Weed Identification

Weeds are problematic in our landscapes due to the fact they are aesthetically unpleasing and compete with desirable plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight. This is a quick guide to help identify and control many of the most common weeds found throughout the state. While this is not a complete guide that covers all weeds, it addresses the major weeds that cause problems in South Carolina landscapes.

Types of Weeds

Most weeds fall into one of two categories either annual or perennial. Annual weeds complete their life cycle in one season. At the end of the growing season, annual weeds produce seeds to ensure future weed populations. Because most annual weeds start from seed, pre-emergent herbicides are usually the best means of controlling them by inhibiting their germination.

There are both cool-season and warm-season annual weeds. Cool-season weeds begin to germinate when soil temperatures fall below 55 degrees F (Fall) and complete their life cycle in the springtime when warmer weather begins. Warm-season annual weeds begin to germinate when soil temperatures rise above 55 degrees F (Spring) and complete their life cycle when cool weather begins.

Perennial weeds once established in the landscape will survive for many growing seasons. These types of weeds can reproduce through several different means including seed and underground structures. The most effective way to deal with perennial weeds is through the use of post-emergent herbicides.

The two other categories that weeds fall under are broadleaf and grassy. Broadleaf weeds come in many shapes and sizes with various patterns to their leaves. Just as the name implies, broadleaf weeds are generally more wide than long. Grassy weeds tend to be narrower and longer, similar to the grass in your lawn. It is important for you to make the distinction between these two classifications, in order to select the proper herbicide for their control. As a general rule, most grassy weed herbicides will not control broadleaf weeds and vice versa.

Grassy Weeds & Sedges

Star-of-Bethlehem

Ornithogalum umbellatum

Thin Paspalum (Bull)

Paspalum setaceum

Torpedograss

Panicum repens

Yellow Nutsedge

Cyperus esculentus

Alexandergrass (Creeping Signalgrass)

Brachiaria plantaginea

Annual Bluegrass

Poa annua

Annual Sedge

Cyperus compressus

Bahiagrass

Paspalum notatum

Broadleaf Panicum

Panicum adspersum

Broadleaf Signalgrass

Brachiaria platyphylla

Bull Paspalum

Paspalum setaceum

Carpetgrass

Axonopus affinis

Crabgrass, Large

Digitaria sanguinalis

Crabgrass, Smooth

Digitaria ischaemum

Dallisgrass

Paspalum dilatatum

Doveweed

Murdannia nudiflora

Globe Sedge

Cyperus globulosus

Goosegrass

Eleusine indica

Little Barley

Hordeum pusillum

Purple Nutsedge

Cyperus rotundus

Smutgrass

Sporobolus indicus

Southern Sandbur (Sandspur)

Cenchrus echinatus

Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass

Poa annua

alexandergrass

Alexandergrass

Brachiaria plantaginea

Foxtail barley (dummy)

Hordeum jubatum

Broadleaf Weeds

Knawel

Scleranthus annuus

Lawn Burweed (Spurweed)

Soliva pterosperma

Mugwort

Artemisia vulgaris

Parsley-piert

Alchemilla arvensis

Purple Deadnettle

Lamium purpureum

Shepherdspurse

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Shiny Cudweed

Gnaphalium spicatum

Spiny Sowthistle

Sonchus asper

Spotted Spurge

Chamaesyce maculata

Swinecress

Coronopus didymus

Violet

Viola spp.

Virginia Buttonweed

Diodia virginiana

Virginia Pepperweed

Lepidium virginicum

White Clover

Trifolium repens

Wild Garlic

Allium vineale

Wild Onion

Allium canadense

Horsenettle

Solanum carolinense

Horseweed

Conyza canadensis

Indian Mockstrawberry

Duchesnea indica

Black Medic

Medicago lupulina

Buckhorn Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

Carolina Geranium

Geranium carolinianum

Carpetweed

Mollugo verticillata

Chamberbitter

Phyllanthus urinaria

Common Chickweed

Stellaria media

Common Lespedeza

Lespedeza striata

Common Venuslookingglass

Triodani perfoliata

Common Vetch

Vicia sativa

Curly Dock

Rumex crispus

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

Dichondra

Dichondra carolinensis

Dogfennel

Eupatorium capillifolium

Dollarweed (Pennywort)

Hydrocotyle spp.

Eclipta

Eclipta prostrata

Florida Betony

Stachys floridana

Florida Pusley

Richardia scabra

Ground Ivy

Glechoma hederacea

Hairy Bittercress

Cardamine hirsuta

Henbit

Lamium amplexicaule

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