The best way of controlling common weeds in Virginia is to identify them and learn more about their life cycle before applying the right removal strategy.
You can also control the most common weeds in Virginia by minimizing soil disturbance.
When you cultivate or dig the ground, it tends to bring more seeds to the surface. If exposed to the sun or light, the seeds will germinate and cause more problems.
Since different weeds have different removal methods, a more practical way of getting rid of unwanted plants on your lawn or garden is to identify them.
Here are some weeds you will see in most areas of Virginia (with pictures and scientific names) and how to remove them.
1. Annual Bluegrass – Poa annua
The annual bluegrass is a widespread, low-growing turfgrass that is common in temperate climates. It has a fibrous rootstock, and its stem can grow to a height of 25 centimeters.
Its leaves are short, blunt at the tips, smooth above and below, and vivid green.
Annual bluegrass is invasive or weedy. When it grows in your area, the best way of controlling it is to withhold water until it shows drought stress.
You can also use pre-emergent herbicides to limit its germination, but you must apply them before the seeds germinate.
2. Common chickweed – Stellaria media
The common chickweed is an annual or perennial flowering plant germinating in the autumn or late winter and forming large mats of foliage.
When it comes to weed identification, you will know you are dealing with the plant because it has a weak, slender stem with oval leaves and small white flowers.
You will find the weed in lawns and areas of partial shade to sun in moist soil.
Common chickweed needs seeds to reproduce. To keep it away from your lawn, you need to mow from time to time to prevent the spread of its seeds. While a weed killer may help, choose one that is selective to avoid harming your grass.
3. Common Blue Violet – Viola sororia
The common blue violet is a short-stemmed herbaceous perennial plant that self-seeds freely in lawns and gardens.
Its leaves and flowers emerge directly from the rhizomes and form a basal rosette. In suitable growing conditions, the weed tends to multiply in numbers and is thus considered invasive.
As one of Virginia’s many common blue violet weeds, it has a taproot system that makes it easy to remove.
You can kill it selectively on large lawns using broadleaf-based herbicides such as 2,4-D or Dicamba. The best time to remove it is during the fall.
4. Corn Speedwell – Veronica arvensis
Corn speedwell is an annual flowering plant that grows as a weed in gardens, waste places, cultivated land, and pastures.
It has hairy leaves and can grow to a height of 40 centimeters from the taproot. You can also identify the plant because of its small and weak stem with rounded and toothed lower leaves.
Classified among invasive weeds in Virginia, you can control it using specific broadleaf herbicides. A pre-emergent or post-emergent weed killer that combines triclopyr and dicamba can be useful it eliminating the plant.
5. Creeping Charlie – Glechoma hederacea
The creeping Charlie is a perennial plant considered to be an aggressive weed of lawns and woodlands.
When trying to identify weeds by photo, you will notice the plant has round, kidney, or fan-shaped crenate opposed leaves. It tends to spread by seed and comes in variable sizes, depending on the environmental conditions in which it is growing.
Since the plant spreads by seeds, it is exceptionally challenging to eradicate it. It has an extensive root system, which means you cannot remove it through hand pulling.
The only way to kill creeping charlie is by using a horticultural herbicide.
6. Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale
The dandelion is a herbaceous perennial plant known for its yellow flower heads.
It grows in temperate regions in lawns, on disturbed banks, on waterways, on roadsides, and in areas with moist soils.
As a weed, it sprouts from unbranched taproots and produces several stems that can reach 40 centimeters in height.
When the dandelion grows on your lawn, you can eliminate it using a broadleaf herbicide. Uprooting it may not offer a better solution because of its taproot system that will grow back.
7. Hairy bittercress – Cardamine hirsute
The hairy bittercress is an annual or biennial plant whose seeds germinate in the fall and remain green throughout the winter.
It flowers in the spring and often grows a rosette of leaves at the base of its stem. Its stem is hairless, and the leaves do not clasp on it.
If the plant is growing on your lawn, chemical control is the best option for eradicating it.
Use a pre-emergent herbicide in the late summer before its seeds germinate. A post-emergent weed killer can also work when applied to young and actively growing weeds.
8. Wild Garlic – Allium vineale
The wild garlic is a perennial, bulb-forming noxious weed with a strong garlic odor. It has a fibrous outer layer with a stem that grows up to 120 centimeters. Its leaves are slender and waxy in texture.
Wild garlic is among the many grass weeds in Virginia. You must dig it out deep and wide from the ground to eliminate it.
You can also apply a selective herbicide for a long-lasting solution.
9. Purple Deadnettle – Lamium purpureum
The purple deadnettle is an aggressive weed that tends to spread quickly whenever it invades a yard or garden.
As an annual plant, it grows in the winter and germinates in the spring or fall. You will find it in thin grass because it thrives in this environment.
You can identify the deadnettle because of its square stem with an umbrella or small and light-purples flowers. It also has pointed leaves that appear red to purple and are one inch long.
As one of the many lawn weeds in Virginia, you can control it by growing a healthy, thick yard and applying enough fertilizer. Pre-emergent herbicide is also useful to apply before its germination.
10. White Clover – Trifolium repens
The white clover is a herbaceous perennial plant sometimes used as a forage crop. It is common in most grassy areas, including lawns and gardens.
It produces heads of whitish flowers with trifoliolate, smooth elliptic to egg-shaped and long-petioled leaves throughout its growth.
White clovers grow in clumps and are considered among pasture weeds in Virginia.
Thus, natural methods, such as hand-pulling, are the best way of getting rid of the plant. But you must ensure you remove the entire root system to prevent it from re-growth.
Learn more about clover weed removal here.
Some of the common weeds in Virginia include Dandelions, Blue Violets, and Annual Bluegrass, among others. The plants can be annual or perennial and grow in various areas, including yards, disturbed areas, lawns, and gardens.
If these unwanted plants become invasive, you can eradicate them by uprooting or using herbicides.
IW’s Chief Editor and a lover of green spaces.