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Common Winter Weeds That Affect Georgia Lawns

Weeds don’t stop invading your lawn just because the temperatures drop. Beginning their life cycle in late summer, these weeds grow in the winter and die in the late spring or early summer. They will compete with your grass for water, space, light and nutrients. In order to control these unwanted guests, you must first identify what types of weeds you have. Proper identification will ensure the correct control method is applied or performed at the optimum time. Here are a few of the most common winter annual weeds that affect Georgia lawns.

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)

This fast growing, bright green, winter annual is the most common grassy weed in the world. Growing up to 15 inches tall, it thrives in cooler weather. It’s pale, boat-shaped tipped leaves contain thousands of seeds, making its re-seeding rate extremely high. Usually found in Bermuda grass and bentgrass, annual bluegrass is the most problematic winter weed.

Common Chickweed (Stellaria media)

This invasive weed hosts insects and plant viruses. Growing anywhere from 2-8 inches, chickweed stems have a band of hairs along one side, smooth leaves, and small, white flowers. Fond of shaded areas, it spreads slowly in the winter and then quickly when grass seeds begin germinating.

Dandelion (Taraxacum) 

One of the most easily recognizable weeds, the dandelion’s bright yellow flower transforms into a white seed head, then spreads it’s seeds in windy conditions. Dandelion weeds have zig-zag leaves and a hollow flower stalk filled with a white sap.

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)

Growing to 12-16 inches, the broadleaf weed henbit is one of the most common winter annuals. It is easily spotted by its rounded, flat leaves, hairy stems, and tubular, purplish flowers that blossom in winter.

Speedwell (Veronica arvensis)

This low to the ground winter annual specifically targets newly seeded lawns and thin turf.

If you did not apply any pre-emergent weed control treatments in the fall to prevent these weeds from coming up, or didn’t get them all, you can still take action. After identifying each weed, research the best way to remove it without damaging your lawn. Each weed is different and requires individual treatment that should be applied during the most vulnerable point in a weed’s life cycle.

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