Green Team Blog

5 Most Common Lawn Weeds in Northern Michigan and How to Battle Them

You know the feeling: you spend hours tending to your garden and lawn, only to discover unwelcome invaders popping up everywhere, seemingly overnight.

Weeds growing your lawn and landscape beds are frustrating for a variety of reasons. They make your landscape look ugly and neglected, and they can be hard to identify and even harder to get rid of.

After years of battling weeds, killing them for good can feel like an impossible task. However, with the right approach, you can win the battle against weeds once and for all.

Let’s look at why weeds take over your lawn in the first place, the five most common weeds here in Northern Michigan, and how to get rid of them for good.

Why Weeds Take Hold in Your Turf

Unfortunately, several factors work together to provide the perfect breeding ground for weeds in your landscape. Our fluctuating climate of harsh winters and warm summers creates conditions conducive to weed growth. Many homes are near forests or unmaintained landscapes, which allows weeds to spread into your turf effectively as well. A thin or patchy lawn invites weeds in as well, as some weed species are particularly great at adapting to our local environment and can outcompete your grass.

lawn care expert inspects grass with homeowner

The 5 Most Common Lawn Weeds in Traverse City

dandelion in grass

1. Dandelion

Everyone knows this popular weed by its’ bright yellow flowers. Dandelions are perennial weeds, meaning they come back year after year. They flower in the Spring months and then transition to spreading seeds in the summer months—you know those lovely white puffy balls your kids love to blow all over your beautiful lawn!

While early Spring is when Dandelions put on their show, it is not the best time to battle them. When a dandelion is flowering it really isn’t taking in any nutrients and doesn’t absorb any herbicide that kills it. It is best to wait until Fall to spray dandelions because it is difficult to catch them in the window before they go to seed.

2. Crabgrass

Crabgrass is infamous as one of the most difficult to control weeds. It is considered a grassy weed and a summer annual. It is called a grassy weed because it looks similar to grass with blades that radiate outward from the stem. The blades are usually wider than those of regular grass and have a light green color. When it sprawls it resembles the legs of a crab!

To control a summer annual, you must apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the Spring to stop the seeds from germinating. Some post-emergent options are available, but they simply do not work as well as preventing it from germinating in the first place.

crabgrass in lawn
clover in grass

3. Clover

Clover is another perennial weed that flowers in the Spring, produces seed in the summer, goes dormant in the winter and repeats this process year after year. It has small heart shaped leaves and flowers that range in color, as there are many varieties of clover that thrive in Northern Michigan.

Clover can be difficult to control because it has a deep root system and is best controlled in the fall months as well with common herbicide sprays.

4. Chickweed

Chickweed is considered a winter annual, which means it flowers in the Spring months but dies off in the summer. In order for it to grow again, a new plant has to start with a seed. Chickweed has small green leaves and grows in a matted pattern. It has small white flowers with elongated petals and the leaves are egg-shaped with pointy tips.

Pre-emergent herbicides are best to control winter annuals and should be applied in the fall months.

chickweed in grass
broadleaf plantain in grass

5. Broadleaf Plantain

Just like Dandelion and Clover, Broadleaf Plantain weeds are perennials. This weed has large oval shaped leaves and upright green stems that produce whitish flowers. When you break the large stemmed leaves off, the stems reveal string-like veins like you find when you break celery.

Broadleaf Plantain ‘flower’ in the Srping months, go to seed during the summer, and then go dormant for the winter. Again, it is best to spray perennial weeds in the fall months here in Northern Michigan.

How to Battle Weeds in Grand Traverse and Leelanau County, MI

The best way to win the war against weeds in Northern Michigan is to maintain a healthy, thick turf.  This means regular lawn care like fertilization applications, proper mowing techniques, hydretain applications and aeration/overseeding when necessary. Proper lawn care techniques like these listed above discourage weed growth and turf disease.

In addition to a healthy turf, applying the right herbicides at the right times can help address a weed issue that has already taken hold in your lawn.

Hiring a Professional to Help with Weed Control

The pesky invaders known as weeds seem to have a knack for appearing out of nowhere, disrupting the beauty of our carefully nurtured landscapes and making us scratch our heads in confusion over how to deal with them. Yet, when armed with knowledge about why weeds thrive in our region and equipped with tips on how to tackle the most common offenders, we’re better equipped to face the challenge head on.

Still, let’s face it—beating weeds for good can sometimes feel like an impossible task, especially when the stubbornly refuse to budget. That’s where the pros come in. By enlisting the help of professional lawn care technicians, you can tap into their expertise and specialized tools to finally gain the upper hand in the battle against weeds. It’s time to get outside and enjoy the summer months instead of wasting hours battling weeds.

Ready to call in the Green Team to help you win the battle against weeds for good? Fill out our contact form today!

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