Alabama Weeds – 15 Most Common

A lawn or garden with more weeds than grass or plants is never a good sight. It is always important to get rid of the weeds in these spaces. And, you should know that weeds in your garden or lawn compete for nutrients, water, and sunlight. In this guide, we’ve listed the most common weeds you can find in Alabama, their characteristic features, and how to prevent and control them.

noxious weed

Table of Contents

Alabama Weeds

Name of Weed Family
Chickweed Caryophyllaceae
Dandelions Asteraceae
Bittercress Brassicaceae
Annual Bluegrass Poaceae
Clover Apiaceae
Goosegrass​ Poaceae
Morning Glory Convolvulaceae
Carpetweed Molluginaceae
Sicklepod Fabaceae
Nutsedge Cyperaceae
Cutleaf Groundcherry Solanaceae
Horse Purslane Aizoaceae
Palmer Amaranth Amaranthaceae
Kudzu Fabaceae
Japanese Climbing Fern Schizaeaceae

Chickweed

This weed species is a creeping winter lawn weed. Its seeds germinate in cool temperatures. When seeds contact the soil, they take root, allowing them to overgrow large patches of gardens or lawns.

Chickweed can be identified by the mats of foliage it forms on the ground and the small white flowers. It grows well in moist areas and is difficult to control primarily due to its potential to spread quickly.

Type

Annual

Family

Caryophyllaceae 

Control 

To keep chickweed away from your lawns, preventing it from taking root is the best option. To prevent its growth, you should avoid overwatering the lawn and raise your mower blade, especially in the autumn season.

low growing grassy weed

Dandelions

Dandelions are a common lawn weed with much-familiar, bright yellow flowers. The leaves are toothy, deeply notched, and hairless, forming a rosette just above the central taproot. 

The bright yellow flower heads turn into white puffballs containing seeds when they mature.This weed species is not easy to control due to its deep and aggressive root system along with its quick germination capabilities.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Small dandelion infestations can be controlled by hand-pulling the plant completely from the soil. In the case of established plants, a weedkiller applied in autumn helps eliminate them permanently. Post-emergent applications, if applied correctly, will help check their spread. 

Dandelions

Bittercress

Bittercress can be identified by the small white flowers growing at the stem ends, making it attractive. The weed spreads over the ground and its leaves consist of 2-4 leaflets randomly arranged. As its name implies, it has a bitter taste. It grows well in sunny, moist areas of gardens or lawns. The weed species can spread quickly and germinate easily, so it is a difficult weed to control.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Brassicaceae

Control

Maintaining a thick, healthy lawn is the best way to block these weeds from sprouting. A pre-emergent application in the autumn is the most effective way to control bittercress. However, a post-emergent can also be used when the weed is in its active growth stage.

post emergent weed treatment

Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass, also known as Poa annua, is a cool-season grass with bright green leaves. It is a common winter weed and tends to spread quickly in gardens and lawns. Its leaves are thin with pointed tips and its flowers are yellowish-green or light green. This weed species thrives in moist soil and survives in both shade and sunlight.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

One of the best ways to control annual bluegrass is to avoid overwatering the lawn because it prefers moist soil. Moreover, treating the lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide is an effective method to prevent its seeds from germinating. Herbicide application proves effective in the autumn season.

Annual Bluegrass

Clover

Clover is a creeping plant with small white flowers. It can be easily identified by the unique clover-like odour that comes when its leaves are crushed. The weed is a common sight in lawns and gardens. Clover thrives in moist soil and can survive both partial shade and full sun conditions. Its rapid germination capabilities make it difficult to control.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Apiaceae

Control

Prevention is the first control measure. You should prevent it from taking hold through appropriate maintenance practices including removing dead foliage and mowing regularly. Aside from this, a pre-emergent application in the autumn is an effective way to control clover growth. To eradicate established weeds, you can use post-emergent herbicides.

indigenous weed species

Goosegrass

Goosegrass is a weed with thick stems and well-pointed seed heads. Its leaves are flattened and they develop into 2-13 finger spikes. The spike contains seeds, and a single weed can produce nearly 50,000 seeds.

A well-developed root system is a unique characteristic of goosegrass. In other words, it is not easy to pull the plant out of the soil. The grass weed is quite common in areas with compacted soil and no vegetation.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

It is important to have a healthy lawn to keep goosegrass at bay. Core aeration is recommended every year, mainly because the weed thrives in compacted soil. Post-emergent herbicide application is effective in the control of established goosegrass.

Goosegrass weed

Morning glory

Morning glory is a common summer weed in South Alabama. The common morning glory varieties in Alabama include ivy leaf, tall leaf, pitted leaf, and entire leaf. The weed’s leaves are heart-shaped and grow 3-5 inches along the vine. 

Its flowers are funnel-shaped and generally white, purple, or blue in colour. A single plant is known to produce a maximum of 15,000 seeds. Morning glory is believed to be a problem for almost all vegetable crops. It thrives in well-drained soil and moderately fertile soil.

Type

Annual

Family

Convolvulaceae

Control

Organic control of morning glory can be achieved with plastic mulching systems and bioherbicides, which can considerably reduce the seeds from sprouting. Systemic and broadleaf herbicides are recommended, but spraying should be done when the plants are still young.

wildlife habitat

Carpetweed

Carpetweed, as its name implies, forms a low-growing mat, covering an area of up to 2 feet. Its leaves are green and extended. Small, white flowers are produced in clusters in the leaf axils. The weed species grows well in sandy soils and thrives in areas with good sunlight and high humidity.

Type

Annual

Family

Molluginaceae

Control              

Carpetweed can be easily removed by hand-pulling or hoeing when the infestation is minimal. For larger infestations, herbicides can be used. It is important to remove the plants before the flowering stage.

Sicklepod

Sicklepod is a short-lived weed growing up to 2m in height. Its small, green leaves are rounded at the edges. The yellow flowers with five petals develop sickle-shaped pods that contain seeds. This species thrives in sunlight with available soil moisture.

Type

Annual or Biennial

Family

Fabaceae

Control

Prevention is the best way to control this weed. Remove it before it is established. I would recommend you pull out the plant by the root before the pods form. Cover cropping is another important sicklepod control strategy.

noxious weeds 1

Nutsedge

Nutsedge has yellow flowers and bright green leaves with pointed edges. The weed grows well in moist soil. It can rapidly spread throughout lawns and gardens. Due to the presence of multiple tubers, it is not easy to control nutsedge. If a single tuber is pulled, all the other dormant tubers get activated, thereby increasing the number of plants.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Cyperaceae

Control

Regular maintenance of the lawn is the key to controlling nutsedge invasion. Proper watering and mowing schedules should be maintained. In addition, a post-emergent herbicide application is effective to get rid of established plants. However, herbicide application should be done when the weed is growing well. Of course, a follow-up application is required.

Nutsedge

Cutleaf groundcherry

Cutleaf groundcherry is a common summer weed found in the agricultural areas of Alabama. The weed grows up to 3 feet tall. It has thin, spearhead-shaped leaves and yellow flowers that hang upside down.

This weed species prefers sunlit areas, while it is shade tolerant. It can be found in regularly fertilised fields, where the moisture content in the soil is high.

Type

Annual

Family

Solanaceae

Control

Cutleaf groundcherry is easy to uproot, but difficult to control with herbicides. The weed should be mechanically removed before the flowering period to avoid seed production and dispersion.

tropical soda apple

Horse purslane

Horse purslane is a herbaceous weed that grows horizontally up to 5 feet. Its leaves are broad and oval shaped and small, white flowers surrounded by purple colour. The stems are round and solid, weakly branched at the beginning, becoming prostrate later. The stems are hairy and succulent, allowing the weed to form a green carpet on the ground. This weed species thrives in wet soils such as streams, swamps, croplands, roadsides, and other disturbed areas.

Type

Annual

Family

Aizoaceae

Control

Mechanical control methods include hand-pulling, hand-hoeing, and using self-propelled devices. Pre-emergent herbicide application of oxadiazon, pendimethalin, oxyfluorfen, isoproturon, and fluchloralin is known to effectively control the invasion of horse purslane in different crops. 

Purslane

Palmer amaranth

Palmer amaranth is a common weed in Alabama that grows up to 6 feet in height. Its leaves are smooth and oval-shaped with sharp, spiny tips. The flowers are small and white or whitish green in colour, forming cylindrical inflorescences.

A single female plant is capable of producing up to 250,000 seeds! In other words, the weed is difficult to control.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Amaranthaceae

Control

It is quite challenging to control the Palmer amaranth invasion. Professional guidance is often recommended. However, you can try a post-emergent herbicide application before the weed reaches 3 inches tall.

Palmer amaranth

Kudzu

Kudzu is a well-known invasive weed that is not easy to control once established. It quickly outcompetes an area’s native vegetation. Kudzu is a trailing vine and you can expect it to grow up to one foot in a single day! The purple flowers in clusters have a strong fragrance, which is often described as grape-like.

Type

perennial

Family

Fabaceae

Control

As mentioned earlier, it is not easy to control the kudzu invasion. It normally takes up to 10 years to control well-established kudzu plants. Persistent treatment with patches is the only known control measure. Of course, there are chemical control methods, but professional assistance is needed. Kudzu happens to be a food source for livestock, and studies suggest that goats perhaps provide a good alternative to chemical control.

Kudzu

Japanese Climbing Fern

Japanese climbing fern is a perennial weed found extensively in the lower two-thirds of Alabama. The fern is known to spread northward rapidly. It is one of the worst invasive plants in Alabama. It is a common sight in various spots including pine plantations, roadsides, hardwood forests, and a lot more.

Because of its aggressive growth, it has become extremely difficult to control this plant. It seems to produce millions of small pores that develop and become a new plant. Besides, its growth disturbs the shrubs and young trees.

Type

Perennial

Family

Schizaeaceae

Control

The best way to control the growth of the Japanese climbing fern is by hand-pulling and cutting the plant before it forms spores. Liquid glyphosate formulations are known to be effective in controlling this weed growing above the water line, however, they are ineffective on those plants growing in the water. These are broad-spectrum, systemic herbicides, which are usually absorbed and move to the site of action within the plant.

Japanese Climbing Fern
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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