Utah Weeds – 15 Most Common

Utah is home to some beautiful lawns, but unfortunately, there are a lot of weeds that sprout up at any time. Weeds ruin the lawn that you’ve worked hard to perfect. To keep your lawn in good shape, it’s crucial that you know the common weeds in Utah, how to identify them, and the control measures. This article is a compilation of the 15 most common weeds found in Utah and their important characteristic features.

extensive root system Kochia

Table of Contents

Utah Weeds

Name of Weed Family
White clover Apiaceae
Thistle Asteraceae
Bentgrass Poaceae
Crabgrass Poaceae
Spurge Euphorbiaceae
Goosegrass​ Poaceae
Annual Bluegrass Poaceae
Violet Violaceae
Bindweed Convolvulaceae
Thistle Asteraceae
Dandelions Asteraceae
Chickweed Caryophyllaceae
Speedwell Plantaginaceae
Grape Hyacinth Asparagaceae
Kochia Amaranthaceae

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 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. For eradicating established weeds, it is important to use a post-emergent herbicide application.

early fall white clover

Thistle

Thistle is a broadleaf weed that can grow to a height of 6 feet. Its flowers are large and rose to purple in color. The leaves are irregularly lobed and tipped with yellow prickles. You can see wing-like structures on the leaves. People identify thistles as prickly plants because of the tiny, sharp prickles that grow on the leaves and stems of the plant.

Type

Annual, Biennial, or Perennial

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Herbicides are perhaps the most affordable and flexible option for thistle control. However, timing is a crucial factor for many herbicides. If applied earlier in the growing season, a few commonly used herbicides are effective in controlling thistles.

thistle on noxious weed list

Bentgrass

Creeping bentgrass is the most commonly found type of bentgrass in Utah. It looks just like any other desirable type of turfgrass. It grows in thick layers. The grass weed features a shallow root system, which means that it will rob the majority of nutrients and water from the roots of other plants in your lawn.

In hot weather, creeping bentgrass turns brown and may appear dead, leaving behind ugly patches all over the lawn. The weed will continue to spread rapidly if ignored.

Type

Perennial grass

Family

Poaceae

Control

The best way to remove creeping bentgrass from the lawn is to use an herbicide containing glyphosate. You have to choose the right herbicide, because non-selective herbicides may kill the desirable turfgrass and other plants in your lawn.

bent grass

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

Spurge

Spurge is a common warm-season weed, usually found in container nurseries. Its flowers are greenish-white. When its leaves or stems are broken, a milky sap exudes. There are several types of spurge including ground spurge and spotted spurge, which are almost similar, having prostrate to ascending stems carrying oblong or round leaves.

The weed species can be commonly found in grasslands, pastures, roadsides, and prairies. It survives in a wide range of soil types. 

Type

Perennial

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Control

You can remove a small patch of spurge effectively by hand-pulling. However, the primary method of dealing with spurges is prevention, because controlling these weeds seems to be hard, especially when the plants have taken root. Various post-emergent herbicides can also be used to control spurge invasions in your garden or lawn.

bright yellow flowers

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

Annual bluegrass

The weed species forms small mats often with basal branching. Its leaves are bright to dark green in color and glabrous. The leaf sheaths are smooth, keeled, compressed, and loosely surround the culm. The weed features fibrous roots. In the springtime, it can be identified by its fuzzy, white seed head. Annual bluegrass thrives in moist areas in full sun. It can be found in fields, lawns, and along roadsides.

Type

Annual

Family

Poaceae

Control

The most effective way to control annual bluegrass is by applying a pre-emergent herbicide. These herbicides tend to create a barrier just below the surface, thereby not allowing the seeds to sprout. You can avoid retention on leaf tissue by irrigating turf right after the application of proper soil incorporation and herbicide application.

Annual Bluegrass

Violet

Violets are distractingly pretty, but cause a lot of damage to the soil. These plants are truly pleasant to look at with vibrant flowers and heart-shaped leaves, however, their roots are so strong that they overtake the roots of the other desirable plants in the garden.

While the flowers bloom in the spring and wither when the temperature gets hot, the weed and its roots will remain, because it is a perennial plant weed.

Type

Perennial

Family

Violaceae

Control

The best way to keep violets under control is to maintain a thick and healthy lawn. To get rid of established weeds, use a broadleaf weedkiller containing Dicamba or 2,4-D. It will selectively eradicate the violets without causing damage to other plants or turfgrass.

Wild Violets

Bindweed

Bindweed is a climbing vine that can get out of control. It is often confused with morning glory, due to its pretty, lilac-colored, trumpet-shaped flowers. The climbing weed wraps itself around any structure it gets a hold of. It is capable of completely covering the other plants, depriving them of sunlight, and eventually choking them. Bindweed prefers dry soils.

Type

Perennial

Family

Convolvulaceae

Control

As bindweed prefers dry soil, you can control the growth of bindweed by watering the flower beds and garden regularly. To manage a large bindweed infestation, start by irrigating the area. When the weeds grow well, treat the area with glyphosate application before planting desirable plants. After that, use a mulch or pre-emergent herbicide to control the regrowth of bindweed.

garden beds Bindweed

Thistle

Thistle is a broadleaf weed. There are several types of thistles, most of which are resilient. It can be identified by its shiny, green leaves with white veins and red to pink flowers. Leaves seem to have “wings” or rather flat projections that extend down the stem.

The noxious weeds thrive in sunny, open areas, and it can tolerate an array of conditions, ranging from moist to dry soils. Thistle is normally found in disturbed areas including trails, roadsides, vacant lands, logged areas, cultivated lands, and pastures.

Type

Perennial

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Removing thistle seedlings is simple. Thistle seedlings have spines or bristles on their leaves, so the moment you notice one, pull it out. By doing so, you can prevent the roots from getting established. You can control large thistles by herbicide application in late summer or early autumn. You have to spray the herbicide on the rosettes for maximum efficacy.

Thistle

Dandelions

Dandelions are a popular perennial weed that is hardy. It can withstand freezing temperatures. The dandelion blooms emerge from a single stem. Its flat, spear-shaped leaves produce a milky sap. You can see seed heads emerging from flowers. Children usually pluck this seed head and blow it across the garden, and this is one of the ways the weed quickly spreads its seeds.

The weed species prefers acidic soils. It is not easy to control these weeds because the far-flung seed pods can sprout hundreds of new shoots.

Type

Perennial broadleaf

Family

Asteraceae

Control

Dandelions can be removed by hand-pulling, but the entire plant should be pulled out. These weed plants germinate rapidly, so pre-emergent herbicides don’t work much. Experts recommend post-emergent herbicide applications to minimize the spread of dandelions, however, it should be done properly.

Dandelions

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 season. 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

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

Grape hyacinth

Grape hyacinth is a small, spring bulb. It is characterized by bright blue flowers that appear like a cross between miniature hyacinths and a bunch of grapes. The bell-shaped florets often have a mildly sweet fragrance described as slightly grapey or grassy.

The weed species is usually found in abandoned fields and exposed rocky places. It prefers rich, open, and well-drained soil.

Type

Perennial

Family

Asparagaceae

Control

Grape hyacinth bulbs can be weakened by applying 20 percent horticultural vinegar to their leaves. Using weedkillers is another way to remove grape hyacinth from your space. Follow the instructions on the bottle and carry out the application on a windless, mild day for the best results. 

Grape hyacinth

Kochia

Kochia is an erect weed, growing anywhere between 20 and 150 cm tall. Adult plants have many branches with red-tinged stems. You can find numerous, hairy, pale green leaves. In the autumn, the leaves turn purplish-red. As the plant ages, you can notice its color changing to pale yellow, pink, and eventually dull brown. When the plants die, they break off at the ground level and are blown by the wind, scattering seeds as they travel.

The nasty weed species can be found in pastures, roadsides, landfills, urban dumps, sterile waste areas, and along railroads.

Type

Perennial

Family

Amaranthaceae

Control

Patch mowing or spraying combined with a good herbicide program are effective ways to prevent Kochia from taking root. However, you should watch out for herbicide resistance. Dicamba and Fluoroxypyr are selective herbicides used to control such broadleaf weeds and typically do not injure turfgrass or native plants.

Kochia
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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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