Maryland weeds – 29 most common

Maryland is home to a diverse array of native plants, as well as numerous introduced species that have established themselves within the state. Some of these plants are beloved for their beauty or usefulness, while others are considered invasive and can cause harm to local ecosystems. In this guide, we will explore the most common and notable weeds found throughout Maryland, discussing their origins, identifying features, and how to control them:

maryland weeds snippet

Table of Contents

Maryland weeds

Name of Weed Family
Annual Bluegrass Poaceae
Bermudagrass Poaceae
Bittercress Brassicaceae
Black Medic Fabaceae
Broadleaf and Curly Dock Polygonaceae
Broadleaf Plantain Plantaginaceae
Chickweeds Caryophyllaceae
Clover Apiaceae
Crabgrass Poaceae
Dallisgrass Poaceae
Dandelion Asteraceae
Deadnettle Lamiaceae
Goosegrass Poaceae
Henbit Lamiaceae
Indian Mock Strawberry Rosaceae
Japanese Stiltgrass Poaceae
Japanese Knotweed Polygonaceae
Kyllinga Cyperaceae
Lespedeza Fabaceae
Nimblewill Poaceae
Orchardgrass Poaceae
Oxalis Oxalidaceae
Quackgrass Poaceae
Shepherd's Purse Brassicaceae
Speedwell Plantaginaceae
Spurge Euphorbiaceae
Star of Bethlehem Liliaceae
Yarrow Asteraceae
Yellow Nutsedge Cyperaceae

Bindweed

Annual Bluegrass

Annual bluegrass is a common winter weed grass with bright green leaves. It spreads quickly through lawns and gardens. The weed is characterized by thin leaves with pointed tips and yellowish-green or light-green flowers. The weed species prefers moist soil and survives in sunlight as well as shade.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

As annual bluegrass thrives in moist soil, the best way to control its growth and spread is to avoid overwatering the garden or lawn. Pre-emergent herbicide treatment is a great way to prevent the seeds from germinating. Applying herbicides in the autumn season also proves to be an effective control measure against bluegrass invasion.

Annual Bluegrass

Bermudagrass

This weed species is a hardy, coarse-textured grass that spreads through underground stems and rhizomes. It has a deep green color and can be difficult to control due to its spreading habit. You’ll find Bermuda growing on thousands of golf courses because of its ability to withstand mowing.

A lot of people don’t actually consider Bermuda a weed because of its attractive appearance and its ability to be controlled with proper maintenance. However, it can become invasive if not managed properly. The drawback of Bermuda grass is that there are still people who prefer the look, feel, and color of Fescue because it remains green.

Type

Perrenial

Family

Poaceae

Control

  • Mechanical: Hand pulling or mowing
  • Chemical: Pre and post-emergent herbicides such as Roundup, Weed Beater Ultra, or Ortho Ground Clear can be used for controlling Bermuda grass.
common bermuda grass

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.

Bittercress

Black Medic

Black medic is a low-growing, mildly drought-tolerant weed with yellow flowers. It can be identified by its small round leaves and black seed pods. Black medic thrives in sunny areas of the lawn or garden and is resistant to many herbicides.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Fabaceae

Control

A pre-emergent herbicide can be used to prevent the weed from germinating. It is important to apply it before the weed species starts flowering and releasing its seeds. Post-emergent herbicides should also be applied in order to control existing plants. Regular mowing and removing any of the dead or wilted plants will also help reduce its spread.

Black Medic

Curly Dock Broadleaf

A type of broadleaf weed, curly dock grows up to 5 feet in height and produces long leaves with wavy margins arranged in a rosette. The thick, unbranched stem generally has a reddish tint and bears long clusters of flowers that result in dense panicles. The weed seeds are characterized by small wing-like structures and mature into a dark brown color. With taproots that can penetrate deep into the soil, curly dock is most widespread during the spring season.

Type

Perennial

Family

Polygonaceae

Control

Given its ability to tolerate fluctuations in soil moisture, Curly dock presents challenges in terms of eradication. One approach is to weaken the weed by regularly cutting it down during mowing. Digging out the taproot offers another way to control it. However, experts recommend using broadleaf herbicide applications to effectively get rid of this troublesome weed.

Curly Dock Broadleaf

Plantain

Plantain is a low-growing, broadleaf weed. Its oval-shaped leaves grow circularly. Greenish flowers can be seen spiking up from a central rosette. The buds and blooms look alike and run along lengthy stalks. The weed species prefers heavily trafficked areas. Well, it’s a tough weed that can survive almost any condition.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Plantaginaceae

Control

Pulling up the weed can be an effective way to fight it. However, the plant should be pulled out from the root, making sure that no root is left behind in the soil. It’s because, if any part of the root is left, the weed can regrow. Aerating the lawn and keeping it lush without any bare spots is recommended to keep the plantain weed under control.

Plantain

Chickweed

Chickweed is a low-growing weed, reaching a height of 30 cm. It sprawls on the soil surface to form mats of foliage. It can be identified by its simple, frosty leaves and white flowers with five petals.

The weed species grow well in the winter. It prefers cool, moist conditions, and does not tolerate hot temperatures. Chickweed can quickly spread over the bare land in a garden or lawn.

Type

Annual broadleaf

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Control

Chickweed can be removed by hand-weeding. However, it is time-consuming. When it comes to chickweed, prevention is the better option. When you notice a weed showing up in your garden or lawn, pull it out immediately. Appropriate herbicides and selective weedkillers can be used to control chickweed invasions.

Chickweed close up

White Clover

While there are several types of clovers, white clovers are prevalent in Utah. You can recognize white clovers by their white, puffy blooms and leaves, which generally have a pale white “V” on them. The weed species grows low to the ground and is capable of quickly covering an entire lawn. White clover grows actively during late spring, summer, and autumn. It thrives in lawns that are nitrogen deficient.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Apiaceae

Control

By maintaining the lawn properly, you can prevent the weed from growing and spreading. A pre-emergent herbicide application is recommended to control the white clover invasion and lawn weeds. For eradicating established weeds, it is important to use a post-emergent herbicide application.

early fall white clover

Crabgrass

Crabgrass grows low on the ground and typically spreads out horizontally like a crab’s legs. It has flat, green leaves pointing outward and finger-like florets. The stems are spreading and branched. Its roots develop at the nodes on prostrate stems.

The weed prefers dry and hot conditions. It can be found in the disturbed areas of weedy meadows, prairies, lawns and gardens, fields, vacant lots, grassy paths, and along roads and railroads.

Type

Annual grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

It is possible to keep crabgrass growth and spread in check by regularly mowing the lawn. A pre-emergent herbicide application is the best way to prevent the weed from taking hold in a lawn or garden. The herbicide should be sprayed in the spring when crabgrass grows actively.

prefer warm soil

Dallisgrass

This weed species is a perennial grass with a coarse, upright growth habit. It often invades lawns and gardens where it can be difficult to control due to its aggressive growth and ability to spread rapidly.

Dallisgrass is a weed that commonly appears in clumps, has grayish-green leaves with a smooth texture, and features a striking vein down the center of each leaf.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Dallisgrass is a really tricky weed to eradicate. Multiple post-emergent weed control applications are required, and it is important to make sure that the weedkiller is labeled for use on dallisgrass.

dallis grass

Dandelion

Although dandelions are often seen as benign yellow blooms, if they are not managed properly, they can quickly become a troublesome issue. Due to the fact that each seed head can generate thousands of seeds floating on the wind, these plants can be difficult to eliminate. Once they have taken root, they can penetrate the soil several inches deep, and without removing the whole root, their growth cannot be halted.

Type

Perennial

Family

Asteraceae

Control

In order to remove one or two plants, manually removing them is possible, but it’s crucial to ensure that the whole plant, including the root, is being pulled out. Consistently maintaining your garden or lawn is important for preventing dandelions from spreading. If the weed has taken over your lawn, even with preventive measures, seeking assistance from a professional for an effective lawn weedkiller may be necessary.

Dandelions

Deadnettle

Deadnettle is a pesky weed species with a low and spreading habit of growth. Its leaves are egg-shaped and have scalloped edges, usually having a bright green color that can sometimes take on purple or yellow hues. The weed bears white or pinkish flowers in the spring season.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Lamiaceae

Control

In order to control deadnettle, it is important to practice proper lawn maintenance such as regularly mowing and removing debris from the grassy area. Appropriate herbicides can also be used for preventing as well as controlling this weed species. Proper timing of herbicide applications is essential for successful eradication.

Deadnettle

Goosegrass

Goosegrass is a summer annual grass that sprawls on the ground to form a mat-like rosette. Its leaf blades are thick and dark green with well-pointed seed heads. The finger-like spikes contain the seeds, and a single plant bears nearly 50,000 seeds!

The annual weed species has a well-developed root system, which makes it difficult to dig the plant out from the ground. Goosegrass thrives in compacted soil with no vegetation.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Keeping your lawn healthy is key to preventing goosegrass invasion. Core aeration is recommended every year because these weeds grow well in compacted soil. The use of post-emergent herbicides proves to be effective to get rid of established goosegrass.

Goosegrass weed

Creeping Charlie

Also known as ground ivy, the creeping perennial weed, gets its name from the creeping stems that sprawl along the ground. The weed can be recognised by its green vine, round leaves, and purple flowers. Creeping Charlie is a low-growing weed that forms a mat-like cover. The weed species thrives in moist areas such as hedgerows, waste areas, woodland margins, and shady locations. It can also survive in sunny locations.

Type

Perennial

Family

Lamiaceae

Control

Creeping Charlie grows well on an unhealthy lawn. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lawn is the best defence. Once the weed takes root and invades your lawn, it’s not easy to eradicate it. Most broadleaf herbicides don’t work well to remove these weed plants. Hand-pulling can be done to remove just one or two weeds. However, when there is a large patch, use a professional-grade herbicide in the autumn season.

persistent perennial grass

Henbit

Henbit is an annual broadleaf weed that has a low-growing growth habit. It can spread quickly and takes over areas in lawns with weak turf throughout the growing season. Its leaves are oval and serrated at the edges, while its flowers are purple and tubular.

Henbit’s fibrous root system allows it to grow to a maximum height of 16 inches. In addition, its reddish-purple flowers have dark spots on the lower petals and germinate in either fall or winter.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Lamiaceae

Control

Roundup is great for controlling Henbit, but the chemical should only be applied when the weed is actively growing. The best way to control Henbit is to keep lawns healthy with regular watering and fertilization. Additionally, pre-emergent herbicides can help prevent new weeds from germinating.

Henbit

Indian Mock Strawberry

Indian Mock Strawberry is a perennial weed with a low-growing growth habit. It has glossy green leaves that resemble strawberry leaves and have 3-5 leaflets. The weed also bears small yellow flowers in the spring season, followed by white to orange berries that contain many seeds.

Indian mock strawberry can form dense mats in turfgrass, making it difficult to get rid of due to its deep root system.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Rosaceae

Control

Due to its deep roots, hand-pulling Indian mock strawberry is not an effective method for control. Pre-emergent herbicides are effective at preventing Indian mock strawberry from germinating but will not work on established plants.

Indian Mock Strawberry

Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese stiltgrass is an annual grassy weed with an upright growth habit. Its leaves are light green and lanceolate, while its seedheads are slim and purplish-green in color. The weed’s primary dispersal method is through its seeds which germinate throughout spring and summer. It can overrun turf areas, forming dense mats that crowd out other plants.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Japanese stiltgrass is best controlled when caught early in the season. Hand-pulling can be effective on small patches and post-emergent herbicides can be used to control larger infestations. Mowing at the proper height with a sharp mower blade also helps to control Japanese stiltgrass by preventing it from going to seed. Additionally, mulching is an effective way to suppress the weed and keep it from spreading.

Japanese stiltgrass

Japanese Knotweed

Identified by reddish-purple shoots and white flowers blooming from pink buds, the Japanese knotweed is a destructive weed species that can grow through buildings, piping, cables, and foundations, causing extensive damage to the property. It blooms entirely during late summer and early autumn, and controlling it is a significant challenge. Eliminating these plants requires specialist care as the weed is persistent and challenging to manage.

Type

Perennial

Family

Polygonaceae

Control

It is advisable to consider professional assistance to effectively manage this weed. To prevent the weed from multiplying, herbicides approved for this purpose can be sprayed or injected into its stems. However, despite the treatment administered, it typically requires a duration of three years to fully control the growth of this weed.

Japanese Knotweed washington

Kyllinga

Kyllinga is a perennial sedge weed that resembles grass, but has triangular stems. Its leaves are bright green and have a V-shaped pattern near the base. Kyllinga produces yellow-brown flower spikes during summer and can quickly overtake turf areas due to its long rhizome system.

Type

Perennial Sedge

Family

Cyperaceae

Control

Pre-emergent herbicides are effective at preventing Kyllinga from germinating, but won’t work on established plants. Post-emergent herbicides or spot treatments with Roundup can help control large infestations. Additionally, mowing regularly at 2–2½ inches helps to prevent the plant from flowering and spreading its seed. Hand-pulling can also be used to remove Kyllinga, but the long rhizomes must be dug up completely in order for it to be effective.

Green kyllinga

Lespedeza

Lespedeza is a perennial broadleaf weed with small yellow flowers that form in clusters at the top of the plant. It has deep taproots and thick stems, making it difficult to remove from soil. Lespedeza can quickly spread through turf areas due to its prolific seed production and ability to germinate in various conditions, including low mowing heights.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Fabaceae

Control

Pre-emergent herbicides are effective at preventing Lespedeza from germinating, but won’t work on established plants. Post-emergent herbicides or spot treatments with Roundup can help control large infestations. Additionally, proper mowing height (3–3½ inches) and frequent mowing can help prevent the weed from going to seed. Hand-pulling can also be used to remove Lespedeza, but should be done with caution as it can spread easily through its seeds.

Lespedeza

Nimblewill

Nimblewill is a perennial grass weed that has thin, long leaves with a light green color. It spreads rapidly through stolons and rhizomes, forming thick mats in turf areas. Nimblewill flowers during late summer and can produce up to 10 times more tillers than regular species of grass.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Pre-emergent herbicides are effective at preventing Nimblewill from germinating, but won’t work on established plants. Post-emergent herbicides or spot treatments with Roundup can help control large infestations. Additionally, proper mowing height (3–3½ inches) and frequent mowing help prevent the weed from going to seed. Hand-pulling can also be used to remove Nimblewill, but should be done with caution as it can spread easily through its rhizomes and stolons.

Nimblewill

Orchardgrass

Orchardgrass is a perennial grass weed that has wide, flat leaves and grows up to 3 feet tall. It is a very fast-growing weed and produces thick mats in turf areas. Orchardgrass can produce up to 8 heads of flowers per plant during late spring or early summer.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Pre-emergent herbicides are effective at preventing Orchardgrass from germinating, but won’t work on established plants. Post-emergent herbicides or spot treatments with Roundup can help control large infestations. Additionally, proper mowing height (3–3½ inches) and frequent mowing help prevent the weed from going to seed.

Orchardgrass

Oxalis

Oxalis, also known as Yellow Woodsorrel or Sourgrass, is a low-growing weed with three leaflets that resemble clovers. Its flowers are white and can be seen in the summer months. Oxalis thrives in moist areas of your lawn and prefers full sun.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Oxalidaceae

Control

Oxalis love compacted soil, so make sure to Core Aerate your lawn every year. The best time to apply post-emergent weed control is while the weed is actively growing.

Oxalis

Quackgrass

Quackgrass is a type of perennial weed that grows to approximately two feet in height and has v-shaped leaves. It produces small flowers in the summer which are white in color. Its ability to spread rapidly is due to the creeping roots that can generate new shoots in other areas. Quackgrass thrives best under moist soil conditions and will typically wilt once conditions become too dry.

Type

Perennial grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

The most effective way to control quackgrass is by preventing its growth. It is important to remove any sprouting quackgrass before it spreads its seeds. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide is also an option to stop new quackgrass plants from emerging.

quackgrass

Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd’s purse is a weed characterised by many stems and triangular or heart-shaped seed pods. It has many tiny, four-petaled flowers on the upper part of the stems and branches. The weed species can be found in disturbed areas, roadsides, gardens, trails, and old homesites across Wisconsin. It reproduces by dispersing seeds via water, wind, animals, and vehicle tyres.

Type

Annual

Family

Brassicaceae

Control

The primary means of controlling shepherd’s purse on a lawn is by hand pulling or using a suitable weeding tool. This is the best option if the infestation is in its beginning stages. However, to remove established weeds, using a contact weed killer in early spring before the flowering period is recommended.

Shepherd's Purse

Speedwell

Speedwell is a low-growing weed with long-stemmed, bright blue flowers that bloom early in the year, generally from March to May. It can form dense patches in a garden or lawn. The weed has slender stems and small leaves. Its stems are almost horizontal, well-branched, and hairy.

The weed species prefers moist conditions and thrives in loamy soil. It is found in grassy places including meadows, lawns, and pastures, as well as in waste grounds, woods, and hedgerows.

Type

Annual or Perennial

Family

Plantaginaceae

Control

Specific broadleaf weed herbicides are generally used to control speedwells. Pre-emergent herbicides can be used to control annual speedwell species. Herbicides containing the combination of triclopyr and dicamba tend to be effective for postemergence control of these weeds.

Speedwell

Spurge

Spurge is a prevalent weed species that grows during the warm season and is typically found in container nurseries. It features greenish-white flowers, and when its leaves or stems are damaged, they emit a milky sap.

The most common types of spurge are the ground spurge and spotted spurge, which have almost identical characteristics, such as having prostrate to ascending stems with round or oblong leaves. This weed species grows widely in grasslands, pastures, roadsides, and prairies and has the ability to survive in various types of soil.

Type

Perennial

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Control

One can effectively remove a small patch of spurge by hand-pulling it, but prevention is the primary method of dealing with spurges because controlling them is challenging once they have taken root. Post-emergent herbicides are available for controlling spurge invasions in lawns and gardens.

Spurges

Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem is a weed that consists of upright stems with white and five-pointed star-shaped flowers at the top. The plant has oval or lance-shaped leaves and appears in spring when temperatures are still cool. Star of Bethlehem favours open spaces, such as lawns, meadows, and roadsides.

It reproduces by producing many small seeds that can survive for years on soil surfaces. This weed species’ ability to spread quickly makes it difficult to control if left unchecked.

Type

Perennial

Family

Liliaceae

Control

The best way to eliminate Star of Bethlehem is through preventive measures like using pre-emergent herbicides before it spreads its seeds.

Star of Bethlehem

Yarrow

Yarrow is a broadleaf weed that grows rapidly. You can identify this weed by its flat-topped clusters of white flowers. The leaves are greyish-green in color and have three to five leaflets with sharply serrated edges. Yarrow has a strong scent, making it easy to identify the weed when it blooms in summer and early autumn.

Type

Perennial broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Weed prevention is the best approach for controlling this weed species. If you see any yarrow starting to grow, it is important to remove them before they spread its seeds. A pre-emergent herbicide application can also be used to prevent new yarrow plants from sprouting. When dealing with existing weeds, a post-emergent herbicide application is the most effective solution.

Woolly Yarrow (Achillea tomentosa)

Nutsedge

Nutsedge, also commonly known as Nutgrass, is a perennial weed with bright green leaves and sharp edges. It grows in clumps with yellow flowers that emerge from spikes or “nuts” located at the top of the plant. Nutsedge prefers moist soil and can spread rapidly throughout lawns.

Nutsedge might go unnoticed at first because its seeds look like out-of-season Bermuda grass and thatch.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Cyperaceae

Control

Regular maintenance is key when controlling Nutsedge. To achieve a healthy lawn, it is important to have proper mowing and watering schedules. Additionally, post-emergent herbicides can help target established weeds like Nutsedge. Be sure to apply the herbicide during the early stages of growth and follow up with another application as needed.

invasive plants
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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