New York Weeds: Common Weeds Identification

By PropertyClub Team
Aug 10th 2022
Almost every lawn will have a moment where weeds will pop up—even if it’s well-maintained. The moment you see weeds on your lawn is the moment you need to act. Otherwise, your lawn is going to turn into a living nightmare. Here are the most common weeds in NY.

hash-markCommon Weeds in New York

  • Dandelions
  • Creeping Charlie
  • Nutsedge
  • Moss
  • Cinquefoil
  • Broadleaf Plantain
  • Bindweed
  • Purslane
  • Pigweed
  • Chickweed
  • Thistle
  • Ragweed

hash-mark1. Dandelions

The most common weed in NY is dandelion. They’re known for having bright yellow flowers that later turn into white puffballs. While they may be pretty, edible, and child-friendly, they can be a serious nuisance. 

Dandelions tend to push out grass and attract nuisance wildlife like deer. Most herbicides will work well when it comes to getting rid of dandelions, but the truth is that you may need to step up your lawn care if you see them growing in your yard.

If you need to get rid of dandelions in a pinch, use a strong broadleaf herbicide. It’ll kill them off without harming your lawn. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t let your kids blow them when they start to seed!

Removal Difficulty: Easy

hash-mark2. Creeping Charlie

A member of the mint family, Creeping Charlie is known for being dense, thick growth with purple flowers. The leaves of this plant are dark green to light green, with a scalloped appearance. They grow anywhere from two inches to two feet in height. 

If you’re unsure whether you are dealing with Creeping Charlie, pick one of the plants up and smell it. If it has a mint-like smell, this is what you have. Another common name for this pesky perennial plant is ground ivy, primarily because it has a way of spreading that’s very similar to the original stuff. 

Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of bad news with Creeping Charlie. This is considered to be one of the most difficult to remove weeds in the world. It requires deep manual removal as well as chemical removal.

Removal Difficulty: Extremely Difficult

hash-mark3. Nutsedge

At first glance, nutsedge doesn’t look that bad. It looks like grass that has a “pine tree” top filled with little spiky flowers. The actual “grass” portion of this sedge is a bright yellow-green, making it stand out against lawns. The flowers can be yellow or purple. 

Nutsedge’s issue that makes it such a nuisance is that the prickles on the tips of the grass can feel fairly prickly and uncomfortable under feet. With that said, it’s a regular sedge grass type of weed.

Though you can pull these weeds up, the preferred way to get rid of them is through the use of a nutsedge-specific weed killer. Regular organic herbicides won’t work!

Removal Difficulty: Fairly Difficult

hash-mark4. Moss

Moss isn’t always a weed. Sometimes it just grows on the side of a tree. It’s a fuzzy, flat growth that is dark green in appearance. When it grows on the ground, it pushes grass out of the way and starts to compete for nutrients. Thankfully, moss is one of the easiest weeds to get rid of. 

Most types of mosses can be removed by just manually pulling them up. However, most people prefer to just mix a solution of soap and water to spray on the moss. Basic soil conditions can make a huge difference in whether or not moss will grow in your yard.

If you want to prevent or remove moss, spray down the offending plant life with moss killer. Then, aerate your lawn, add more nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and reduce your watering sessions to once a week. You should see this pest vanish. 

Removal Difficulty: Easy

hash-mark5. Cinquefoil

Cinquefoil translates into “five leaves,” and that pretty much gives away one of the most commonly-noted aspects of this plant. They are tiny herbs that have a fair amount of medicinal and cosmetic uses. However, they can turn into an eyesore on lawns and are known for soaking up nutrients. 

Cinquefoils don’t just have five leaves; they have five-petaled yellow (or white) flowers. Though the flowers themselves don’t have much of an aroma in most cases, it’s still a pretty weed to have. Since this genus has over 300 plants in it, the height and specifics can change. Some varieties can grow as tall as 2.5 feet!

Cinquefoil plants are highly resistant to most herbicides, which means you will have to manually pull out the plants if you want to get rid of them. Unfortunately, pulling them out isn’t that simple. If you do not get the taproot out, you will see the cinquefoil regrow sooner than you think. As a result, you may need to dig up part of your garden.

Removal Difficulty: Moderate to Fairly Difficult

hash-mark6. Broadleaf Plantain

Believe it or not, these do not grow banana-like fruit on them. They’re a large green weed that boasts round green leaves shaped like a calla lily. In the center of the plant is a large green stem with small seed-like coverings on them. 

Though these weeds have medicinal properties, they tend to be a mark of poor lawn upkeep. Leaves on this plantain can grow as large as 10 inches in length. Broadleaf plantains are relatively difficult to remove in their entirety since most strains developed immunity to chemical herbicides.

The only real way you can get rid of broadleaf reliably is by manual pulling and careful lawn maintenance. Unlike most other types of weeds, broadleaf plantains are quite resilient when it comes to herbicides. So if you want to remove it, you better roll up your sleeves.

Removal Difficulty: Fairly Difficult to Extremely Difficult

hash-mark7. Bindweed

Bindweed is a close relative of morning glory, and in many ways, closely resembles it. This winding, climbing weed is known for having beautiful trumpet-shaped flowers that are either white or light purple. 

One thing you’ll notice about bindweed is that the stems can grow very long. Some can be as tall as 79 inches or more. Their leaves are very dark green, arrow-shaped, and grow up to two inches in length.

To get rid of bindweed, you will need to cut it directly at the top of the soil. Don’t bother trying to pull out the roots. Keep cutting it until the bindweed dies. Eventually, the roots will lose their ability to keep regrowing. Patience and careful monitoring is the key to destroying this plant.

Removal Difficulty: Moderate

hash-mark8. Purslane

Purslane is an umbrella term for a wide range of herbaceous succulents, some of which are edible, while others are toxic. Purslane has tiny teardrop-shaped leaves that are thick and glossy to the touch. 

If you find them at the right time of year, you also will see small yellow flowers in the center of their brassy red stems. However, most purslane tends to hide its flowers. It’s not uncommon for people to assume they don’t flower at all. 

Purslane is not an easy weed to get rid of, even if you’re a veteran gardener. Manual extraction is the best way to get rid of it, but this can do serious damage to your garden if you’re not careful. To make matters even worse, purslane is known for being able to come back over and over again. 

If you find yourself with purslane and want to use a herbicide, go for a pre-emergent herbicide. Chemicals tend to work best on this plant when they are young or not actually about to sprout.

Removal Difficulty: Moderate to Fairly Difficult

hash-mark9. Pigweed

Pigweed is yet another umbrella term, with this one referring to over 20 different shrubby plants that were once used to feed pigs. These are large, leafy plants with bright cascading flowers in colors like maroon, crimson, and even bold oranges. 

Most parts of pigweed are edible, making them one of the less dangerous weeds in your garden. However, they can still be an eyesore and have a natural tendency to take over a garden if left to their own devices. 

To get rid of pigweed, you have to cut the stems off at the base. If the seeds of the pigweed are mature, you also have to bag up the pigweed and burn it. Otherwise, the seeds will spread like wildfire. 

Removal Difficulty: Fairly Difficult

hash-mark10. Chickweed

Though it’s not the same thing as pigweed, chickweed has its fair share of similarities to the above-mentioned weed. For example, chickweed has a somewhat bushy appearance too, though its leaves are slightly more spoon-shaped. It has hairy stems and leaves, unlike pigweed. 

Chickweed is edible, though most people don’t prefer the flavor. It has small white flowers and can grow up to 18 inches. It prefers poorly nourished lawns, which is why it’s not that big a deal compared to other weeds. This weed can easily be pulled out if need be.

While it is possible to get some chickweed herbicides, this is best removed through manual means. Pulling out these weeds is fairly easy since the roots don’t cling as hard as others. 

Removal Difficulty: Easy

hash-mark11. Thistle

A classic food for mules, horses, and other large animals, thistle is most commonly known for having spikes that make it painful to the touch. The most common thistle type has a large, bulbous purple flower that sits atop a spiny, light green stem. 

If you’re Scottish, you already probably know what a thistle looks like. It’s the national plant of Scotland and is regularly found throughout the countryside. This weed is rather painful to remove by hand, so if you want to pull it out, make sure to wear a pair of sturdy gloves.

Thistle is a pest to get rid of, even among diehard gardeners. The easiest way to do it is to keep cutting the thistle at the base of the plant. If you keep doing it, it’ll die off. Using your hands to remove thistle is not encouraged since it can cause blistering. A thistle removal tool is a far better option.

Removal Difficulty: Moderate to Fairly Difficult

hash-mark12. Ragweed

Ragweed is the bane of any person who has an iota of allergies, primarily because it’s so heavily pollinated. Ragweed has bold, light green leaves that are reminiscent of a fern as well as yellow flowers. It’s often mistaken for goldenrod, and rightfully so. They both have striking yellow flowers.

A very common allergen, a single ragweed plant can create up to a billion pollen grains, all of which will hit the wind. If you’re sniffling and snuffling, then it’s safe to say you probably have ragweed. It can be manually and chemically removed, thankfully.

The good news about ragweed is that this plant tends to be pretty susceptible to herbicides. It’s best to strike when they’re young, but even more mature plants will be able to get killed off with a more potent herbicide. 

Removal Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

hash-markGot A Plant You Don’t Recognize?

While we’ve gone over the common NY weeds, the truth is that this is just a fraction of the many different weeds that could be growing in your garden. So don’t be shocked if you find a weed that’s more local than anything else. 

Regardless of what kind of plants you find growing on your lawn, the best way to treat them is fast. As soon as you see weeds, it’s time to start stomping them out. If you cannot tame your weed problem on your own, don’t panic. A quick call to your local lawn care company will help you figure out your best course of action.