Weeds in Indiana: Identify 6 Different Common Weeds with Pictures

Garden weeds are headaches, and they have to be eradicated. Whether a few or more, your lawn should be completely weed-free.

Otherwise, they can ruin the appeal of your yard, outclassing propagated fruits, grasses, vegetables, and other crops.

Weeds choke the life out of our precious plants or gardens, so we must keep weeds at the bay. Weeds are not easy to handle, but not difficult to prevent them from ruining us.

They are invaders, and we must push an invader out.

This article can help Indiana gardeners battle these invaders. You will win half the battle by identifying the common weeds in Indiana, understanding their nature, and how to deal with them.

6 Common Weeds You Will See in Indiana Lawns

Here are six weeds that are commonly found in Indiana lawns. Let’s dive in!

1. Foxtail

SpeciesSetaria viridis
Common NamesGreen bristlegrass, Wild millet, Pigongrass, and Green foxtail.

This summer’s annual grass appears like the famous timothy grass at a glance. But upon close inspection, you will know it’s foxtail. This weed sprouts from seeds during the spring and wilts in the fall. However, they spread numerous seeds into the soil to regrow yearly.

Foxtail intrudes fields of raw crops, emerging between late spring and early summer. They have a fibrous root system and reproduce by seeds that form a fuzzy seed head like a foxtail.

The weed typically grows upright, featuring a ligule edged with hairs where the leaf blade connects to the stem.

Now the fact is that this weed is difficult to remove using herbicides. In case of minor infestation, you can propagate required cool-season grasses substantially.

The new grasses will appear by springtime, choking out the foxtail seedlings. But if there is a widespread infestation, you can choose to renovate the field if there are not many desirable plants in the lawn.

Key Characteristics

Foxtails are of three types – green, yellow, and giant. And you can distinguish this summer weed by the size and color of its fuzzy seed heads.

However, seed heads will obviously appear during seeding and are not mowed. And note that if you find the seed head drooping over, be confirmed its foxtail.

Yellow foxtail exhibits yellow, soft bristles on their compact seed head. On the other hand, the green variety bears purple or green seed heads.

Moreover, if you see a greenish seed head, it’s the giant foxtail variety. Their seed head is typically bigger, nearly 3 to 8 inches long. Plus, they droop, forming an arch, unlike the yellow and green ones.

You can also identify foxtail by looking at the leaves. The giant foxtail features wider leaves, nearly 5/8 inches, and you will see dense hairs on its upper surface. Narrow-leaf blades characterize yellow and green foxtails. However, the difference between the two varieties is –

  • Yellow foxtails manifest sparsely hairy upper leaf surfaces, whereas the green ones have no hairs. Instead, the hairs are light and look like cobwebs.
  • Apart from this, giant and green foxtails feature round leaf sheaths. And the yellow species exhibit flat sheaths and a reddish hue at the leaf base.

However, it’s essential to spot these weeds before they produce the seed head. Then, try to mow them quickly to prevent them from dropping seeds the following year.

2. Dandelion

Scientific NameTaraxacum Officinale
Common NamesCankerwort, Lion’s-tooth, Monk’s-head, Irish daisy, Puffball, Priest’s-crown, and blowball.

Dandelions can pop up in gardens, lawns, pastures, meadows, and any disturbed areas, taking advantage of shady areas. Yet they can tolerate high temperatures with direct sunlight. 

Fascinatingly, this perennial weed can easily trick children with its beautiful yellow flowers. But they actually help in spreading.

And after all, they are weeds that rob other desirable plants in a lawn for nutrients, light, and other, affecting the expected yield. So it would be best to eradicate dandelions as soon as you spot them emerging

Pesticide and herbicide use are the best defense to destroy dandelion’s ubiquitous presence. 

Moreover, you should pick dandelion flowers when entirely dry and open later in the morning. Intense infestation of this weed can be controlled significantly with moldboard plowing.

Key Characteristics

Cotyledons range from spatulate or oval to smooth, circular, and yellow-green. Dandelions have hairless young leaves with a long leaf stem that is grayish-green beneath and green above.

However, dandelions mature to form a basal rosette and a fleshy, thick taproot that can easily break. They will emit a milky juice if you cut their flower stalks, taproot, and leaves. Well, you will see a few crimped hairs on the leaves on either side. If you don’t remove it entirely, the weed will regrow. 

They even exhibit broadly spaced teeth pointing toward the leaf base. Dandelions can reproduce through vegetative propagation and by seeds. Moreover, flowers bloom from May to June, with yellow flower heads and leafless flower stalks. 

And the fruits are small, yellow brown, and one-seeded, and a feathery pappus is fastened to a long stalk. They together create a grayish-white, globe-shaped seedhead.

3. Velvetleaf

Velvetleaf Weeds
Scientific NameAbutilon theophrasti
Common NamesVelvet plant, Chinese jute, Crown weed, China jute, Buttonweed, Butterprint, Lantern mallow, Pie-maker, and Indian mallow.

Here’s another annual summer weed – the velvetleaf. These weeds are the nemesis of Indiana gardeners more significantly because they are self-pollinators. 

One velvetleaf plant can produce nearly 17,000 seeds and typically stay active in the ground for up to 60 years. This means velvetleafs don’t need separate pollinators to spread the seeds. 

Their vigorous seedlings crop up at different times, propagating rapidly. Eventually, velvetleaf matures, quickly blooming new flowers every two days. 

They are a severe threat to farms as they influence crop growth. This weed sprouts after the spring in warm weather and grows very tall, preventing light from reaching the crops.

Key Characteristics

Velvetleaf can reach 3 to 8 feet in height, spreading their stout, branching stems. You will even see them covered with velvety hairs. Being an annual summer weed, this weed emerges during the spring. And flowers start blooming between July and September. 

They have big, heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips, growing alternatively at several points on the stem. The leaf stalks are long and stout and exude a unique but unpleasant odor if crushed. 

Velvetleafs have yellow, five-petal flowers attached at the base. They sprout on stalks, singly or in bunches, at the points where the leaf stalk connects to the stem. Moreover, you will find some pod-like capsules containing cup-like rings. 

Stems grow upright when mature, with dense hairs and branches at the top. Branching, shallow taproots even characterize velvetleafs. 

You can easily spot this weed because of its conspicuous, large structure. In addition, you can easily pull out a single plant before they produce seeds. So it won’t be challenging to spot and prevent velvetleaf in your garden.

3. Nutsedge

Scientific NameCyperus rotundus
Common NamesJava grass, Nut grass, Red nutsedge, Purple nutsedge, Khmer kravanh chruk.

This is a common weed haunting the lawns of Indiana in the summer. Nutsedges grow taller and quicker than grass, also after mowing. 

In addition, they characterize deep root systems that make them notoriously difficult to eradicate. This perennial weed can survive for two years but promises to come back yearly. 

However, you can see two varieties of this weed in your garden – purple and yellow nutsedge. The key differences between the two are their flower colors and blooming time. 

Common broadleaf killers might not be effective on nutsedges as they aren’t like thistles or dandelions. Instead, they are sedge that shed the herbicide, and that’s frustrating.

Key Characteristics

Nutsedge is characterized by a triangular stem that you can feel in your hands. Green or yellow leaves grow at the plant’s base, bending over and back toward the soil. They seem like having three points or sides like a triangle. 

While nutsedges grow faster and taller than turf grass, your lawn can look uneven and bad. But you will mostly find purple or yellow flowers. However, flowers also bloom at the sedge’s stem in different colors. 

Yellow flowers on yellow nutsedges usually appear in the mid of summer. On the contrary, purple flowers on the purple variety emerge during the late summer. 

Another distinguishing feature is its deep root system. Their roots have rhizomes extending up to 14 inches beneath the soil. 

After growing horizontally below the ground, the rhizomes pop out from the soil, forming a new plant. You will find small tuber structures called ‘nutlets’ at the roots. 

Note that nutsedge thrives in warm and moist soil. So if you have poorly drained, moist soil, you welcome backyard sedges. However, maintaining a thick, healthy lawn is the best defense against this weed.

Also Read: Guide to Identify Common Weeds in Chicago with Pictures

5. Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy
Scientific NameToxicodendron radicans
Common NamesMarkweed, Rhus radicans, Hiedra Venenosa.

Their characteristic three leaves make poison ivy easier to spot. But identifying them can still be tricky as this weed has wide varieties or subspecies. Nevertheless, be aware of this weed so that you don’t accidentally touch or brush against this weed. Why?

Poison Ivy contains resins on leaves, known as urushiol, that often result in rashes and allergic reactions. Many plants have unique defense systems to protect themselves from predators. And chemicals that this weed plant exudes work effectively.

The resin has certain compounds that get attached to skin proteins when touched. Then, the human body reacts to it through skin eruptions or rashes that burn and itch. So be careful while dealing with poison ivy.

 Interestingly, this weed appears different at every phase of its growth cycle. Let’s find out how to identify them quickly –

Key Characteristics

During the spring, the weed might exhibit red or a combination of green and red leaves. You will find green buds emerging in the spring and turning white when it opens. 

While the older leaves turn entirely green, the new leaf emerges as red. The plant starts to mature with the inception of warm weather.

You will even see small, off-white berries germinating on the stems. However, you will find a variety of poison ivy leaves. Some may even display deeply ridged edges like oak leaves. However, each plant can reach taller heights. 

This weed turns bright orange, red or yellow during the fall. It looks pretty appealing at this time but be cautious! It’s still dangerous to touch like it was during summer. Now, it will be even more fascinating to see the leaves becoming deep red, withering, and falling off. 

The roots can be bare or hairy and also cause skin irritation. However, this weed exposes its white berries at this time on its bare branches. 

Overall, the three-leaflet set displays an alternate arrangement. The middle leaflet in each set comes with a longer stem than the other two leaflets.

You May Also Read: Weeds in Missouri: Identify 5 Different Common Weeds with Pictures

6. Nimblewill

Scientific NameMuhlenbergia schreberi
Common NamesDrop seed, Wire Grass, Nimble weed

Nimblewill is among the most troublesome and abundant weeds. This perennial weed displays a fine texture, narrow leaves, and slender stems. 

Nimblewill can thrive in various soil conditions but loves to germinate in disturbed fields, yards or gardens. You can find them peeping in high or low-fertility soils, friable or compacted soils. 

Besides being a weed, nimblewill also serves as a native warm-season alternative in lawns. They can even pop up in dense shades, full sun, and wet conditions to sprout. However, this plant will take up a unique tan color during the winter. 

You will notice round, straw-colored dormant patches of tumbleweed between early fall to late spring. These patches can gradually expand over most of your garden area. Well, apart from seeds, stolon’s also help in spreading the weed.

Key Characteristics

Nimblewill features wiry and thin stolons with circular, bead-like, small nodes. These stolons spread to form patches up to 2 feet in diameter yearly. However, new shoots and roots grow from the nodes.

Another characteristic feature of nimblewill is its fibrous root system. Although you can easily pull the root out, even the smallest bit can give rise to new plants. On the other hand, the weed features short, flat, and blue-green leaves, nearly 1/4 inches wide and 1 to 2 inches long. You will see numerous veins on their upper surface. 

Moreover, leaves grow at a 45-degree angle to the stem, coiled within the bud. You will also see a pretty short and membranous ligule at a nearly jagged top. 

Make sure to eliminate the stolon’s to prevent the regrowth of this weedy plant.

Also Check: Weeds in Houston: Identify 7 Common Weeds with Pictures

Wrapping up

Weeds won’t take much time to choke out your propagated crops or vegetables on the lawn. However, treating weeds is typically an unending battle that will depend on humidity, timing, and temperature.

Sometimes it might not be easy to deal with the weeds, but they need to be eliminated within time.

Take necessary measures to keep your garden healthy and green throughout the season.

About Jennifer Igra

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York City known for it’s green gardens. Jennifer, a 30 year old gardener and green living fanatic started Igra World to share her gardening journey and increase gardening awareness among masses. Follow Igra World to improve your gardening skills.

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