They germinate in fall, survive the winter, and wreak havoc on your lawn in the spring. Even when you can’t see them, winter annual weeds lurk underground waiting to take over the lawn when the warmer weather arrives. Now is the time to tackle these weeds! Arm yourself with knowledge to beat these persistent plants before they become a problem.

What Are Winter Annual Weeds?

Weeds fall into three life cycle categories: annual, biennial, and perennial. Annuals are defined by a year-long life cycle in which the seed germinates in fall, overwinters as a plant, and rapidly grows as soon as the weather warms in spring. These hardy weeds survive cold temperatures and harsh weather in the winter only to die off at the end of summer. But not before they produce tons of seeds to keep the species alive.

Your Usual Suspects

Many winter annual weeds thrive in this area, but here we describe a few of the most common offenders.

  • A member of the mint family, henbit has square-shaped stems topped with pinkish or purple flowers that appear early in springtime.
  • Purple deadnettle is often mistaken for henbit due to similar characteristics. However, this look alike differs in that its stem is fuzzy and hidden behind a thicker covering of leaves. Leaves tend to be spade shaped.
  • Common speedwell boasts blue and white small flowers, oval serrated leaves, and heart-shaped pods that hold hundreds of seeds.
  • Often found in moist shady areas, common chickweed displays white flowers with notched petals. Its bright green leaves are smooth and pointed.

What to Do About These Weeds

The best time to prevent winter annual weeds from growing is in the fall. Use a pre-emergent herbicide, but make sure it targets the weeds you want by checking the label on the package. Ask an expert to help you properly identify the plant. But whatever you do, don’t wait for the pretty little flowers to show up in spring. That means they are ready to set seed and overpopulate your once-healthy lawn.

Weeds won’t thrive in a dense healthy carpet of grass. There’s just no room for them. In order to ward off winter annual weeds, keep your lawn lush and strong with a regular maintenance plan that includes watering, fertilizing, mowing, and aerating. Call in an expert to help. Contact Free Spray Lawn Care today at 419-529-5296.