A Homeowner's Guide To Lawn Weeds In Kansas City

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Having a beautiful lawn is one of the joys of being a homeowner in Kansas City. But, for some homeowners, keeping a lawn looking its best can be a struggle due to pesky weeds. Weeds are plants that have adapted to grow and thrive in unfavorable conditions. Unlike other plants, they are unwelcome visitors that you will want to prevent at all costs! This guide will cover how to properly identify and prevent weeds so you can have the best looking lawn in Kansas City!

What Are Lawn Weeds?

dollarweed roots and stems

Weeds are defined as any unwanted plants that grow in your yard and gardens, but for the purposes of this post, we are going to focus mainly on weeds that sprout up in your lawn. These weeds are more aggressive than healthy turfgrass, meaning they can easily outcompete your lawn for resources like water and nutrients, making it difficult for your grass and other plants in the yard to survive. Weeds are often unsightly and destroy your lawn's curb appeal and uniformity. Worst of all, lawn weeds can and will reduce the overall health of your lawn by depleting and stressing your turf or allowing diseases and pests to take hold as your lawn becomes weaker.

What Do Lawn Weeds Look Like?

How to identify crabgrass (1)

Just as there are many types of grass or plants you could have in and around your lawn, there are many different species and types of weeds that could find their way onto your property, which is why knowing how to properly identify them is so crucial. Weeds come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, depending on the type and specific species of weed. Thankfully there are some tell-tale signs you can look out for to help you differentiate unwanted weeds from your desired grass or plants.

Key Characteristics:

  • Brighter or different-colored leaves than surrounding grass
  • Differently shaped leaves than grass (rolled, pointed, etc.)
  • Taller growth than the rest of your lawn
  • Rapid growth compared to other plants in the vicinity
  • Flowers or seed heads growing at times when they shouldn't
  • Flowering petals with brighter colors or unusual patterns
  • Invasive roots that are shallow or deep and complex
  • An occasional odor emanating from certain weeds

Types Of Lawn Weeds

Researchers believe there to be approximately 8,000 different species of weeds across the world. Fortunately, the amount and types of weeds that are likely to appear in your Kansas City lawn are not nearly as intimidating. The lawn weeds you will encounter on your property will either be grassy weeds or broadleaf weeds. Weeds in one of these categories have distinctive characteristics from the weeds in the other. Let's take a closer look at each category so you can stay educated and ready to defend your lawn against these weeds!

Grassy Weeds

identifying annual ryegrass

These types of weeds are the most difficult to identify in a lawn because they masquerade as healthy turfgrass. They often share many characteristics with turfgrass, but they do not produce the same quality lawn that healthy turfgrasses produce. In fact, the invasive roots of grassy weeds often overtake healthy root systems in the soil, which will cause your lawn to be filled with harmful and undesirable weeds. If you see patches of sudden and quick grass growth that is taller than the surrounding grass, you likely have a grassy weed problem.

Common Grassy Weeds In Kansas City:

  • Annual Bluegrass
  • Annual Ryegrass
  • Crabgrass
  • Goosegrass
  • Creeping Bentgrass

Broadleaf Weeds

how to spot white clover

Broadleaf weeds are identifiable by their famously thick and wide leaves (hence the name) that vary in color from the surrounding plants in your yard. These weeds may produce a single flower or cluster of flowers. Broadleaf weeds can grow annually, biennially, or perennially, making their growth and control needs difficult to predict. These weeds are known to multiply quickly, utilizing a mixture of both rhizomes and stolons to sprout new plants, as well as dispersing seeds. Weeds in these categories tend to have deeper roots in the form of a central taproot, fibrous roots, or a combination of both.

Common Broadleaf Weeds In Kansas City:

  • Dandelion
  • Chickweed
  • Spotted Spurge
  • White Clover
  • Violet

Where Do Weeds Come From?

crabgrass seedhead (2)

Lawn weeds are caused by a variety of factors that include poor soil quality, improper mowing and fertilizing, too much or too little water, and many other factors. Weeds are able to quickly spread and take over your lawn because they are able to spread their invasive roots in many conditions that do not support healthy plant life. Aside from the issues in your lawn that may welcome harmful weeds, these pesky intruders can find their way onto your property from miles away! When a mature weed sets seeds (typically in spring or fall), those seeds can travel long distances on air currents and find a way into your soil. Once germinated and established, even a single weed can litter your lawn with seedlings and new weed plants in no time. Be mindful of the following causes of weeds in order to better protect your lawn:

  • Poor Drainage: Poor soil drainage and low fertility create an ideal environment for weeds to grow, as many types thrive in overly moist soil.
  • Overwatering: Too much water can create a soggy environment, which encourages weed seeds to germinate. 
  • Inadequate Mowing: Mowing too low or infrequently can weaken grasses, allowing weeds to take hold.
  • Improper Fertilization: Fertilizer helps to promote healthy grass growth, but too much or not enough nitrogen is an open invitation for weeds to invade.
  • Excess Sunlight: Some sunlight is necessary for all plants, but too much sun exposure can weaken turfgrass and leave it vulnerable to weeds.
  • Soil Compaction: Compacted soils have less oxygen and nutrients available for roots, which favors the shallow roots of many weeds.

Preventing Lawn Weeds In Kansas City

Heart Lawn

The best way to keep weeds from taking over your lawn is by having well-maintained turf that is strong enough to fight off any weed invasions. To achieve this goal, you should focus on building healthy soils full of organic matter and fertilizer (without too much nitrogen), aerating your soil regularly, improving drainage around your home, fertilizing at the correct time of year, and more. Our posts on preventing grassy weeds and preventing broadleaf weeds are a great place to start for weed prevention, or you could always give Heartland a call at (913) 238-9278 for the best weed control services in Kansas City!