Even though it’s still winter, we’ll be swapping winter jackets for hoodies and trading snow shovels for lawn mowers soon. With the arrival of spring comes lovely blooms, green grass, and annoying weeds. Keep an eye out for these common weeds that run rampant in Nebraska lawns every spring.
5 Nebraska Weeds You Can Stop With Weed Prevention
1. Foxtail (Setaria spp.)
Also known as wild millet, foxtail is an annual grassy weed found across the US. Growing in tall, upright bunches, it’s easy to identify foxtail by its characteristic seed head, which, as you might have guessed, resembles a fox’s bushy tail. These seed heads can be anywhere from three to ten inches in length. The leaf base is covered in fine hairs. They tolerate a wide variety of soil conditions, ranging from extremely dry to very moist. Foxtail is often mistaken for timothy, but observing whether the seed head is droopy is an easy way to distinguish the two. Timothy seed heads remain straight and tall, while foxtail seed heads often droop.
2. Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)
Crabgrass is the common name for a genus of weeds that are infamous for plaguing lawns. Crabgrass comes in both annual and perennial varieties, and it reproduces through seeds and a robust root system – making it one of the toughest weeds to eradicate in lawns. Though it thrives in summer, applying a good pre-emergent product in spring will knock it out before it has a chance to germinate. If it does manage to slip through the first line of defense, don’t worry. Post-emergent products have proven successful in killing this annoying grassy weed.
3. Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)
Honeysuckle is considered an invasive species. Originally imported from Asia in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant, honeysuckle was also used to prevent soil erosion. Unfortunately, the plant quickly spread and took over natural areas. Like many weeds, honeysuckle is highly adaptable, tolerating conditions from excessively shady to wet to dry. Honeysuckle leaves are oval with a tapered tip and up to 3.5″ long. They produce white, yellow, or pinkish flowers, which turn into red-orange berries. These fruits are highly attractive to birds, who help spread this weed by eating the berries and spreading the seeds when they defecate.
4. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, garlic mustard is becoming an increasing problem for lawns across the state. Originally native to Europe, where it’s used for culinary purposes, it first reached the US in the 1860s. Garlic mustard reproduces through seeds and begins germinating in the spring. It forms small rosettes with either oblong or round leaves. If not eradicated from the lawn, it can reach up to 3.5 feet in height. This towering stalk produces white flower clusters. Both the stem and leaf petioles can be hairy. Garlic mustard likes shaded areas. Unfortunately, garlic mustard has nothing to worry about when it comes to wild animals. Because of its pungent taste, wild animals don’t bother with it.
In fact, it’s been reported that deer will eat around garlic mustard, leaving it intact and consequently providing plenty of space for it to grow without competition from other plants. Seeds produced by garlic mustard typically germinate in one or two years, but they are viable for up to 7 years, which is yet another example of why lawn fertilization and weed control are so important. When grass is healthy and can procure nutrients, weeds can’t compete. And when you apply pre-emergent weed control, seeds that may have been lurking for many years will die off before they have a chance to rear their ugly heads.
5. Yellow Wood Sorrel (Oxalis stricta)
Yellow wood sorrel has many aliases. You might have also heard it called:
- Ladies’ sorrel
- Sheep sorrel
- Yellow oxalis
- Upright yellow-sorrel
- Lemon clover
- Pickle plant
- Sour trefoil
- Fair bells
Yellow wood sorrel leaves are often mistaken for clover as they are also divided into three clusters. However, clover leaves are rounder, while yellow wood sorrel is more angular and heart-like in shape. Flowers produced by yellow wood sorrel are bright yellow, have five petals each, and grow in clusters of one to four flowers. If left to grow unbothered, this weed can reach 20 inches in height.
Get Professional Weed Control Near Omaha
Don’t let spring weeds ruin your lawn! Let the experts at Sunset Lawns rescue your turfgrass from the clutches of annoying weeds! Our weed control program consists of two applications timed, so you enjoy a weed-free lawn from spring to fall. The key to preventing weeds is acting before they have a chance to germinate, so don’t hesitate to give us a call! The sooner we treat your yard, the fewer weeds you’ll see cropping up this year. To learn more about our weed control program or schedule an application, please call 402-537-8030, or you can reach us through our online form here.
Enjoyed this blog? Learn more about the care and maintenance of your yard on our blog page!