Common Types of Weeds

Weeds are pesky plants that can be difficult to get rid of. They seem to grow everywhere, and they can quickly take over your garden or lawn. If you’re having trouble getting rid of the weeds in your yard, then you need to learn about the different types of weeds that exist.

Weeds always seem to pop up when you least expect them to. It’s important to be mindful of what weeds are, how to stop them from spreading, and where they can grow. This article will give you a detailed look at various types of weeds so that you know what to look out for and how to get rid of them.

What are weeds?

Weeds are plants that grow in areas where they’re not wanted. They can quickly take over gardens, lawns, and other outdoor spaces. Weeds can be difficult to get rid of because they often have a strong root system that allows them to thrive in tough conditions.

There are many types of weeds, and each one has its own unique characteristics. Some weeds spread rapidly, while others are more difficult to eradicate. It’s important to learn about the different weeds so that you know how to deal with them when they pop up in your yard.

Why should you get rid of weeds?

Weeds can be a major nuisance, and they can quickly take over an area. They can also be harmful to plants and trees in your yard, so it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Weeds can also attract pests and other unwanted creatures, so it’s best to remove them before they have a chance to cause any damage.

Common types of weeds



These weeds are most common on lawns, and they have a taproot that can grow as deep as 15 inches. The taproot is what keeps them so resilient, and they are hard to get rid of because it has to be completely removed. They can grow up to 12 inches tall and have a yellow flower head with white fluff.

Commonly found growing in lawns as well as gardens with flowers ranging from yellow to orange to red depending on the cultivar (cultivated variety). The leaves are also edible and can be used for salads or cooked greens like spinach.


This weed is the bane of any lawn lover’s existence. It can grow in any kind of soil, but it prefers sandy soil. It grows very quickly and aggressively, spreading out over the whole yard if not controlled. It looks like grass with leaves that have a light green tint to them. It has purple or red hues at the stem base.

A weed with a prostrate growth habit. It grows from seeds each year and produces hairy, fibrous roots. As it grows across the soil surface, crabgrass forms an open turf that is easily penetrated by mosses, nut sedges, and other broadleaf weeds.


Known for its purple flowers, this weed can grow up to 5 feet tall and spread rapidly. Thistle has a prickly texture to it, making it unpleasant to touch or mow around.

Common thistle species include creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense), spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare), and musk thistle (Carduus nutans). Common names are deceptive as not all of these plants are true thistles. Thistles have spiny leaves that make them difficult to dig out by hand.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)

A low-growing, winter annual weed with small, white flowers. Chickweed grows best in cool weather and dies when the temperature exceeds 85 degrees F. It can be found in gardens, landscapes, turfgrass areas, and flower beds.

A common factor is that it can contaminate other seeds and garden plants and is one of the first to show up after winter. The seeds are more commonly carried by birds, which then defecate this weed in other areas.

Ground Ivy

A creeping perennial plant that spreads rapidly, forming dense areas in lawns and gardens. It has kidney-shaped, hairy leaves with scalloped edges; these grow on square stems with a minty scent when crushed or bruised. Ground ivy flowers from mid-spring through early summer, producing small blue blooms that form on spikes at the ends of long stalks rising above the foliage.

Broadleaf weeds

These include dandelions, plantain, and purslane, among others. You can’t confuse broad-leafed weeds with turfgrass or other desirable broadleaf plants because their leaves are wider than those of turfgrass or other desirable plants. They have distinctive flowers, which help you identify them, as well as distinctive seedheads, making it easy to tell them apart from grassy weeds.

Broadleaf weeds are plants that have wide, flat leaves. Common broadleaf weeds include dandelion, plantain, and thistle. Broadleaf weedkillers provide good control of these types of weeds, or you can dig them out using a fork or hand cultivator.


A dark green perennial with light-green shoots that resembles grass but has broader leaves and triangular stems, it forms dense stands from both seeds and rhizomes (underground stems). Nutsedge is most active in the spring when it emerges from underground tubers, followed by summer growth which dies back at first frost to reemerge next year.


Frequently grow on thin turfgrass areas where there is little grass to compete with them. Mosses may also grow in dense shade, in compacted soils, or areas that are subjected to drought stress for prolonged periods of time. Common moss species include hair cap moss (Polytrichum commune), clubmoss, and sheet moss (Hypnum spp.).


A perennial weed that thrives in damp, fertile soil. Common buttercup (Ranunculus spp.) is usually found growing in meadows and fields across North America but can also be a problem in pastureland, orchards, nurseries, and gardens. Common species include tall buttercup (Ranunculus acris), creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), and bulbous buttercup (Ranunculus bulbosus).


A prostrate, succulent annual weed that grows rapidly in hot weather. Purslane can be found in disturbed soils such as gardens, landscapes, turfgrass areas, and flower beds. It is often confused with portulaca, a common garden plant. Common purslane (Portulaca oleracea) has small yellow flowers and succulent leaves that are reddish when young and turn green as they age.

Wild mustard (Brassica kaber)

A winter annual weed that grows in a rosette with deeply lobed leaves. Commonly found in poorly maintained turfgrass such as roadsides, playing fields, and golf courses. Wild mustard does not readily invade well-maintained turfgrass areas but can be problematic for newly seeded lawns or lawns undergoing renovation.

Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens)

A prostrate, evergreen perennial weed with small, dark green leaves. Green alkanet flowers from late winter through early summer can be found in gardens, landscapes, turfgrass areas, and flower beds. It is often confused with ivy or ground ivy.

Some others include: Johnson Grass, Mushrooms, Water Grass, Onion Grass, and Quack Grass

Categories of weeds

Weeds generally fall into four categories: annuals, perennials, biennials, and broadleaf plants.

Annuals reproduce by seed each year and grow rapidly from germination to death. They tend to thrive in bare soil where grass won’t grow or in disturbed soil like construction sites. Common annual weeds include crabgrass, foxtail, pigweed, and purslane.

Perennials live for two or more years and reproduce by seed or by underground stems. Common perennial weeds include dandelion, bindweed, Queen Anne’s lace, ground ivy, wild violet, blackberry shrub, and poison oak.

Biennials require two growing seasons to produce seeds; they die after producing the second year’s seeds. Common biennial weeds include bull thistle and burdock.

Broadleaf plants are non-grasses but contain leaves wider than a grass blade. Common broadleaf plants that can become garden pests include chickweed, plantain, and oxalis (wood sorrel). Some broadleaf weeds can be controlled with selective herbicides used on lawns – others must be dug out of beds or spot treated with a non-selective herbicide.

How to prevent common weeds from growing in your lawn

There are several ways to prevent weeds from becoming a problem in the first place:

  1. Keep the ground covered: ensure there is always something growing in your garden, even in winter, by planting green manure crops such as mustard or ryegrass.
  2. Use mulches to stop the light from reaching weed seeds lying dormant on the soil surface, preventing them from germinating.
  3. Weeds tend to grow in particular conditions, so learn to recognize these and avoid them:
  4. Pull up any weeds while they’re still small before they can flower and set seed. Use a trowel if you need to dig out deep taproots.
  5. It’s important to get rid of all the roots or tubers (such as couch grass). If you leave any behind, they will sprout again.
  6. Some weeds spread underground through creeping stems called rhizomes (such as bindweed). These should be dug up and destroyed as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading further.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you identify weeds?

Weeds can be identified by their leaves, flowers, or fruit. Some weeds have both leaf and flower structures on the same plant, while other weeds produce only one kind of structure.

How do you get rid of weeds?

There are many ways to remove unwanted plants from your landscape or garden. Mechanical methods such as hand pulling, hoeing, and digging; chemical methods such as using herbicides; or cultural methods such as mulching or tilling can all be used to control weed growth.


Weed identification is important to know because weeds grow and spread quickly. They can dominate a lawn or garden with little to no effort. Weeds are found everywhere, even in places where it’s impossible to grow the chosen weed. With the right information, identifying weeds becomes very simple. These common types of weeds are ones that need to be taken seriously and addressed before they become a bigger problem.