We all know the chameleon is the king of camouflages, but what you may not know is that certain weeds that look like grass have mastered the art of camouflaging to stay hidden in your lawn without you noticing.
These weed types will look almost like grass that you’ll need an extra pair of eyes to notice them. They are usually called grassy weeds.
Having the common dandelion weed in your lawn is one thing; you can easily identify and tackle this weed before it destroys your lawn. But when it comes to grassy weeds, you probably won’t know they’re there till they’ve caused significant damage in your garden.
This is a big problem most gardeners face, and that is why I’ve come up with this article. To show you the common grassy weeds probably already growing in your lawn and ways to identify them. I’ll also give you a few tips to tackle these weeds and set your garden free.
Without further ado, here’s what we’re talking about.
Common Weeds That Look Like Grass
Perhaps the most common weeds that look like grass out there, crabgrass is an annual weed that reproduces by seed.
Even though crabgrass is an annual weed, it is quite problematic. It will continue to grow yearly till you do something about it. How do you do something about a weed if you cannot identify it?
How to identify: its leaf blades are typically longer than your grass. When matured, its blades spread, and its stems will form a star shape low on the ground.
How to control: the best way to tackle crabgrass is using pre-emergent herbicides before it sprouts. Once it has sprouted, you can use post-emergent herbicides or pull them off the ground by hand. Here is a more comprehensive guide to tackling crabgrass.
Annual Bluegrass (Poa Annua)
This is another annual weed that look like grass that hides in plain sight. This is an invasive weed that is used as a lawn and golf course grass in some areas. It is a cool-season weed that grows best when the weather is cool and conditions moist.
It can also grow under shades.
How to identify: because this weed is used as a lawn grass in some climes, it is quite challenging to differentiate it from its texture. It does have a lighter color, and the tip of its leaves curve up like the bow of a ship.
How to control: pre-emergent herbicides work best here when applied in the fall before the weed sprouts in spring. For already existing annual bluegrass weed, foramsulfuron will kill this weed and be safely used on lawn grasses.
This perennial grassy weed is of two types; the yellow and purple nutsedge. It loves to grow in extremely wet areas. Nutsedge will look like nothing more than tall grass before it matures. This is a reason it is hardly noticeable on your lawn.
Nutsedge spreads by rhizomes and by seeds that can be carried airborne. So it is possible to get this weed from your neighbor’s yard.
How to identify: nutsedge has long and narrow leaves and flowers that look like a brush. They can be yellow mid-summer and purple in late summer.
How to control: to control the nutsedge is quite tricky as its seeds are airborne and transferred from your neighbor’s yard to yours. It also has a tough root system. Do not try to pull it off the ground. Apply herbicides at the base of the plant to kill the whole plant. Grow a thick lawn by overseeding thin areas to prevent nutsedge from sprouting.
Smooth bromegrass is an invasive hardy perennial that has adapted enough to even survive in colder regions. Just like nutsedge, it spreads by rhizomes. This makes its spread quick and difficult to control.
Bromegrass is not all trouble though, it serves as fodder for livestock, and its tough root system may be what you need to stop that erosion.
How to identify: it has long blades 4 to 12 cm wide and a sharp and flat tip. It has a narrow collar separated by a mid-rib.
How to control: apply grassy weed herbicides. You can also mow it low and choke it out by overseeding thin areas of your lawn.
This cool-season weed loves wet areas and will typically dry up, turning brown once the weather gets too hot.
How to identify: it is bright green and fine-textured. It has narrow and flat leaves that are rolled in the bud. It grows close to the ground and has shallow roots.
How to control: mesotrione is an effective creeping bentgrass herbicide.
Green foxtail is a common weed that look like grass which is not limited by seasons as it can germinate any time as long as its growing conditions are met. It loves wet and warm soil, and it produces hundreds of seeds. The wind can spread these seeds.
How to identify: it has a foxtail-like head growing on a grass-like stalk. It can be as short as 10cm and as tall as 100cm. The seed head is usually green or purple.
How to control: foxtail is difficult to control once established. Hence, the best way to control it is by using pre-emergent herbicides in spring before it sprouts. You can also use post-emergent herbicides after it has sprouted. Another effective method of controlling green foxtail is by crowding it out. Do this by overseeding your lawn.
Broomsedge is a warm-season perennial that loves to grow in sunny areas. It thrives in soil with low fertility and low pH. It loves to grow upright in small bunches.
During its peak growing period in the summer, its leaves are green but soon turn orange in fall.
How to identify: it has green leaves during the summer and orange leaves during the fall. It grows upright, and you’ll usually find them growing in small narrow bunches.
How to control: because it is a grass, herbicides will hardly affect it. Use vinegar to spot treat this weed: increase soil fertility and pH by fertilization and liming.
It is called goosegrass because of the two 10 finger-like strands that look like a goose’s foot. It grows by spreading its stems away from the center but can also grow upright. It grows best in poorly drained compacted soil.
How to identify: it is a silvery-green grass, and its flowerheads have two strands with 5 finger-like straws each.
How to control: aerate the soil to loosen it up. Use a combination of benefin and trifluralin as pre-emergent herbicides, while mesotrione works well as a post-emergent herbicide.
Weeds that look like grass are deceptive in looks and need certain herbicides as the common broadleaf herbicides hardly affect them. The first step to tackling this problem is identifying them on your lawn.