickly and has the potential to completely take over the grass, just like any other weed.
Because it grows from stems that touch the earth, white clover is a spooky weed. Additionally, this plant germinates quickly, particularly on lawns with little grass competition.
The three-lobed leaves and clusters of white flowers are two of the simplest ways to spot this weed.
5. Virginia Buttonweed
|Appearance||Low-growing, star-shaped white flowers and spreading stems|
|Type||Warm season perennial|
|Edible||Yes, unripe seeds are edible|
Virginia buttonwood, also known as Diodia virginiana, is a common plant in the southern US. Starting in the early spring, this weed emerges and thrives all summer long.
Virginia buttonwood spreads so quickly that, by fall, it can completely take over the lawn, eradicating all other plants, including grass.
Its opposite leaves and low growth can be used to identify it. Yet, if you do not keep a close eye on it, you can expect to see no vegetation on your lawn but only Virginia buttonwood.
This buttonweed tolerates mowing and spreads by seeds and rhizomes. However, once established, it may also develop hand-pulling resistance.
Therefore, the most effective method of removing Virginia buttonweed is repeatedly applying post-emergent herbicide.
|Appearance||Grass-type appearance with compound leaves and white flower heads|
For some gardeners, crabgrass is not a weed. Instead, crabgrass is grown on grassy lawns in some homes due to its hardiness and resilience. It usually appears in the first few weeks of summer and can readily infiltrate your Florida lawn.
However, it can grow continuously and is more invasive than any other common weed, developing a thick mat that covers the top layer of the ground.
Despite being yearly, if you do nothing to stop voracious spread of crabgrass, you may expect to deal with its invasion yearly. However, keep in mind that the sole purpose of crabgrass growth is to disperse its seeds widely.
Therefore, the best strategies to stop it from spreading are regular land mowing and the application of pre-emergence weed preventers.
|Appearance||Long leaves, hollow stems, and yellow flower head composed of ray flowers|
The beholder’s perspective determines whether a dandelion is considered a weed. Some people think of dandelions as gorgeous and cheery flowers, while others see them as a weed that spreads quickly.
But regardless of how you may view them, if left unchecked, dandelions may spread quickly and take over your landscape. On the other hand, if all you have on your lawn are dandelions, you might never have a problem.
Dandelion plants have large tap roots, which allow them to grow vegetatively in addition to dispersing their seeds in the air.
Due to this, it could be difficult to remove them after this plant becomes a colony. Regular lawn care and using herbicides to kill broadleaf weeds could be advantageous.
|Appearance||Grass-type with dark green leaves and silver stem base|
|Edible||Yes, leaves and stems. But it should be avoided by diabetics.|
also appear if you’ve ever experienced crabgrass problems on your lawn.
It is a noxious perennial weed that grows in warm climates or during the summer. Its dark green leaves and silver base stems that branch out from a central point make it simple to recognize.
Goosegrass can also be distinguished from other grass varieties by its white center.
Mid-summer is when goosegrass flowers bloom, and they do well in tightly packed, inadequately drained soil. Using non-selective herbicides to treat goosegrass is one of the best ways to get rid of it.
Dollarweed is a warm-season perennial weed. The term “dollarweed” refers to its silver-dollar-shaped leaves. This plant is easily identified by its spherical, vivid green, and meaty leaves.
It grows low and spreads through seeds, rhizomes, and tubers. Let us inform you that dollar weeds enjoy being in the water and can even float. In other words, the regions where this weed grows tend to be very wet or moistened.
Do not mistake dollarweed for dichondra when searching for it. Remember that dichondra has a stem towards the border of the leaf, but dollarweed has a stem in the middle.
That said, the best way to control the spread of dollarweed is to reduce the irrigation of your lawn and keep it dry and clean.
10. Yellow Nutsedge
|Appearance||Light green leaves with pointed tips|
Nutsedge has a negative reputation because of its ravenous spreading ability. This troublesome weed can invade gardens and procreate uncontrollably.
Yellow nutsedge may look like grass, but it is not actual grass. Look at the V-shaped stems and pointy, yellow seed heads that distinguish this weed from typical grass.
Yellow nutsedge’s deep roots make it impossible to control them, which is one of the worst things about them. This weed can penetrate mulch and is tolerant of cultivation and environmental challenges.
However, glyphosate spot treatments can be an efficient way to stop yellow nutsedge from spreading.
11. Common Chickweed
|Appearance||Egg-shaped leaves with pointed tips and daisy-like white to pink flowers|
Common chickweed is an edible cool-season annual that usually begins to sprout in the fall. However, if you do nothing to stop the spread of it, common chickweed will grow into huge mats of leaves.
Therefore, if you are not growing this weed on purpose in your yard, we encourage you to keep an eye on it. The easiest way to inhibit the spread of common chickweed may be to mulch the garden bed and use a pre-emergence herbicide.
12. Annual Bluegrass
|Appearance||Light green narrow leaf blades|
The annual bluegrass, also known as Poa Annua, is one of the most widespread grassy weeds in the world. It grows quickly and high. When fully grown, this grass weed can reach a height of 15 inches and start to produce seeds.
Flowering starts in early spring, and you may distinguish them by their whitish heads. With the arrival of the hotter summer months, poa annua begins to fade away.
But keep in mind that it produces many easily spread seeds for continued reproduction. Additionally, each poa annua produces over 100 seeds, some of which may remain dormant for years before sprouting.
Therefore, treating this weed with pre-emergence herbicides is advisable to limit its development and spread.
Here are some of the commonest weeds to be found in Florida:
• Florida pusley
• Bull thistle
• White clover
• Goosegrass, etc
To learn more, please refer to the blog above.
Depending on the spread of weeds, you can choose any of the following three methods of weed eradication.
• The application of herbicides
• Hand pulling
Florida pusley can be manually uprooted and eliminated if the infestation is not too bad. However, post-emergence herbicide treatment is the best choice if there is a significant infestation.
Herbicide application is always advised for the best results when the weed is in its active stage of growth
For Floridan lawns, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer is recommended by the majority of gardeners. This should not, however, be accepted as gospel truth.
The type and stage of the weed invasion will determine which fertilizer is best for your lawn.
Your perspective will determine if a plant is a weed. The list of plants we have provided above comprises weeds because they may spread quickly.
So, if you are growing any of these plants alone in the garden, then be worry-free. However, all of the aforementioned plants will provide a concern if there is other vegetation in your yard.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the various weeds found in Florida. Always keep in mind that, while being difficult, weed eradication is not a problem if you spot them early.