Lawn owners of Houston, Texas, are conversant with the painful reality of weeds. Cold winters and hot summers make Houston yards vulnerable, allowing weeds to pop up quickly. You might take good care of your garden plants but can’t prevent their growth.
These invaders develop and spread more quickly. In short, weeds are nightmares for lawn owners in Houston like they are everywhere else.
This article lists some of the most common weeds that cause headaches to gardeners in Houston, Texas. So please keep reading to identify them!
Identify the Most Common Weeds of Houston
The various climatic conditions prevailing in Texas encourage the growth of a wide variety of weeds. The two main weed categories are:
- Grassy weeds
- Broadleaf weeds
The grassy weeds can effectively blend in with grass, so they are pretty trickier to spot. And once they become visible, they are likely to expand beyond the point of control.
However, the broadleaf species are characterized by more visible and broader foliage. Thus, they typically bulge out among the turf grass.
Well, let’s explore the common weeds of Houston and how to control them efficiently.
|Common Names||Common couch, Quick grass, Twitch, Quitch, Scutch grass, Dog grass, and Witchgrass.|
This grass weed species initially resembles crabgrass and ryegrass, making it difficult to spot on lawns. However, they exhibit the same resiliency and tufted growth pattern.
However, the fascinating fact is that quackgrass can push out lawn grass and other weeds. Hence, they are known as the ‘bully’ of all weeds.
Quackgrass features long and thicker tapered blades attached to its hollow stem, nearly 1/3-inch thick. You will also find a unique leaf blade wrapping around the plant’s stem with clasping auricles.
This weed has deeper roots of rhizomes below the surface that help them spread. Rhizomes can even spread from one lawn to another, propagating new quackgrass. However, quackgrass can reach up to 3.5 feet in height.
Maintaining a healthy, thick lawn is the best defense against quackgrass’s growth. A thicker lawn provides less room for this weed to sprout.
You can mow at a higher setting to shade and prevent sun rays from reaching the ground. Eventually, the weed seeds won’t get the optimum conditions to germinate.
Note that post-emergent treatment might not be effective for this grassy weed. Each rhizome can give rise to a new plant, and it’s impossible to remove each by hand. Hand-pulling can also be an inconvenient option because of the rhizomes in the roots.
An effective way to eradicate quackgrass is a non-selective herbicide treatment. However, you may have to apply it several times to kill them entirely. Once they die off, seed the space.
Increased fertilizer treatment will let your yard propagate faster and choke out the quackgrass.
|Common Names||Coco-grass, Nutgrass, Java grass, Purple Nut sedge, Red nut edge, and Khmer kravanh chruk.|
Nutsedge is a persistent turfgrass weed that grows aggressively in flower and vegetable gardens. Sedges rank among the most challenging weeds to eradicate from a lawn. They are the worst nemesis of lawn owners because of their invasive nature. They usually outbreak in poorly drained, moist lawn areas, developing large colonies in no time.
However, these perennial weeds come back one year after another, producing in different ways that impede their control. They are heat-tolerant weeds that outdo heat-challenged crops or plants for nutrients and water.
The yellow nutsedge variety blooms bright yellow-green leaves that stick out against the turf grasses, just like the dark green leaves of the purple variety. Smooth nutsedge leaves show a unique center rib pattern, creating a V-shape.
On top of that, spiky flowers grow in clusters: purple-brown and yellow-brown for purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge, respectively.
Another key identifying feature is their triangular stems. Apart from that, nutsedge’s extensive root system can grow nearly 4-feet beneath the soil.
While yellow nutsedge grows to 12 to 16inches tall, purple nutsedge extends nearly 6 inches when mature.
You can quickly introduce nutsedge tubers in topsoil or your nursery stock by cultivation. So learn to spot this weed and thoroughly clean your tools and gardening equipment, especially those used in an infested area. This will help you introduce the tubers and prevent their spread accidentally.
3. Annual Ryegrass
|Common Names||Italian ryegrass, Stiff darnel, Rigid ryegrass, Wimmera ryegrass, and Swiss ryegrass.|
This perennial grass pops up predominantly during winter and early spring. Annual ryegrass can blend flawlessly with other surrounding grasses or plants. Thus, they are difficult to spot. However, many gardeners plant this yearly ryegrass as a cover crop in winter.
The mature annual ryegrass can reach nearly 3 feet, flaunting slightly flattened and rounded clustered stems. Plus, they have flattened blade leaves, ranging between 2 and 10 inches. However, the standout feature is that their rolled leaves are in the bud.
Flowers bloom from April until September, characterized by small spikelets without stalks. They are light-green, and each flower feature needle-like wisps. Annual ryegrass shows a red tint at the base. Its seed head has long spikes that are arranged with spikelets.
Propagate annual ryegrass during the spring as it will provide enough time to decompose before cultivating the summer plants. It’s best to kill this weed when they are succulent.
A pre-emergent treatment is the best way to control the recurring annual ryegrass. However, if this weed is actively flourishing on your lawn, go for a post-emergent herbicide application.
Herbicides or tillage retards regrowth of annual ryegrass significantly. However, it’s essential to use herbicides under the right conditions.
|Common Names||Wooly croton, Hogwort, Goatweed, and Marsh dayflower.|
Another Houston weed that can trick you by imitating turf grass is dove weed. This weed can germinate quickly and choke your yard if you don’t deal with it immediately.
Dove weed has stems that develop along the ground, known as ‘creeping stolons.’ These stems, as well as seeds, spread them. So control this weed before it spreads and begins flowering.
Dove weed is recognized as a summer annual with fleshy stems that root at the nodes. The leaves are lance-shaped, thick, and narrow with a rubber texture, growing alternatively. They have short sheaths with soft hairs on the upper edges.
Dove weeds are also characterized by purple flowers on short flower stalks and a fibrous root system. Apart from this, you will see creeping stolons that help this weed spread. In addition, tiny fruits crop up during the fall and spread more seeds.
While dove weed prefers moist conditions, water your yard occasionally to let the soil dry out completely. However, if this weed bears fruit, don’t water the lawn as it can spread the seeds.
Ensure your lawn is well-aerated and drained so the soil doesn’t remain wet. Also, eliminate any dove weed sprouting in your yard before mowing, as the stolons can give rise to a new plant.
Well, one or two applications of pre- and post-emergent herbicides might be required to control this weed. However, a non-selective herbicide is usually the best defense. With mowing, try to rip off within 1/3 inches from the turf height.
|Common Names||Duckweed, Pussley, Wild portulaca, Verdolaga|
This succulent weed is a headache for gardeners because of the hassle of eradicating it. The fact is that purslane can embrace multiple survival techniques, coming back to life year after year. This invader loves warm, adequately watered soil and can even tolerate drought.
Interestingly, keeping this weed out of the yard is challenging.
Purslane sprouts outward close to the ground in a circular way. They exhibit fleshy stems with small, paddle-shaped green leaves. This succulent weed blooms star-shaped, yellow flowers.
Surprisingly, purslane is nutritious and edible, recognized as a ‘superfood’ used in sandwiches or salads. It’s also known to have many health benefits, like other leafy vegetables. For example, it can treat insomnia.
The best time to deal with purslane is when it’s still young.
Purslane throws their seeds several distances away at the seed stage, infesting other parts of a yard.
Nevertheless, hand pulling is also effective. Another great way to get rid of this weed is by using herbicide, and it would also work best for young purslane.
Purslane seeds can ripen even after you have uprooted the plant from the soil. However, while eradicating purslane, dispose of it properly by placing it in a plastic bag or paper. And clear the affected area attentively to prevent re-rooting.
6. Creeping Charlie
|Common Names||Ground-ivy, Alehoof, Gill-over-the-ground, Field balm, Tunhoof, Catsfoot & Run-away-robin.|
This aggressive weed is known as ‘ground-ivy’ and is categorized under the mint family. Besides partly shaded and moist areas, creeping charlie can also thrive well in the sun. However, this weed is a headache for gardeners because of its ability to spread rapidly. And they are hard to control.
Creeping, charlie can spread via its stems that root at the nodes, rhizomes, and seeds.
Creeping charlie produces a robust minty odour if crushed or cut. Like another member of the mint family, this perennial weed has square stems and shallow roots. In spring, you will see small, tubular, and bluish-purple flowers blooming on the weed’s short stems.
This weed also exhibits bright green, kidney-shaped, or round leaves with scalloped edges. However, the leaves grow opposite on the four-sided weed stem.
Amazingly, creeping charlie’s leaves are attached to each node of the stem that can root. Overall, the plant looks like it’s hanging.
At the early stage, repeated hand-weeding can be effective in controlling creeping charlie. Make sure to eliminate and prevent damage to the entire roots.
Also, never store this weed in a compost bin, as they can root there pretty well.
Another excellent defense against creeping charlie is a broadleaf herbicide. Just apply the herbicide during early fall to get absorbed up to the roots. However, if this weed has expanded almost your entire lawn, try choking it beneath the sheets of black plastic or cardboard.
|Common Names||Shrub aster, Bushy starwort, Wild aster, Eastern annual saltmarsh, Slender aster, Small saltmarsh aster.|
This weed isn’t noxious but a nemesis for lawn owners in Houston as they rapidly germinate and spread in dry areas. Asterweed propagates in clumps and blooms, flowers that look like daisies.
When this plant matures, the stems turn woodier and, eventually, more challenging to eliminate.
Asterweed is a short-lived perennial or annual herb with spindly, tall, straight stems and linear-lanceolate leaves. Their leafy panicles open out several flower heads of 2-4mm in diameter. They usually grow about 1.8m in height.
They have reddish bracts with a green center and no hairs. On the other hand, aster seeds often also have white hairs that help in wind dispersal.
If asterweed has expanded all over your garden, a post-emergent herbicide treatment will be the best defense. The most efficient technique of controlling this weed is hand-pulling. However, it will be convenient to pull in moist soil.
While this weed loves dry soil, experts recommend watering regularly and thoroughly. Well, a pre-emergent treatment will stop the asterweed from flowering.
So these are some of the most common invaders homeowners of Houston should look out for in their gardens. However, it’s important to remember that weeds don’t necessarily signify the plants that harm your desirable crops on the lawn.
Instead, these plants can spread quickly And take over your desirable plants in the garden. Thus, get rid of the weeds on time.