Top 10 Weeds In Kansas City

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Weed control for dandelions

Kansas City is a beautiful place to live, but it can also be a bit of a jungle! There are all sorts of plants that call this area home, including some harmful weeds. Weeds of any kind will take over your lawn and yard, and they will deplete the natural resources in the soil. To prevent this, the team here at Heartland Turf & Landscape has compiled this list to help you identify and control weeds in your lawn before it's too late!

1) Annual Bluegrass

What does Bluegrass look like

We start the list with one of the most common grassy weeds in Kansas, or anywhere in the United States for that matter. It so closely resembles regular turfgrass (specifically, Kentucky bluegrass) that differentiating the two can often be a bit tricky. However, a careful eye will notice that the leaf blades of annual bluegrass are a slightly lighter shade of green than turfgrass, and they form a canoe-like shape at the tips. The most obvious identifier of annual bluegrass is its fuzzy, white seed heads. This weed has shallow roots that will have first access to nutrients in the soil before your turfgrass can absorb them. Overly moist soil is a common culprit of annual bluegrass.

What To Look For:

  • Lighter color than surrounding grass
  • Canoe-shaped tip
  • Bunch-type growth pattern
  • Fine, cotton-like seed head
  • Shallow roots

2) Annual Ryegrass

identifying annual ryegrass

Annual ryegrass is a very aggressive grassy weed that can easily out-compete grass in your lawn. It has flat, slender blades of rich green with slightly jagged edges and rolled tips. Annual ryegrass can also be identified by its sheath, which contains purplish hairs and curved appendages. This weed grows in thick clumps, and it’s often mistaken for desirable grass species. In warmer parts of the country, some people even choose to seed their lawns with annual ryegrass in winter for year-round grass, but annual ryegrass must be removed when other grass types are present in a lawn.

What To Look For:

  • Flat leaves with jagged edges
  • Rolled tips
  • Purplish hairs on the sheath
  • Prominent veins on blades
  • Thick clumps of growth

3) Crabgrass

crabgrass bunch growth

Crabgrass can look like regular grass at first glance, but a closer inspection will reveal some clear differences. It has flat, green blades that can get up to six inches long with slightly serrated edges. The leaf blades are often described as having a finger-like appearance. At the base of each plant, you will notice a red or pink hue that extends outward and low to the ground. This weed grows in bunches and is known to have strong roots.

What To Look For:

  • Flat and wide leaves
  • Long stems
  • Prostrate growth
  • Pinkish color at the base
  • Bunch-type growth pattern

4) Goosegrass

identifying goosegrass

Goosegrass is a grassy weed that can be easily distinguished from turfgrass by its unique growth pattern, but it will be slightly more difficult to differentiate this weed from crabgrass. Like crabgrass, it grows low and wide and prefers a struggling lawn. Unique characteristics of goosegrass include folded leaves, flat stems, and feather-like seed heads. When looking at the weed from above, a white center near that base will be your most obvious clue that you are dealing with goosegrass instead of the more common crabgrass.

What To Look For:

  • Folded leaves
  • Flat stems
  • Glossy sheen on leaves
  • Dense patch growth
  • Shallow roots

5) Creeping Bentgrass

creeping bentgrass weeds

This is another grassy weed that’s often mistaken for a desirable turf species. Creeping bentgrass is often used for specialty lawns or situations, such as seeding a golf course. However, this weed emerging in your lawn at home will wreak havoc on your healthy grass. Its bright green leaves have pointed tips and creases, making them appear slightly bent or folded when viewed from the side. This weed grows in both dense patches and thin strands, so it can be difficult to pull out manually. The "creeping" part of the name comes from the stolons that slowly creep outward to spread the growth of the weed.

What To Look For:

  • Pointed tip leaves
  • Creases that bend leaf blades
  • Growth in patches and thin strands
  • Low, outward growth
  • Fibrous, shallow root system

6) Dandelion

Dandelion overhead

Dandelions are one of the most recognizable broadleaf weeds in the world; after all, who hasn’t seen or played with their bright yellow flowers? The sun-like, yellow flower gives way to a delicate, cotton-like seed head as the plant matures. They are capable of growing up to 2 feet tall in ideal conditions. The leaves of the dandelion are long and famously serrated in a rosette pattern around the base of the plant. The low, outward growth of these serrated leaves is very recognizable when viewed from above.

What To Look For:

  • Bright yellow flowers
  • Fluffy seed head
  • Stems up to 2 feet tall
  • Serrated leaves
  • Deep central taproots

7) Chickweed

matted chickweed

Chickweed is a low-growing, weedy plant that spreads rapidly and easily chokes out desirable turf species. It has small, oval-shaped leaves with pointed tips and feathery white hairs at the base of each blade. This weed develops tiny, star-shaped flower petals that will serve as your clearest indicator of chickweed. It also produces tiny star-like flowers that are white in color. This weed will grow low to the ground and quickly become matted, tangled nightmare for homeowners.

What To Look For:

  • Small, oval-shaped leaves
  • Star-shaped flowers
  • Fine hairs on stem
  • Low, outward growth
  • Shallow, fibrous roots

8) Spotted Spurge

how to identify spurge

This weed spreads quickly and can easily choke out desirable grass species if it’s not controlled early on. This is a low-growing weed that spreads outward, and you can easily identify it by its heart-shaped leaves that feature reddish spots. Spotted spurge is a fierce weed that will mat together and become difficult to remove, and the plant even produces a milky sap that causes mild rashes and irritations if one comes into contact with it. Expect to find this nasty weed growing near flower beds and shrubbery.

What To Look For:

  • Heart-shaped leaves
  • Reddish-purple spot at base
  • Milky sap produced when broken
  • Low, outward growth
  • Thinner taproot

9) White Clover

how to spot white clover

White clover is a broadleaf weed that’s commonly found in turfgrass throughout Kansas City. It has 3 rounded leaflets that are usually bright green in color, which typically show off a faint white chevron shape (but not always). These leaves are accompanied by tiny white flowers as the plant matures. White clover can grow between 6 and 12 inches tall, but it is typically only 2-4 inches when found in residential lawns.

What To Look For:

  • Three rounded leaflets
  • Bright green color
  • Faint white chevron marking
  • Small white flowers
  • Occasional sweet smell

10) Violet

Violet weed control

Finally, we reach the end of our list with a weed you may even be enticed to let grow and add some color to your yard. There are different types of violets, but the common blue violet is likely the type you are used to seeing on your lawn. Purple to blue flowers sit above the heart-shaped leaves of this weed, and the flowers are often angled slightly downward. These perennial weeds reproduce through their underground runners, making them difficult to control once established. They also grow best in moist soil, so they’re more likely to appear in areas that are frequently watered. Though they are pretty to look at, these perennial weeds have resilient roots that will damage and invade existing root systems in your lawn’s soil.

What To Look For:

  • Purple or blue flowers
  • Flowers may be drooping
  • Heart-shaped leaves
  • Hairs low on the stems
  • Invasive underground rhizomes