August 3, 2020
weeds that look like grass

In This Article, we'll discuss 7 Common Weeds that Look Like Grass! Be fooled no more with this detailed guide!

The evergoing fight against the weeds is probably the most annoying and time-consuming part of taking care of your lawn. Still, it's the job that needs to be done if you want your yard to have a pristine and healthy look. Weeds suppress and inhibit grass growth and make the turf look patchy and unkempt. Furthermore, weed-infested lawn paints a poor picture of you as a responsible homeowner.

Of course, there are numerous ways to fight this menace, but they all start with identifying the weeds occupying your property. Proper identification of the threat allows you to select the right course of action against it.

You can always launch a full-scale attack with broad-spectrum chemicals, but this can often cause more harm than good since it can also damage the grass you so industriously nurture.

Different weeds react differently to chemicals, and some are even resistant to most herbicides. Certain kinds can be dealt with in a fully natural way without employing dangerous materials.

7 Common Weeds that Look Like Grass

Some types of weeds can be spotted and identified with just a quick glance over your property.

Broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion or clover, are distinctive and easily visible even to an untrained eye. 

With grassy weeds, such as crabgrass, wild garlic, or nutsedge, situations are a bit different. They look similar to the grass, blend into the lawn, and do their damage under camouflage.

Properly recognizing and dealing with them can be crucial for the well-being of your lawn. To simplify the task of identifying them, here's a list of the most common grassy weeds you may find yourself up against.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass

A summer-loving weed, crabgrass grows best in the warm weather when it faces little competition from desirable grasses. It's one of the most common, and also most invasive and aggressive types of weed.

It particularly likes thinner soil areas, near the sidewalks or driveways. It's remarkably similar to natural grass so it can be difficult to distinguish. It has a bit lighter green color compared to the rest of your lawn, although it gets darker as it grows. Its leaves are somewhat wider than grass blades and it grows in chunks closer to the ground with its stems going sideways rather than upward. Much like the crab's legs, hence the name.

Important Things to Know about Crabgrass:

  • Crabgrass is an annual weed, so its life-span is only a season, but it spreads like a wildfire. 
  • For that reason, it's essential that you act quickly.
  • If you spot it on time, before germination, the best thing to do is apply pre-emergent herbicide and prevent further spreading.
  • The best time to do it early spring before the soil starts heating up.
  • If you miss this window, your best option is to roll up your sleeves and manually pull it out.

Most of the chemicals that will kill Crabgrass will also harm other grass on the lawn, so that's not really a desired course of action. Remember that Crabgrass enjoys poor and barren ground, so keeping your lawn thick and healthy is an efficient way to prevent them from appearing in the first place.

Nutsedge

Nutsedge

Having a Nutsedge in your awn can be extremely frustrating due to its stubbornness and ability to spread quickly and in various ways.

It prefers wet areas, so if your lawn doesn't have the best drainage or you water it too much, it becomes a perfect home to nutsedge. It's very difficult to recognize. especially in the early stages of growth. Once it develops, you can identify it by the long, thin stems growing out horizontally and yellowish to light brown spikelets.

Important Things to Know about Nutsedge

  • Both a Perennial weed and with the hard root system, Nutsedge is very difficult to get rid of. 
  • It spreads through the seed in the air, as well as by underground runners (rhizomes). These rhizomes are the main reason why you shouldn't fight it by pulling it out since they stay behind and eventually start sprouting again.
  • Mulching regularly, proper watering, and keeping a thick lawn is the best prevention against it. By doing this, a Nutsedge gets overcrowded by the other grass and doesn't get a chance to root and develop rhizomes.

Once they gain a foothold in your lawn the only alternative you're left with is the use of specific post-emergence herbicides.

Green Foxtail

Green Foxtail

Foxtail gets its name from its large hairy-looking seed heads that look similar to the actual foxtail. It grows in tufts and has a bright green, natural color. Its blades are soft, flat and get narrower towards the base. Although they prefer warmer soil, Green Foxtail is not too picky when it comes to germinating period. they can do it at any point during the season.

Important Things to Know about Green Foxtail:

  • Green Foxtail only lives for a year and controlling them is not much of a problem since they lack the complex root structures we see at some other weed types. Still, they produce an enormous amount of seeds and can spread very quickly. 
  • As with many other weeds, Foxtail's greatest enemy is a dense and healthy lawn. Consistent watering and mowing along with some manual pulling should do the trick. 
  • For complete eradication, you can use selective herbicides.

Wild Garlic/Onion

Wild Garlic

The most distinctive feature of Wild Onion and Wild Garlic is their odor which is pretty much similar to the smell of their cultured cousins. So, if you get close enough, you'll probably have no problem identifying them.

If you look from afar you may notice them because of their height which surpasses the height of the other grass due to their fast growth. When it comes to the difference between the two of them, Wild Garlic has round leaves while the Wild Onion's leaves are flat. They usually grow in clumps and their preferred spot is near flower beds or similar areas that are hard to reach with the lawn mower.

While they are edible and can make a spicy addition to your meal, you still don't want these weeds overflowing your lawn.

Getting rid of them is not exactly easy. Here's what you need to know:

  • Mowing won't hurt them much, though it may weaken them and prevent form seeding.
  • Pulling them out is efficient, but you need to do it in the right way. Since they grow in bulbs and break apart easily, pulling them out by just using your hand will most likely leave the roots behind.
  • Your best bet is to use a small shovel and remove the whole clump.

If you're not dead-set on using natural methods, you can try some weed control chemical treatments.

There are no pre-emergent herbicides for these weeds, so you'll have to use post-emergence ones that are specifically intended for them.

Their leaves are thin and waxy, so it's difficult for just any herbicide to stick to them and penetrate inside the plant.

Slender Rush

Slender Rush

Rushes are usually associated with moist and dump ground, but this particular type, Slender rush, manages to proper in almost any kind of soil.

If you don't keep it under control, it can grow to be extremely tall, up to 24 inches. Not the sight you want to see in your garden or lawn.

Its stems are proud and very thin and always erect. Leaves are similar to the grass, narrow and rolled inward.

Due to its adaptability, Slender Rush is very invasive and can easily take over a big part of your lawn. It has a complex and developed root structure and propagates through rhizomes as well as airborne seeds, making it difficult to eradicate.

Here's how to get rid of em:

  • Due to their deeply placed roots and rhizome propagation, herbicides won't be of much help in dealing with Slender Rush.
  • Good ol' hand pulling is much more effective here, Just be careful and thorough and pull out the whole plant together with its roots.
  • Regular mowing and proper watering are both also recommended.

Quackgrass

QuackGrass

Also known as the Creeping Grass, Quackgrass is another stubborn and undesirable lawn weed. It's comfortable both in the sun and in the shade and can thrive in various soil conditions.

Quackgrass can grow up to 3 feet high and a couple of feet high. Its flat and pointed blades are very similar to the grass and flowers resemble the wheat.

It mainly propagates through underground tubers, but also through seed and rhizomes to some extent. So, even if you don't see it, Quackgrass may still be reproducing.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Due to its way of reproduction, the best course of action in fighting Quackgrass is manual removal.
  • Dig them out carefully from beneath, and make sure to pick up any remaining root pieces that you can.
  • Between the digging sessions, you can apply some organic herbicide containing acetic acid.
  • Mulching your lawn will reduce seed germination to some extent and regular mowing will reduce reseeding.

Annual Bluegrass

Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass is one of the most commonly seen types of weed in the U.S. and also one of the most problematic. It enjoys cold and moist weather and looks for shady and wet locations. It's leaves have a boet-like shape curving up similar to the bow of a boat. Even though it's sometimes sold as cultured turf grass, this type of weed, if not kept under control, can quickly take over the whole lawn.

Here's what you're here to know:

  • Even though it's, as its name says, an annual plant, bluegrass produce tons of seeds that thrive under the right conditions which can make it hard to control.
  • It can adapt to numerous mowing heights, rendering your lawn mower useless.
  • Pre-emergent herbicides and moderate watering are probably the best way to suppress bluegrass development.

Daniel Simmons

About the author

TheLawnMowingKing.com brings my 25 years experience as a professional gardener and landscaper to you!

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