What are the little purple flowers growing in my yard?

Lawn weeds can be a growing headache for property managers and are a primary concern when it comes to maintaining lawns. Unfortunately, it’s an annual battle that many facility and property managers endure. Without a doubt, weeds will find a way to creep back into your lawn, whether it’s from the wind, birds, a lawnmower, or possibly even through your very own soil which may contain weed seeds. While we continuously fight to be weed free, the question isn’t if you’ll have weeds to deal with, but rather when.

We’ve gathered a list of common weeds you might find in your lawn and what measures you can take to keep them at bay.

Broadleaf Plantain:

The broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed that has smaller leaves with a green leaf base. Blooming in spring to early summer, you will notice it adapts well to most sites, including drought tolerant conditions and thriving in overwatered soil. They can grow in heavy soils, sunny or shady areas and under very low mowing heights. Since these weeds reproduce readily by seed, they will require repeat applications of a post-emergent, broadleaf herbicide to effectively kill off large populations. To help manage broadleaf plantain aerate your soil, avoid overwatering, and using proper mow cut heights.

Common Chickweed:

Common chickweed is a low, dense growing annual weed that has branching stems with small, white, star-like flowers and five deeply-notched petals. This winter annual germinates in late fall and will start flowering in the spring. It prefers moist, fertile, and partly shaded locations but may sprout seeds in dry soil. Chickweed will also appear in lawns with thin turf. Control it with pre-emergent herbicides in late summer or early fall to prevent seeds from germinating or use a post-emergence control and apply it to actively growing immature weeds in the fall. If spring application is made you may need more than one application. Keep in mind that herbicide effectiveness is reduced as weeds mature.

Dandelion:

Probably the icon of summer weeds any lawn faces, dandelions emerge in early spring when the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These persistent perennials come equipped with a deep taproot sprouting bright yellow blossoms that grow on end of leafless, hollow stalks and emit a white milky sap when broken. You may also recognize these with a white puffball seed head. This appears shortly after mowing. Dandelions reproduce readily by seed, and spread quickly by the dispersal of wind. They prefer moist conditions and soils, but thrive in weak, thin turf. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in early spring when temperatures are still cool.

Crabgrass:

Crabgrass gets its name from their leaves because they form a tight, crab-like circle. The summer annual germinated when soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit and appear in weak or bare areas of the lawn. Treating crabgrass can be tricky because over and under watering both favor its growth, along with close mowing. To control it, spray with a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide in the spring when temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep seeds from sprouting.

There are different types of crabgrass you can be on the lookout for:
Large crabgrass is a bunching-type grass featuring seed head spikelets in two to nine fingerlike branches along the stalk.

Southern crabgrass forms in dense strands in open sites. It grows laterally along the ground with branched stems that root at the nodes.

Smooth crabgrass can be distinguished from large crabgrass by the absence of hairs on the leaves. The seed head features two to six fingerlike spiked branches.

Ground Ivy:

Ground ivy is a perennial with square stems that extend several feet and root at the leaf nodes. These weeds showcase rounded scalloped leaves and small funnel-shaped purple flowers that grow in clusters. Ground ivy prefers shady, moist areas of the lawn with poor fertility, and can tolerate low mowing heights. Fall is an excellent time to use a post-emergent herbicide to treat it. Applications in the spring (when it is in flower) is also a good time to get effective control.

White Clover:

Interestingly, white clover used to be a common ingredient in lawn seed blends. However, now it’s regarded as a common weed in your lawn. White clovers are a low-growing, creeping winter perennial with stems that root at nodes. The elliptical leaves are grouped in threes and usually have a light green or white band like a watermark, plus toothing on the edges. These weeds are most noticed for their white to pink-tinged flower clusters growing from the long stems that usually rise above the leaves. They actively grow in cooler temperatures with increased moisture and where soil is poor and low in nitrogen.

Annual Bluegrass:
Annual bluegrass is an annual weed, just as the name suggests. It blends very well with fescue grasses due to its light green color. Its color, however, makes it stand out in dark green turf grasses and will typically form in clumps, so it’s easy to spot the culprit. Annual bluegrass seeds germinate in late summer as temperatures start falling below 70 degrees. It appears where overwatering occurs and/or there is poor draining soil. Since it produces most it its seed head in the spring, applying a pre-emergent herbicide prior to germination of the seedlings will prevent growth.

Wild Violet:

These perennial weeds are pansy-like flowers featuring five blue-violet, lilac or white petals that grows in bunches reaching 2-5 inches tall. Wild violets can quickly take over cool, shady, moist, and fertile soil. Eradicating these weeds can be difficult due to its aggressive growth and resistance to many herbicides. To control, apply a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide as soon as the violets reach the two-leaf stage of growth.

Bull Thistle:

Bull thistle is a biennial that can form large infestations, especially along roads and vacant fields. They bloom in mid to late summer and grow erect with spines on the leaves and stems. They are coarsely hairy on the upper side, contain softer, whitish hairs below and rose to reddish-purple flowers grow at the ends of the branches. Bull thistle reproduces by seed only. For optimum control, application prior to seed set is most effective. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in fall or early spring, when the thistle is in the seedling to rosette stage.

Weeds can be deceptive in your lawn, and they aren’t shy to grow and spread quickly! They are your lawns biggest threat to staying lush, green and healthy. At Bluegrass, we provide you with a preemptive weed control program to help stop those weeds in their tracks. Give us a call today at 314.770.2828 or fill out our simple online contact form to discuss your lawn care needs.

MSU Turf Weeds.net — your lawn weed identification & research resource

Visual Weed ID Tool


Unsure of which lawn weed you are dealing with? Use the Weed ID Tool to narrow down the possibilities by selecting images that match the its characteristics. Click one of the buttons above to start.

Welcome to MSU Turf Weeds.net: Helping you identify, understand, and control lawn weeds. This site is designed so you can easily learn key identification characteristics of common and not-so-common turfgrass weeds found in lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and sod farms in Michigan and the midwest. Correct identification is the first step to proper management.

Each weed has a biography page to help you better understand why weeds invade and what you can do. The biography pages include multiple images of each weed, information on habitat, life cycles, alternative common names (AKA), key ID features, look-a-likes, management practices, and chemical controls.

Know what you’re looking for?
Quickly access specific weeds by family, or common name. Can’t find the name on the weed list? Use the search tool below to jump directly to your favorite pesky plant.

Not sure where to start?
Is the weed you are looking for a broadleaf, or a type of grass?

Search

Login to get access to the chemical control section and see the weeds that are currently flowering near your location. More info…

Pictures of Lawn Weeds

These pictures of lawn weeds are organized alphabetically. Scroll through the pictures – or click on a link in the table below – to find the weed you are looking for. The name of the weed about the pictures links to its weed identification page where you will find additional pictures, information and tips for control. More photos will be added as I collect them.

Table of Contents

Bentgrass Bermudagrass Bindweed Black Medic
Broadleaf Plantain Buckhorn Plantain Bugleweed Bull Thistle
Canada Thistle Carolina Geranium Carpetweed Common Mullein
Crabgrass Chickory Dandelions English Ivy
Green Kyllinga Ground Ivy Knotweed Mallow
Moss Mouse-ear Chickweed Oxalis Pineapple Weed
Prostrate Spurge Puncturevine Purslane Rice Flatsedge
Virginia Creeper White Clover Yellow Nutsedge

Bentgrass

Bentgrass is commonly used on golf course greens and tees.
This is a weedy patch of bentgrass in a Kentucky bluegrass lawn

Bermudagrass Cynoden dactylon

Bindweed Convolvulus arvensis

Black Medic or Yellow Trefoil
Medicago lupulina

Broadleaf Plantain Plantago major

Buckhorn Plantain

Bugleweed Ajuga reptans

Bull Thistle

Go to the Bull Thistle page

Canada Thistle
Cirsium arvense

More Canada Thistle Pictures

Carolina Geranium
Geranium carolinianum

Carpetweed Mollugo verticillata

Chickory

Common Mullein Verbascum thapsus

Crabgrass Digitaria spp.

Dandelions

Read all about Dandelions

English Ivy

Green Kyllinga

Ground Ivy – Creeping Charlie

More Ground Ivy pictures and info.

Knotweed

Mallow

Common Mallow Weed Identification

Moss

Mouse-ear Chickweed

Read about Mouse-ear Chickweed

Oxalis – Yellow Wood Sorrel
Oxalis stricta

Go to the Yellow Wood Sorrel Weed Control Page

Pineapple Weed
Matricaria matricarioides

Prostrate Spurge Euphorbia supina

Read more about Prostrate Spurge weed identification and control

Puncturevine – Goatheads Tribulus terrestris

Purslane

Read about Purslane

Rice Flatsedge

Virginia Creeper

White Clover

White Clover Control in Lawns

Yellow Nutsedge

All photos on this site protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Public Domain Pictures are labeled and you are free to use in any way. You are allowed to share pictures of lawn weeds through email and other social websites – please give credit to www.better-lawn-care.com. However, any unauthorized use of this content by other websites with intent of personal gain will be reported to Google and the website’s hosting services.

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Minnesota Noxious Weed List

State Prohibited Noxious Weeds

Prohibited noxious weeds are annual, biennial, or perennial plants that the commissioner designates as having the potential or are known to be detrimental to human or animal health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock or other property. There are two regulatory listings for prohibited noxious weeds in Minnesota.

1. Eradicate List: Prohibited noxious weeds that are listed to be eradicated are plants that are not currently known to be present in Minnesota or are not widely established. These species must be eradicated, meaning all of the above and below ground parts of the plant must be destroyed, as required by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.78. Additionally, transportation, propagation, or sale of these is prohibited except as allowed by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.82. Measures must also be taken to prevent and exclude these species from being introduced into Minnesota.

Common Name Scientific Name Year added to list
1. Black swallow-wort Cyanchum louiseae Kartesz & Gandhi 2013
2. Brown knapweed Centaurea jacea L. 2013
3. Common teasel Dipsacus fullonum L. 2012
4. Cutleaf teasel Dipsacus laciniatus L. 2012
5. Dalmatian toadflax Linaria dalmatica (L.) Mill 2012
6. Diffuse knapweed Centaurea diffusa L. 2017
7. Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum Sommier & Levier 2012
8. Grecian foxglove Digitalis lanata Ehrh. 2010
9. Japanese honeysuckle Lonicera japonica Thunb. 2020
10. Japanese hops Humulus japonicus Siebold & Zucc. 2012
11. Meadow knapweed Centaurea x moncktonii C.E. Britton 2013
12. Oriental bittersweet Celastrus orbiculatus Thunb. 2011
13. Palmer amaranth Amaranthus palmeri S. Watson 2015
14. Poison hemlock Conium maculatum L. 2018
15. Tree of heaven Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle 2017
16. Yellow starthistle Centaurea solstitialis L. 2010

Giant hogweed and yellow starthistle are not known to be in Minnesota but have been determined to be a threat to invade the state.

2. Control List: Prohibited noxious weeds listed to be controlled are plants established throughout Minnesota or regions of the state. Species on this list must be controlled, meaning efforts must be made to prevent the spread, maturation and dispersal of any propagating parts, thereby reducing established populations and preventing reproduction and spread as required by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.78. Additionally, propagation, sale, or transportation of these plants is prohibited except as allowed by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.82.

Common Name Scientific Name Year added to list
1. Bohemian knotweed Polygonum x bohemicum (J. Chrtek & Chrtkova) Zika & Jacobson 2020
2. Canada thistle Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. 1872
3. Common barberry Berberis vulgaris L. 2017
4. Common tansy Tanacetum vulgare L. 2010
5. Giant knotweed Polygonum sachalinese F. Schmidt ex Maxim 2014
6. Japanese knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum Seibold & Zucc. 2014
7. Leafy spurge Euphorbia esula L. 1992
8. Narrowleaf bittercress Cardamine impatiens L. 2012
9. Plumeless thistle Carduus acanthoides L. 1975
10 Purple loosestrife Lythrum salicaria L. 1992
11. Spotted knapweed Centaurea stoebe L. ssp. micranthos (Gugler) Hayek 2001
12. Wild parsnip Pastinaca sativa L. (except for non-wild cultivated varieties) 2010

Restricted Noxious Weeds

Restricted noxious weeds are plants that are widely distributed in Minnesota and are detrimental to human or animal health, the environment, public roads, crops, livestock or other property, but whose only feasible means of control is to prevent their spread by prohibiting the importation, sale, and transportation of their propagating parts in the state except as allowed by Minnesota Statutes, Section 18.82. Plants designated as Restricted Noxious Weeds may be reclassified if effective means of control are developed.

Common Name Scientific Name Year added to list
1. Amur honeysuckle Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder 2017
2. Bell’s honeysuckle Lonicera x bella Zabel 2017
3. Black locust Robinia pseudoacacia L. 2017
4. Common or European buckthorn Rhamnus cathartica L. 1999
5. Crown vetch Securigera varia (L.) Lassen 2017
6. European alder Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn. 2020
7. Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata Bieb. 2013
8. Glossy buckthorn (and all cultivars) Frangula alnus Mill. 1999
9. Japanese barberry cultivars Berberis thunbergii DC. 2015
10. Morrow’s honeysuckle Lonicera morrowii A. Gray 2017
11. Multiflora rose Rosa multiflora Thunb. 2012
12. Non-native Phragmites Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin ex Steud. ssp. australis 2013
13. Porcelain berry Ampelopsis brevipedunculata (Maxim.) Trautv. 2017
14. Siberian peashrub Caragana arborescens Lam. (exemption for Green Spires® Caragana – Caragana ‘Jefarb’) 2020
15. Tatarian honeysuckle Lonicera tatarica L. 2017
16. Wild carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace Daucus carota L. 2017

Japanese cultivars banned from sale:

Specially Regulated Plants

Specially regulated plants are plants that may be native species or have demonstrated economic value, but also have the potential to cause harm in non-controlled environments. Plants designated as specially regulated have been determined to pose ecological, economical, or human or animal health concerns. Plant specific management plans and or rules that define the use and management requirements for these plants will be developed by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for each plant designated as specially regulated. Measures must also be taken to minimize the potential for harm caused by these plants.

Common Name Scientific Name Year added to list Special regulation
1. Amur maple Acer ginnala Maxim. 2016 Sellers shall affix a label that advises buyers to only plant Amur maple and its cultivars in landscapes where the seedlings will be controlled by mowing or other means. Amur maple should be planted at least 100 yards from natural areas.
2. Norway maple Acer platanoides L. 2020 Sellers shall affix a label that advises “Norway maple should only be planted in areas where the seedlings will be controlled or eradicated by mowing or other means. Norway maple seed is wind dispersed so trees should not be planted closer than 100 yards from natural areas.”
3. Poison ivy Toxicodendron radicans (L.) Kuntze & T. rydbergii (Small) Green 2010 Must be eradicated or controlled for public safety along rights-of-ways, trails, public accesses, business properties open to the public or on parts of lands where public access for business or commerce is granted. Must also be eradicated or controlled along property boarders when requested by adjoining landowners.
4. Winged burning bush Euonymus alatus Thunb. 2020 Three-year production phase-out period, after which sale of this species will be prohibited and the species will move to the Restricted list in 2023.

County Noxious Weeds

County noxious weeds are plants that are designated by individual county boards to be prohibited within the county’s jurisdiction and must be approved by the Commissioner of Agriculture, in consultation with the Noxious Weed Advisory Committee. Each county board must submit newly proposed County Noxious Weeds to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for review. Approved County Noxious Weeds shall also be posted with the county’s general weed notice prior to May 15th each year. Counties are solely responsible for developing County Noxious Weed lists and their enforcement. Contact your County Agricultural Inspector or County Designated Employee for more information or see a current listing of County Noxious Weeds.

Federal Noxious Weeds

Federal terrestrial and parasitic listed noxious weeds are prohibited in Minnesota. Federal noxious weeds are selected and enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and can be reported to the local Animal Plant Health Inspection Service Office (APHIS) in Minneapolis, MN or to the MDA Noxious and Invasive Weed Program. A list of federal noxious weeds and information about the federal weed program can be viewed at the .

» WSSA » Weeds » Weed Identification » Weed ID pages

  • Agronomic Crop Weeds
  • Turfgrass Weeds
  • Noxious Weeds
  • Aquatic Weeds

Agronomic Crop Weeds

  • Auburn University – Weed ID Database
  • Colorado State University – Common Weeds Identification Page
  • Iowa State University – Weed Identification Resources
  • Kansas Department of Agriculture – Weed Photo Gallery
  • Kansas State University – Weed Identification
  • Michigan State University – Identifying Weeds in Field Crops
  • New Mexico State University – Weed Information
  • Noble Foundation – Plant Image Gallery
  • Northeastern Weed Science Society – Weed Identification Pages
  • Oregon State University – PNW Weed Identification Module
  • Ohio State University – Weed Identification
  • Oregon State University – Weed Identification
  • Penn State University – Weed Identification
  • Purdue University – NRCA – Weed Identification
  • Rutgers University – New Jersey Weed Gallery
  • Southeastern Flora – A Southeastern US Plant Identification Resource
  • University of Arizona – Weed Photo Gallery
  • University of California- Agriculture and Natural Resources – Weed Identification
  • University of California – Agriculture and Natural Resources – Weed Photo Gallery
  • University of Florida – Weed Identification
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Illinois – Weeds of the North Central States
  • University of Massachusetts – Weed Herbarium
  • University of Minnesota – Annual Grass and Perennial Weed Identification
  • University of Missouri – Weed ID Guide
  • University of Nevada – Weed Identification Guide
  • University of Wisconsin – Weed ID Tool
  • University of Wyoming – Weed Identification Guide
  • USDA Plants Database
  • Virginia Tech – Weed Identification Guide

Turfgrass Weeds

  • Auburn University – Turfgrass Weed Identification
  • Michigan State University – Turf Weeds Program
  • North Carolina State University – Turf Weed ID
  • Penn State University – Center for Turfgrass Science – Plant ID page
  • Purdue University – Turf Weed Identification
  • Texas A&M University – Turfgrass Weed Identification
  • University of Georgia – Turfgrass Weeds
  • University of Illinois Turfgrass Program – Midwestern Turfgrass Weed Identification
  • University of Kentucky – Turfgrass Weed Identification
  • University of Maryland – Lawn Weed Identification
  • University of Tennessee – Turfgrass Weed Identification

Noxious Weeds

  • Federal Noxious Weed Disseminules of the United States
  • Colorado State University – Noxious Weed Identification
  • Montana Noxious Weeds – Identification
  • University of Nevada – Noxious Weed Identification
  • Utah Weed Control Association – Noxious Weed List

Aquatic Weeds

  • Texas A&M University – Aquaplant – Aquatic Plant Identification
  • University of California- Agriculture and Natural Resources – Aquatic Weed Identification

Common Weeds In Florida Lawns

The first step to controlling those pesky weeds in your lawn is correctly identifying them. Here is a short guide to help you do that.

Broadleaf Plantain – Plantago rugelii and Plantago major

– Perennial

– Large, wavy-edged and rounded leaves

– Long tap root similar to Dandelion

(image source: http://agron-www.agron.iastate.edu/)

Bull Thistle – Cirsium vulgare

– Biennial

– Grow in rosette with spiny leaves

– Purple blossoms are produced in second year

(image source: http://prepare-and-protect.net/)

Buttonweed – Diodia virginiana

– Perennial

– Produces shoots and seeds

– Thrives in areas of high moisture or poor drainage

(image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mom-mu/236175868)

Clover (white) – Trifolium repens

– Perennial

– Prickly seed pod

– Three oblong leaflets with serrated edges in a clover shape

(image source: http://courses.missouristate.edu/)

Chickweed – Stellaria media, common chickweed

– Annual

– Numerous prostrate stems that produce roots from their nodes

– Star-like small white flowers

(image source: http://thegreenskeeperlawn.com/)

Crabgrass – Digitaria sp.

– Annual

– Flat blades with sharp points

– Seed head composed of three to ten finger- like racemes or spikes

(image source: http://www.fertilome.com/)

Dallisgrass – Paspalum dilatatum

– Perennial

– 1/2” wide yellow-green, coarse leaf blade

– Adapts to areas of poor drainage

(image source: http://fmcturfadvisor.com/)

Dandelion – Taraxacum officnale

– Perennial

– Germinates during summer

– Large yellow flowers mature into round seeded puffballs

(image source: http://www.tuffturfmolebusters.com/)

Florida Beggarweed – Desmodium tortuosum

– Summer annual

– Can reach 9 ft. in height

– Segmented fruit that sticks to clothing

(image source: http://www.oblawncare.com/)

Florida Pusley – (Richardia scabra)

– Summer annual

– Flowers are white and grow in clips at the end of the stems

– Flower is star-shaped with six connected parts to form a tube

(image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wildflowersflorida/6173885940)

Goosegrass – Eleusine indica

– Annual

– Leaves are folded in the bug with overlapping sheaths

– Seed head forms with up to ten finger-like spikes

– Broader than crabgrass

(image source: http://mylawndoctor.us/)

Matchweed – Lippia nodiflora

– Perennial

– Purple and white flowers that emerge at the tip of the seed stalk

– Spreads by both seeds and stolons

(image source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/)

Nutsedge – Cvperus esculents (yellow – left), Cvperus rotundus (purple – right)

– Perennial

– Also known as nutgrass (but is not a grass)

– Yellow nutsedge has single tubers at root ends

(image source: http://homeserviceslink.com/)

Pennywort (Dollarweed) – Hydrocotvle verticillata

– Perennial

– Grows from rhizomes, tubers, and seed

– Round, approximately 1-inch diameter glossy leaves

(image source: http://gogtn.org/)

Quackgrass – Agropyron repens

– Perennial

– Blue-green, rough-bladed

– Spike seed head resembling perennial ryegrass

– Difficult to control

(image source: http://www.wildflowerfarm.com/)

Spurge – Euphorbia maculate & E. supine

– Annual

– Begins germination when soil temperatures reach 85F

– Small, oval, opposite leaves vary from dark green to red with a brown blotch on the surface

– Prolific seed producer

(image source: http://www.msuturfweeds.net/)

Yellow Woodsorrel – Oxalic stricta

– Annual to short lived perennial

– Pale green, heart-shaped leaves of three

– Abundant seeds produced

(image source: http://wayne.ces.ncsu.edu/)

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