By: Jackie Carroll
Weeds are always a cause for frustration, but carpetweed in lawns and gardens can really be annoying. So exactly what is carpetweed and what can you do about it? Keep reading for more information and learn how to get rid of carpetweed in your lawn or garden.
Carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata) is a broadleaf annual weed commonly found in lawns and gardens. The plant forms a low-growing mat, and each plant can spread up to two feet. The prostrate branches lie close to the ground so that they are not affected by mowing.
You can achieve carpetweed control by pulling the weeds when the infestation is light and the area is small. Otherwise, use herbicides to eradicate the weed. Carpetweed spreads by dropping seeds onto the soil, so it is important to remove or kill the plants before the flowers bloom. The plants can root along the stems at any point where a node comes in contact with the soil.
Removing carpetweed plants manually is easiest when the soil is moist. Grasp the weed near the soil line and pull to get as much of the taproot as possible. A dandelion weeding tool will help you remove a larger portion of the taproot. Diligence is the key to controlling carpetweed by this method. You may have to pull the plants in an area several times before you fully eradicate the weed.
Carpetweed seeds germinate later than most annual weeds. If you use a combination fertilizer and pre-emergent herbicide, the herbicide may not be active when the carpetweed seeds germinate. Instead, choose an herbicide labeled for use against carpetweed and listed as safe to use with nearby plants. Read the label carefully, paying particular attention to instructions regarding timing, mixing and method of application. Store all herbicides in their original containers and out of the reach of children.
The best defense against carpetweed in lawns is a healthy, well-maintained turf. Choose a type of lawn grass that grows well in your area, and maintain it according to the needs of the specific type of grass.
Irrigate the lawn when there is less than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm.) of rain in a week and fertilize regularly. Mow the lawn to the recommended height, never removing more than 1/3 of the length of the blades at a time. If the soil is compacted, aerate in the fall. When the lawn is healthy, it can choke out the carpetweed, but a sickly lawn is easily overtaken by the weeds.
Treat the lawn with herbicides when the grass is actively growing whenever possible. This makes it easier for the lawn to quickly fill in bare spots left by the removal of the carpetweed, and the carpetweed will struggle to return.
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How to identify lawn weeds. This lawn weed identification guide includes images, common and scientific names and descriptions to help you with weed id.
The guide is divided into three weed groups - broadleaf lawn weeds, grass weeds, and grass-like weeds - and then into sub-groups based on the plant's life cycle.
Photos, names and short descriptions are included in this lawn weed identification guide - just follow the links to the individual weed pages where you will find more images, detailed descriptions for and weed control strategies.
Or. use the site search tool below to find weed information. Simply type the name of the weed and it will return all of the information found on this site.
For many New Englanders, gardening can rapidly change from a relaxing experience to a frustrating chore.
After planting lovely flowers and bushes, your neat arrangements can become surrounded by pesky garden weeds— in a matter of days!
Before you can keep the weeds away, it helps to know what exactly you’re up against. That’s why we put together a list of some of our region’s most common garden weeds, to help you identify which weeds are overtaking your garden.
Here are six of the biggest culprits for Massachusetts homeowners:
Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) is in the amaranth family, with other leafy greens found in salads, like chard and spinach. Fun fact: it’s edible, and tastes a lot like spinach!
The leaves of this garden weed often resemble its genus name’s Greek origin, “goosefoot,” in that they’re wide at the base and point out like the bird’s webbed feet. The tips jut out like teeth, in a triangular shape and can have a slightly bluish tint.
You can easily identify Lambsquarters by its dusty white coating beneath new leaves, but in some varieties, it’s magenta-colored instead. Tiny yellow flowers can bloom towards the tip of the plant over the summer and early fall. Discover tips for weed control here.
Foxtail weeds are easy to identify, by their fuzzy spikes of “flowers,” or bottlebrush seed stems. Setaria faberi’s furry caterpillar-like heads spread seeds in the breeze. Worse off, foxtail roots cause even more trouble: exuding a chemical that acts as an herbicide, weakening or killing nearby plants.
This common weed is known for forming colonies and adapts to many different kinds of soil and drought, which is why come late spring or early summer— they’re everywhere! Pre-emergent weed control often does the trick keeping these garden weeds away. Learn more about getting rid of Foxtail here.
Carpetweed is such a nuisance because it spreads out, well, like a carpet! Its smooth leaves connect with long horizontal stems, hugging the ground to form a mat of green. It’s important to spot these weeds in the garden before they start to spread, or else they can completely cover your mulch or line your beds, in just a few days.
This common weeds is known for tiny pops of white flowers, which bloom mid-to-late summer. But the flora is so small, it hardly detracts from the plant itself— and it still clearly resembles a weed. Here are some tips for getting rid of Carpetweed from Gardening Know How.
Shepherd’s Purse is a member of the broad-leaf mustard weed family— and is one of the most common weeds in the world. In fact, Capsella bursa-pastoris got its common name of “Shepherd’s Purse” in Europe and Asia Minor, where it first originated, because of the way the shape of its heart-shaped seed pods resembled the little leather pouches carried by local shepherds.
This weed is often confused with the Broadleaf Plantain because of its leaf shape, however, the biggest difference is Shepherd’s flowering. In late winter or early spring, flower stalks can shoot up from this garden weed, producing tiny white flowers, often with pale pink hues.
The stalks and flowers are so small, however, and the weed so commonly spreads in random patches, that the floral doesn’t blend in well with some gardens— and is best removed. Here’s how to do it.
Some homeowners make the mistake of believing crabgrass only grows amongst other grass, but this pesky weed’s seeds blow into mulch beds often. Because crabgrass is so aggressive, it can spread easily to any part of your landscape.
This common garden weed grows quickly in both hot and dry conditions and isn’t too hard to spot and treat. Check out our article all about identifying and treating crabgrass.
Crabgrass isn’t the only lawn weed that can spread into your garden. Many turf invaders find themselves creeping into your mulch beds too, carried by winds, animals or surviving in your compost.
Read our other post, The Most Common Northeastern Lawn Weeds & How to Combat Them, to identify others and get advice on treating them, like a professional.
Weeds can spread like wildfire here in Massachusetts, with our generous rainfall and moderate temperatures.
The key to preventing common weeds from consuming your garden is treating your beds early, with preventative formulas. Our team can treat both your turf and garden areas, to ward off weeds, grubs, and even pesky insects. We even offer organic or safe options for your vegetable gardens!
Healthy plant life naturally grows big and strong, pushing out puny weeds. Composting can certainly help, but proper fertilization can really do wonders.
Download our free Fertilization ebook to learn how to nourish your garden beds yourself, so they have the strength to naturally combat weed overgrowth.
Whether simple or complex, perennial weeds manage to live for more than two years by a number of means. Taproots, stolons, rhizomes and the like make them the hardest to control. East Tennessee gardeners who have battled wild onions, dandelions, clover, ivy, curly dock, buttonweed, and wild violets know this well. Like other perennial plants, they go dormant during winter months, but emerge again when conditions are right. A combination of systemic, selective post-emergent herbicides and good lawn fertilization is the best control.
Ajuga pyramidalis is a perennial plant from the Lamiaceae (mint family). It is ground cover with year-round interest that forms by spreading from short rhizomes up to 12 inches. The pale blue-violet, spiked inflorescence blooms May to June. The flowers may be mowed or weedwacked off when blooms are finished to help enhance the foliage appearance. Mass plant it in a border front, foundation plant, entryway, container, or use it as an edging or in a rock garden. Propagate it by removing daughter plants or by crown division. The stems are rooted shallowly in the first year of growth and are easily removed but if left to grow it can spread into surrounding planting beds and lawns and become quite dense and difficult to move. This plant is resistant to browsing by deer and rabbits and can be planted near black walnut trees.
In Latin Ajuga means as "without yoke and reptans means "creeping", which refers to the plant's spreading runners.
Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Crown rot in very wet conditions or dieback under prolonged extremely dry conditions. It slowly invades other planting sites through its rooting runners.
See this plant in the following landscape: Cultivars / Varieties:
Because broadleaf weeds are so tenacious and come in many different varieties, there are several ways to get rid of the broadleaf weeds in your lawn. Whether it’s stopping perennial weeds in their tracks or preventing summer annuals from sprouting, there is a broadleaf weed control method for every type you encounter.
If you have noticed a few weeds appearing in your lawn, at seams in the pavement, and in your flowerbeds, the best broadleaf weed killer may be a spot-treatment spray. These sprays are meant to kill weeds within a few weeks following application. As with any herbicide, be careful to make sure garden plants are not exposed to the herbicide, as it may damage or kill desirable plants as well.
If, on the other hand, your lawn is being overtaken by a mass of clover, or if wild violets are distributed among your grass, a large-scale broadleaf weed killer for lawns is what you need. The following tips are focused on ridding any size lawn of broadleaf weeds.
The three best herbicides for broadleaf control are:
By choosing a herbicide with two or three of these ingredients, you will control a broader spectrum of broadleaf weed species. If the herbicide you choose contains only one of these ingredients, it may not kill all broadleaf weeds.
When applying broadleaf herbicide for lawns, the best time to do so is in the fall. Apply herbicide between mid-September and early-November. This is when perennial weeds such as dandelions gather the nutrients they need to survive their period of winter dormancy. By applying herbicide in fall, you ensure the weeds absorb the herbicide in the soil, destroying them at the root.
The second-best time to apply herbicides is just when weeds begin to flower, typically between late-May through late-June. Weeds are generally more vulnerable at this point in their life cycle and herbicide is more likely to kill broadleaf weeds.
Summer annual weeds such as chickweed and purslane are very difficult to control because different species sprout at different times in spring and summer. Many annual broadleaf weeds mature very quickly. While an application of traditional broadleaf herbicide in late-May might control some of these weeds, any plants that have not sprouted will remain unaffected.
The best broadleaf weed killer for annual weeds is to apply a pre-emergent herbicide containing isoxaben in April. This herbicide will prevent broadleaf seeds from germinating, preventing the need for their removal, and keeping your lawn weed-free all summer.
Some things to keep in mind when using pre-emergent herbicides:
Herbicides do their best work when they:
To ensure the broadleaf killers you apply to your lawn do their best work, apply herbicide on a damp morning. Alternatively, lightly water your lawn before application. This will cause herbicides to cling to weeds and draw the weed killer into the soil to attack root systems.
If you want to avoid using chemicals when treating your lawn for weeds, consider spot-treating weeds with a mix containing vinegar and dish soap, or one of several organic weed killers on the market. One thing to note with any weed killer containing vinegar or any organic “Weed and Grass” killers is that they will kill any and all plants, including desirable grass.
There are several natural selective weed killers on the market, such as iron-based broadleaf herbicides including Fiesta and Iron-X. Additionally, A.D.I.O.S. is a selective broadleaf killer that attacks weed root systems. Each of these natural options will help rid your lawn of any emergent weeds.
A single female pigweed plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds if allowed to bloom. These seeds can lie dormant in the soil, only to sprout the following spring, turning your yard into a weed-infested landscape.
An effective broadleaf weed killer is to make sure the plants do not flower. Mow flowering weeds in your yard, such as dandelions and wild violets before they seed. When it comes to weeds that appear in flowerbeds, such as thistles and chickweed, remove the weeds by digging or through the use of a string trimmer. If you prevent broadleaf weeds from flowering, you stop next year’s invasion before it begins.
Broadleaf weeds are tenacious. To keep your lawn weed-free, bag, and trash weeds that have been pulled. If you plan to use the weeds for compost, bury them at least one foot deep in any compost pile to ensure the weeds decompose.
The reason it is important to get rid of weeds is due to the fact any flowering weeds may still release seeds after they are killed or pulled from the soil.
One of the best ways to keep your lawn broadleaf-free is to ensure your lawn’s health. A thick, well-groomed lawn with healthy grasses presents fewer opportunities for weeds to sprout. Bare patches and sickly grass are easy prey for broadleaf invaders.
By fertilizing your lawn, or using a Weed & Feed product in spring and fall, you promote lawn health and keep weeds out. When mowing use a moderate-to-high mowing height to ensure the best health of your grass. Mowing at a low height will allow more light to reach low-growing weed species such as clover, encouraging them to take over your yard.