Texas Weeds – 17 Most Common

Keeping a gorgeous lawn in Texas can seem like an uphill battle, primarily due to the abundance of weeds that relentlessly attempt to overrun it. Having an idea of the common weeds in Texas will certainly help you better understand the ways to keep your garden or lawn free of weeds. Listed below is a list of the most common weed types that grow in Texas, along with information on how to identify them and control measures.

broadleaf weed germinates

Table of Contents

Texas Weeds

Name of Weed Family
Clover Apiaceae
Crabgrass Poaceae
Creeping Charlie Lamiaceae
Dallisgrass Caryophyllaceae
Dandelions Asteraceae
Foxtail Poaceae
Henbit Asteraceae
Nutsedge Cyperaceae
Plantain Plantaginaceae
Prostrate Knotweed Polygonaceae
Purslane Portulacaceae
Quackgrass Poaceae
Spotted Spurge Euphorbiaceae
Thistle Asteraceae
Wild Violets Violaceae
Wood Sorrel Oxalidaceae

Crabgrass

This weed species forms a large mat with several stems branching out to form a star-shaped hub. It can be identified by its long, finger-like florets. Its leaves are flat, light green in color, and point outward. Crabgrass thrives in hot, dry conditions and so it is most active in summer.

Type

Annual grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Crabgrass is capable of colonizing any bare area in your garden. The best way to prevent this weed from taking hold is a pre-emergent herbicide application in spring. You must mow your lawn regularly to keep this weed in check.

creeping roots

Dandelions

Dandelions are common and well-known. The weed can be identified by its long, bright yellow flowers and its puffball seed bearers. The stems are leafless and grow from the center of the prostrate rosette. Their root systems are deep and can damage the soil and the surrounding plants. They are also capable of multiplying quickly.

Type

Perennial broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Hand-pulling is effective; however, the entire plant should be pulled out. Because dandelions germinate quickly, pre-emergent herbicides seem to be ineffective. Post-emergent applications work well in reducing their spread, but they should be applied properly.

Dandelions

Dallisgrass

Dallisgrass, otherwise known as sticky heads, appears much like bluegrass, but it has green seed pods that are higher, larger, and thicker, making them droop. While dallisgrass doesn’t creep, over time, its clumped mat tends to get bigger. This grassy weed is active during the warmer times of the year. It spreads through seeds and their short, thick rhizomes.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

Pre-emergent herbicide application in early spring or late winter before the seeds of dallisgrass germinate is an effective control method.

grass clippings dallis grass

Chickweed

Chickweed is a low-growing weed with star-shaped white flowers and large, egg-shaped, smooth leaves with pointed ends. It likes moist places with poor drainage, and it often invades gardens and lawns.

As this weed species prefers cool weather, it is most active in the spring and autumn months. Chickweed can spread quickly, so it is important to remove it as soon as it shows up.

Type

Annual

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Control

Chickweed spreads too quickly in moist lawns that are mowed low to the ground. To prevent its growth, use your mower blade to remove it and avoid over-watering the lawn in the autumn season.

low growing grassy weed

Henbit

Henbit is a low-growing, erect weed that grows up to 16 inches tall. The weed can be identified by the small, tubular, purple flowers developing from the hairy upper surface of the leaves. The root system is fibrous. This weed species is capable of spreading quickly, and taking over areas of your lawn, especially if the turf is weak. 

Type

Annual Broadleaf

Family

Lamiaceae

Control

Roundup works well to control henbit, but care should be taken to apply it only when the plant is in its active growth stage. Other ways to control this weed are to keep your lawn healthy by means of regular watering and fertilization. Besides, pre-emergent herbicides can also be used to prevent new weeds from germinating.

Henbit

Creeping Charlie

Also known as ground ivy, this weed species is not easy to get rid of once it gains traction. It forms mats that can erode your topsoil and deprive your root system of nutrients and moisture. The plant can spread through roots, seeds, and even stems! Its creeping stems are several feet long and root at nodes. Creeping Charlie grows well in moist shade.

Type

Perennial

Family

Lamiaceae

Control

A post-emergent broadleaf herbicide can effectively control the creeping Charlie invasion. Products containing dicamba, triclopyr, and 2,4-D can be used to control this weed without harming the turfgrass. For optimum results, carry out the treatment when the plant shows active growth (April to June).

turf grasses

Foxtail

This weed species resembles grass. Its leaf blades are broad, and its stems bear 3-10-inch-long flower spikes. The dense seed production and rapid growth of foxtail allow it to quickly take over unmaintained gardens and lawns. The weed is not just irritating but dangerous. When a foxtail seed gets embedded in a dog’s body, it can cause a serious infection that can lead to death if neglected.

Type

Annual Grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

The most effective way to deal with this weed is to prevent it before it starts. To get rid of established foxtail, apply a crabgrass pre-emergent in the spring season. It works by preventing foxtail and various other grassy weeds from sprouting. 

Foxtail

Clover

Clover is a low-growing weed with creeping stems and small white flowers. It can be easily identified by the small, round leaves that have a unique clover-like odor when crushed. Clover thrives in moist soil and grows in partial shade or full sun.

This weed species often invade lawns, gardens, and other areas and it is really challenging to control it, mainly because of its rapid germination capabilities.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Apiaceae

Control

A well-maintained, healthy lawn prevents clover from growing and spreading in your lawn. Applying a pre-emergent herbicide in the autumn is an effective way to control clover invasion. If clover has taken hold, you can use post-emergent herbicides to control it. Using a mulching mower can also be considered to grind the weed down, thereby reducing its spread.

indigenous weed species

Thistle

Thistles ruin the appearance of any lawn. Besides, their spiky leaves can hurt. The weed can be identified by its tall cluster of spiky stems, bearing large purple flowers. Thistles can be eliminated easily by removing the root system completely, which is best done by a professional.

Type

Annual

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Thistle seedlings have spines or bristles on their leaves, so the moment a seedling shows up, pull it out before the roots are set. Herbicides can be used effectively in late summer or early autumn to control larger thistles.

Thistle

Wild violets

This wood species is a low-growing weed with small, pansy-like flowers in white, lilac, or violet and heart-shaped leaves. Wild violets thrive in moist soil.

These weeds are stubborn and difficult to eliminate. They come back each year and can spread easily through seeds and roots. Besides, they are intrusive and hostile and tend to creep into yards and flowerbeds.

Type

Annual or Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Violaceae

Control

It is not easy to control wild violets, mainly because of their spreading underground roots. A pre-emergent herbicide application in early spring or autumn is an effective method to prevent these plants from growing and spreading. Besides, keeping the lawn healthy and strong through regular mowing will keep wild violets away.

Wild Violets

Spotted Spurge

Spotted spurge is a common Texas weed that is dark green, red-stemmed, and mat-like, growing close to the ground. Its most distinguishing characteristic is a red or maroon spot found in the middle of each leaf.

Its dense, creeping stems ooze a milky fluid when they are broken. Deep root systems and poor soil health seem to fuel this weed species. It is capable of quickly spreading throughout a garden or lawn.

Type

Annual

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Control

To prevent the spotted spurge from spreading, you should get rid of it right before the seeds form. Established weeds can be controlled using post-emergent herbicides, especially those containing combinations of MCPP, 2,4-D, fluoroxypyr, and dicamba. A few pre-emergent herbicides can control the weed from seed but will not have any effect on emerging plants. So, it is recommended that professional help be sought to choose the herbicide.

common lawn weeds

Nutsedge

This weed species can be easily identified by its bright green leaves with sharp edges and yellow flowers. The flowers emerge from “nuts” or spikes at the top of the plant. The weed thrives in moist soil and is capable of spreading rapidly throughout lawns and gardens.

There are multiple tubers in a single plant, which makes it difficult to control. It’s because when a single tuber is pulled, it activates the dormant tubers, eventually increasing the number of plants.

Type

Perennial Grass

Family

Cyperaceae

Control

Nutsedge invasion can be controlled by regular maintenance of your lawn or garden. It is important to maintain appropriate mowing and watering schedules. Furthermore, applying a post-emergent herbicide to established nutsedge plants is an effective treatment. It is important to apply the herbicide when the weed is in its active growth stage. A follow-up application is also necessary.

Nutsedge

Plantain

This is a low-growing weed that spreads outward from the center. The presence of this plant is a clear sign of an ignored lawn. Its wide, green leaves grow in a circular arrangement. While plantain prefers heavily trafficked areas, it is a tough weed capable of surviving in almost any condition.

Type

Perennial Broadleaf

Family

Plantaginaceae

Control

As plantain thrives in compacted soil, core aeration should be done on your lawn every year to control it. Besides, the application of post-emergent herbicides that target broadleaf weeds is an effective treatment to control this stubborn weed.

Plantain

Quackgrass

Quackgrass grows erect and reaches a height of up to 3.5 feet. As it largely resembles crabgrass and ryegrass, it may be difficult to distinguish. However, it can be identified by its tufted growth style and the broad, tapered leaf blades with clasping auricles. This cool-season grass weed spreads actively by rhizomes. Often referred to as the “bully of all weeds,” it not only pushes out lawn grass but other weeds as well.

Type

Perennial

Family

Poaceae

Control

The weed’s perennial nature and its well-developed rhizome system make it difficult to remove mechanically. Digging up the infested patches including a few inches of the soil and replacing the removed soil with new topsoil followed by reseeding proves to be effective. An effective herbicide can be used to control the isolated patches of the weed in the lawn and fields. 

pre emergent weed control

Purslane

Purslane is a low-growing weed with star-shaped yellow flowers. Its stems are red with small, green paddle-shaped leaves. The plant is technically a succulent; in other words, it can survive in extreme heat and dry climates. The weed almost covers the ground and pushes out any plant that gets in its way.

Type

Annual

Family

Portulacaceae

Control

While you can remove purslane by hand-pulling or using chemical control methods, professionals often do not recommend hand-pulling, because even if a small portion of the root or stem is left behind, the weed will start growing again. If you intend to remove by hand, do so when the plant is young to avoid seeds from spreading. 

 

Soil solarization is an effective method to control purslane. The practice involves using a clear plastic sheet to cover the moist soil for 4-6 weeks during the summer. It kills the weed and its seed. Solarization should be done before the desired plants are planted.

Purslane

Prostrate knotweed

This weed species is another common weed in Texas that grows well in poor soil. It can be identified by its slender, branched, wiry stems that form mats and the tiny white-to-green blooms with pinkish margins. The prostrate knotweed grows in wastelands and fields all year and flowers from June to October.

Type

Annual

Family

Polygonaceae

Control

The prostrate knotweed thrives in compacted soils where oxygen diffusion is low. Therefore, soil aeration techniques can be used to make soil conditions less favorable for the weed to grow. At any cost, you should avoid future compaction. A pre-emergent herbicide can also be applied before seed germination for the best results.

weed control

Wood sorrel

This weed species is a low-growing plant that is a common sight in Texas. Wood sorrel can be identified by its long stem with three heart-shaped leaflets attached to its tip. The green to purple leaves often close and fold downward. If not controlled and eliminated, wood sorrel can spread rapidly. 

Type

Perennial

Family

Oxalidaceae

Control

Controlling germinating seeds and removing established plants are the best ways to manage wood sorrel. Established plants can be controlled by hand-weeding, post-emergent herbicides, and hand cultivation using hoes and weeding tools. It is important to control these plants before the flowering period.

Yellow Wood Sorrel
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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