Tennessee weeds – 29 most common

Weeds can be a bit of a problem in the state of Tennessee, but luckily here are 29 of the most common weeds that you can easily identify and take care of:

bloom

Table of Contents

Tennessee weeds

Name of Weed Family
Annual Bluegrass Poaceae
Annual Ryegrass Poaceae
Bittercress Brassicaceae
Black Medic Legumes
Carolina Geranium Geraniaceae
Catchweed Bedstraw Rubiaceae
Chickweed (carpet weed) Caryophyllaceae
Clover Apiaceae
Crabgrass Poaceae
Cutleaf Evening Primrose Onagraceae
Dallisgrass Caryophyllaceae
Dollarweed Araliaceae
Fireweed Epilobium
Foxtail Poaceae
Goosegrass Poaceae
Henbit Asteraceae
Horseweed Asteraceae
Kyllinga Cyperaceae
Lambsquarters Violaceae
Nutsedge Cyperaceae
Oxalis Oxalidaceae
Poa Annua Poaceae
Purple Cudweed Asteraceae
Purslane Portulacaceae
Ragweed Convolvulaceae
Shepherd's Purse Brassicaceae
Speedwell Plantains
Virginia Buttonweed Rubiaceae
Wild Onion Lamiaceae
Wild Violet Violaceae

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)

Annual Bluegrass is a hardy annual weed that can spread quickly in lawns. Its leaves are thin and narrow with pointed tips, while its flowers are light green or yellowish-green. Poa Annua prefers moist soil and can survive in both sun and shade.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Poa Annua prefers moist soil, so be careful not to overwater your lawn. For best results, treat your lawn with a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall to prevent the seeds from germinating.

yellow green bluesgrass

Annual Ryegrass

Annual Ryegrass is an aggressive, fast-spreading weed. Its leaves are narrow and pointed at the tip with a bright green color. The flowers grow in dense clusters and can be either white or pinkish-purple.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

The best way to control Annual Ryegrass is to mow your lawn regularly to prevent seed production. You can also use an herbicide labeled for annual ryegrass control. Make sure you read and follow all instructions when using any herbicide product.

annual ryegrass

Bittercress

This weed species is an annual broadleaf plant that reproduces by spreading its seed. It has a bitter taste and grows in sunny, moist areas of lawns or gardens. Bittercress can be recognized by its small white flowers and the way it spreads out over the ground.

Bittercress is considered to be a difficult weed to control due to its ability to spread quickly and germinate from even the smallest amount of soil disturbance. It can also tolerate some herbicides, so it is important to select an appropriate product for controlling this weed.

Type

Broadleaf Annual

Family

Brassicaceae

Control

A healthy, thick lawn will block weeds from sprouting and crowd them out if they do manage to grow. The best way to control bittercress is with a pre-emergent application in the fall. However, you can also use a post-emergent while the weed is actively growing.

post emergent weed treatment

Black medic

This small, low-growing annual weed is easily identified by its yellow flowers and clover-like leaves. It has a shallow root system which makes it easy to pull out of the soil, but it can spread quickly if not controlled in time.

Black medic is often considered the first line of defense against larger weeds such as dandelions since its deep roots are able to draw out much-needed moisture from the soil. This makes it an ideal candidate for pre-emergent control because it will prevent other weeds from germinating in areas where black medic has been eliminated.

Type

Broadleaf Annual

Family

Legume

Control

When the soil is moist, hand removal of this weed can be highly effective because it’s much easier to pull out its roots. Therefore, undertaking this task when damp conditions exist will make for a more successful outcome. Alternatively, a herbicide application can also be used to control black medic.

disturbed soil

Carolina Geranium

Carolina Geranium is an annual weed that can be identified by its small, light green leaves and white flowers. It reproduces by seed and can quickly take over a lawn if not controlled in time.

This species of weed prefers moist climates and is commonly found near areas with poor drainage. It has also been known to cause skin irritation when touched, so you should always wear protective clothing when dealing with this weed.

Type

Broadleaf Annual

Family

Geraniaceae

Control

When it comes to Geranium carolinianum, manual removal is possible – but only if seeds have not formed. Pulling the weed out can cause more damage than good by permitting the spread of its seeds into your lawn so be sure before you act. If you’re uncertain whether or not they’ve blossomed yet, a professional should be consulted for advice on broadleaf weed killer applications instead.

Carolina Geranium

Catchweed Bedstraw

This annual weed can be identified by its low-growing, sprawling stems with white flowers and small heart-shaped leaves. It reproduces quickly and is often found near garden beds or along fence rows.

Catchweed Bedstraw has a very shallow root system which makes it easier to control than most other weeds, but it still needs to be taken care of in order to prevent it from taking over your lawn.

Type

Broadleaf Annual

Family

Rubiaceae

Control

Post-emergent herbicides are the most effective way to eliminate catchweed bedstraw as they can be applied directly to the weed without harming other plants in the area. However, manual removal of this weed is also possible if you act quickly enough before it has a chance to spread its seeds.

Catchweed Bedstraw

Chickweed

This weed species is a low-growing, prostrate annual that forms mats of foliage and has small white flowers. It thrives in moist areas with poor drainage, often invading lawns and gardens. Chickweed can be difficult to control due to its ability to spread quickly and germinate from even the smallest amount of soil disturbance.

Chickweed prefers cool weather, so it is most active during the spring and fall. It can be identified by its small white flowers and succulent leaves with a faint sheen or frosty appearance.

Type

Annual

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Control

Chickweed is most rampant in lawns that are kept moist and mowed low to the ground. If you want to prevent its growth, avoid over-watering your lawn in the fall season and raise your mower blade.

If you want to learn more about weeds you can find in Massachusetts then make sure you have read an article I have written that covers this!

low growing grassy weed

Clover

This weed species is an annual with a creeping growth habit and small white flowers. It often invades gardens, lawns, and other areas of the landscape where it can be difficult to control due to its rapid germination capabilities. Clover can be identified by its small, round leaves that have a distinctive clover-like odor when crushed.

It prefers moist soil and grows in full sun or partial shade conditions. The best way to reduce the spread of clover is by preventing it from taking hold in the first place through proper maintenance practices such as mowing regularly and removing dead foliage

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Apiaceae

Control

Applying a pre-emergent application in the fall is the best way to control clover growth. A healthy, fertilized lawn will also help prevent clover from growing in your lawn. If clover does take hold, post-emergent herbicides can help control it. You may also consider using a mulching mower to grind the weed down and reduce its spread. Additionally, certain nematodes can be applied to lawns to help naturally manage clover infestations.

indigenous weed species

Crabgrass

This weed species is an annual grass that has a low, spreading growth habit and grows in thin blades. It can be difficult to control due to its ability to rapidly spread and germinate from even small amounts of soil disturbance. Crabgrass prefers warm weather and full sun conditions, so it is most active during the summer months. The weed gets its name from the crab-like legs protruding from the stem.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Crabgrass is opportunistic and will colonize any thin or bare areas in your lawn. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring is the best way to prevent it from taking hold. If crabgrass does develop, post-emergent herbicides can help control it.

Be sure to mow your lawn regularly to keep the weed in check and allow plenty of sunlight into thin areas so that it is less likely to take hold. Additionally, core aeration helps reduce soil compaction which can also inhibit the growth of crabgrass.

form dense patches

Cutleaf Evening Primrose

This weed species is an invasive perennial that can quickly take over a lawn or garden. It has large, lobed leaves and bright yellow flowers that form in clusters at the ends of the stems. Cutleaf evening primrose can be identified by its tall stems reaching up to 4-18 inches high with deep lobes on the leaves.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Onagraceae

Control

2,4-D or dicamba combined with glyphostate is the best way to control cutleaf evening primrose. Timing is key, so make sure you apply the herbicides before the weed flowers or goes to seed.

Cutleaf Evening Primrose

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.

A pre-emergent herbicide application in the spring can help prevent its growth, as can regular mowing and removing dead foliage from your lawn. Additionally, core aeration helps reduce soil compaction which can also inhibit the growth of dallisgrass.

grass clippings dallis grass

Dollarweed

Dollarweed is an invasive, perennial weed with a low-growing growth habit. It prefers wet, shady areas where it can spread quickly and form dense mats. The leaves are round and greenish-gray in color and give off a pungent odor when crushed.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Araliaceae

Control

Spot Treatment is the best way to control dollarweed. Using a post-emergent herbicide is the most effective method for controlling dollarweed in your lawn. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall or winter can also help prevent its growth.

Dollarweed

Fireweed

Fireweed is a remarkable and eye-catching wildflower that flourishes from sea level to the alpine regions. It has a bright pink flowering stalk and lance-shaped leaves. Fireweed is an invasive weed that can quickly take over a lawn or garden if not managed properly.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Epilobium

Control

If you are already contending with a fireweed infestation, the most viable solution is to utilize a herbicide. You may also want to consider using a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring which can help prevent its growth.

Fireweed

Foxtail

Foxtail is an annual grass weed with a bushy growth habit. It grows rapidly, has long, pointed leaf blades and small spikes at the end of its stems that resemble the tail of a fox. Foxtail can be found in lawns, gardens, and fields throughout North America.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Apply a Pre-Emergent in Spring so that it can help keep foxtail from germinating. If you are already contending with a foxtail infestation, the best way to control them is by using a post-emergent herbicide.

Foxtail

Goosegrass

Goosegrass is an annual weed species that grows in clumps and can be identified by its light green leaves and stems with a V-shaped notch at the base. Goosegrass has seed heads that resemble small balls, giving them their nickname “crow’s foot”.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

You can choose to remove the weed manually or with a small trowel for an easier option. If you are dealing with a large infestation, spot-spraying the weeds with an herbicide will provide the best control.

Want to find out more about weeds in Ohio? Make sure you read about how to identify them in an article I have written

Goosegrass weed

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

Horseweed

Horseweed is an annual weed species that grows rapidly and can reach heights of up to 6-10 feet. It has small, oval-shaped leaves with jagged edges, while its flowers are yellow and resemble daisies. In addition, it produces a large number of tiny seeds which can lead to rapid infestations in lawns and gardens.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Utilizing burndown herbicides, like 2,4-D, dicamba, glufosinate (Liberty), saflufenacil (Sharpen) or paraquat (Gramoxone) mixed together can be applied in the springtime or fall season to promote effective management of horseweed.

Horseweed

Kyllinga

Kyllinga is an annual weed species that has a low-growing habit and resembles grass. It can be found in most warm climate areas around the world, as it prefers sunny locations with moist soil. Kyllinga has small leaves and its flowers are white or pinkish with three pointed sepals.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Cyperaceae

Control

Chemical control of green kyllinga may be achieved with preemergent herbicides applied in the early spring. Post-emergent herbicides such as glyphosate may also provide effective control if applied before the plants produce seed.

Kyllinga

Lambsquarters

This weed species is an annual with a low to medium growth habit and small, white flowers. It is often found in gardens and lawns where it can quickly spread if not controlled.

Lambsquarters has diamond-shaped leaves that are smooth on the upper surface and whitish beneath, as well as small greenish-white flowers that are grouped together in clusters.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Amaranthaceae

Control

For effective control of this weed, consider using selective broadleaf herbicides such as 2,4-D or dicamba (Weed Master). If physical removal is preferred, make sure to remove all parts of the plant, including its roots.

Lambsquarters

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.

If you want to learn more about weeds that grow in the State of Georgia then make sure you give an article I wrote earlier which covers this. 

Nutsedge

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

Purple Cudweed

Purple Cudweed is a perennial weed species with small, purple flowers that can grow up to 2 feet in height. Its leaves are oblong-shaped and feel fuzzy to the touch. It often grows in clusters and prefers sunny locations.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Control cudweed by diluting Dismiss herbicide with water and applying it as a spot treatment to the affected areas. The Dismiss formulation contains 2,4-D and dicamba, two active ingredients that will effectively target this tough weed.

Purple Cudweed

Purslane

Tasty and succulent, purslane (or Portulaca oleracea) is a leafy green vegetable with red stems, small green leaves, and an impressive 93% water content. It can be enjoyed raw or cooked in various dishes under many of its other names such as pigweed, little hogweed, fatweed, and pusley.

It is considered a weed by many but is a healthy, nutritious plant. Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable, plus vitamins B and C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Portulacaceae

Control

Eliminating purslane can be achieved by both manual extraction or chemical control methods. Rainfall and irrigation can help conserve soil moisture, which will reduce its spread. Additionally, broadleaf herbicides such as 2,4-D or dicamba (Weed Master) can also be used to effectively control it.

Purslane

Ragweed

Ragweed is one of the most common and unpleasant weeds in lawns. This tall, annual weed has long stems with small, yellowish-green flowers that produce lots of pollen which is a major cause for hay fever and allergies.

Ragweed grows best in warm, sunny areas such as roadsides, fields, gardens and lawns. It can spread easily from one area to another as its seeds are dispersed by wind or animals.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Prevention is the best way to control ragweed. Regular mowing will help keep the plant from growing too tall and going to seed. Hand-pulling can be effective if done when the plant is young but be sure to dispose of the weeds properly as ragweed can easily re-sprout.

Ragweed

Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd’s Purse is an annual weed with white flowers that resemble a flat triangular purse. It can grow up to 10 inches tall and prefers full sun or partial shade. The plant’s roots are shallow, so they can easily spread in garden beds if not removed. The leaves of the shepherd’s purse are often used as a salad green but it should be eaten in moderation as its sap contains irritating acids.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Brassicaceae

Control

Manually pulling the weeds is the most effective form of control for Shepherd’s Purse since its root system is shallow.

Shepherd's Purse

Speedwell

Have you noticed a purple-hued weed in your lawn? If so, it could very well be Speedwell. This creeping annual grows best among Ohio’s cooler and more humid soils that are also shaded from direct sunlight. With its light blue to purple flowers and brilliant round leaves with scalloped edges, identifying this pest is an easy task for even novice gardeners.

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Plantaginaceae

Control

Speedwells can be successfully controlled by applying specific broadleaf weed herbicides. These herbicides are designed to target and eliminate individual plants, as well as any seeds produced so that the weed does not spread further throughout your lawn. When applying these herbicides it is important to follow the directions on the label carefully and to never apply them.

Speedwell

Virginia Buttonweed

Virginia Buttonweed (Diodia virginiana) is a common weed of pastures and lawns in the southeastern US. It has small white flowers that resemble buttons, hence its name. This perennial weed has an extensive root system so it can quickly become a problem in turfgrass and pastures if left uncontrolled.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Rubiaceae

Control

The best way to control Virginia buttonweed is through a combination of cultural practices and herbicide application. Hand-pulling or mowing when the plant is young will help reduce the spread of this weed but may need to be repeated several times for effective results. A selective post-emergence herbicide such as 2

Virginia Buttonweed

Wild Onions

Wild Onions are easily identified by its tall, green leaves and white clusters of bulbs. The bulbs have a strong onion-like scent when crushed or cut into pieces. Wild Onions prefer full sun and thrive in lawns that lack regular maintenance.

Type

Perennial Bulb

Family

Amaryllidaceae

Control

The best way to get rid of wild onions in your lawn is to use post-emergent weed control. Unfortunately, there is no pre-emergent weed control that will prevent them from growing in the first place.

Wild Onions

Wild Violets

Wild Violets are a perennial weed with heart-shaped leaves and small flowers that range in color from purple, blue to white. These weeds grow low along the ground and prefer moist soil conditions.

Type

Annual or Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Violaceae

Control

Wild violets can be difficult to control due to its spreading underground roots. To prevent these weeds from growing, use a pre-emergent herbicide in early spring or fall. Additionally, regularly mowing your lawn will help keep it healthy and strong enough to outcompete invasive weeds like Wild Violets.

Wild Violets
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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