Any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to is a weed. Many varieties are aggressive, fast-growing and can choke out your grass or other desired plants if not dealt with properly. Here in Georgia, there are hundreds of unique weed varieties which can be split into two main sub-groups: Broadleaf Weeds and Grassy Weeds. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five most common broadleaf weeds in our region.
Much of the information and photos in this article was provided by the Official Turfgrass Website of the University of Georgia. Learn more about weeds, soil testing, water conservation, pest management and much more by visiting their website here.
Asiatic Pennywort (Dollarweed)
Scientific Name: Centella asiatica
Description: Low-growing, spreading perennial from long rhizomes. Leaves shovel-shaped with toothed, often dark red margins. Leaves on slightly-hairy petioles and generally oriented in an upright or vertical (as opposed to horizontal) fashion. Short-lived, white flowers in clusters on short stalks at the leaf axils.
Reproduction: Seed and rhizomes.
Region: Found on moist, sandy soils from Delaware south to Florida, and west to Texas. Also found the West Indies, Mexico, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Hawaii, Australia, and New Zealand.
There are many varieties of clover which can be found in Georgia and throughout the world including:
White Clover – Trifolium repens
Small Hop Clover (Low Hop Clover) – Trifolium dubium
Rabbitfoot Clover – Trifoliun avense
Large Hop Clover – Trifolium campestre
Alyceclover (Oneleaf Clover) – Alysicarpus vaginalis
Family: Leguminosae Description: Most clovers are low-growing perennials with creeping stems and green leaves. Stems range from smooth to very hairy. The leaves have a variety of shapes including oval, oblong and narrow. The color of flowers also vary greatly: white with pink tinge, bright yellow, pink, purple, orange, etc.
Region: Most are found throughout the United States and some are present in Canada, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia.
Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Description: Deeply taprooted, stemless perennial. Leaves, basal, slightly to deeply cut, with lobes that point back towards base. Single yellow flowers at end of each long, smooth hollow stalk. Leaves and flower stalks exude a “milky” juice when broken. Seeds brown, long stalked with a parachute of hairs forming a “globe”.
Reproduction: Reproduces by seed and can form new plants from fragments of broken taproots.
Region: Found throughout the United States, Alaska, and South Hawaii. Also found in the West Indies, Mexico, Central and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
Scientific Name: Lamium amplexicaule
Description: Sparsely-hairy winter annual with greenish to purplish, tender, four-sided stems. Similar in appearance to purple deadnettle but upper leaves lack petioles. Leaves opposite, broadly egg-shaped with bluntly toothed margins, and prominent veins on underside. Flowers, reddish-purple with darker coloring in spots on lower petal, arranged in whorls.
Region: Found throughout most North America. Also occurs in the West Indies, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Florida Betony (Rattlesnake Weed)
Scientific Name: Stachys floridana
Description: Smooth or hairy, delicate, freely branched perennial, from slender underground stems with segmented white tubers resembling a “rattlesnake’s rattle”. Leaves opposite, long stalked, lance-shaped, usually with a nearly flat base. Stems square. Flowers white to pink with purple spots.
Region: Native to Florida until it escaped in the 1940’s or 1950’s. Now found from North Carolina to Texas. Thought to be moved with nursery stock and ornamental plants.
Weeds can be difficult to deal with once they’ve taken root though post emergent treatments are available. Preventing weeds is typically easier than getting rid of them. Keeping your grass healthy by following lawn care recommendations for fertilizing, watering and mowing will help make it less susceptible to weeds. Pre emergent treatment such as lawn spraying, is recommended to keep your lawn and garden looking great and full of only the plants you desire. Whether you want to prevent weeds or rid your lawn of those you already have, contact your local lawn care provider to learn about the options available to you.