13 of the Worst Garden Weeds

worst garden weeds

Whether spring, summer, fall, or winter, weeds are always ready to pay your yard a visit. In reality, no matter where you live, weeds will always be on a yard owner’s to-do list.

The only way to keep your lawn from being totally overrun by weeds is to be proactive!

Knowing what you’re up against is the first step, which is why we’ve compiled a list of 13 of the worst garden weeds you may find in your yard.

However, if identifying each weed and learning how each one must be removed seems like a bit much, we don’t blame you! It’s a lot to know if you want to get it right! That’s where a weed control service can step in to save you from the time, stress, and pure frustration of dealing with weeds.

1. Crabgrass

Unattractive, resilient, and quick to take over, crabgrass is a notoriously tough weed to control. Just a single crabgrass plant can produce tens of thousands of seeds – each of which is eager to take flight and spread.

Although the crabgrass plants may die off in the cold of winter, their seeds will lay dormant underground through the season before they burst to life in the spring.

This hardy weed thrives in the hot, dry conditions of the North Texas summer and fall seasons. Found mainly in the sunnier areas of lawns, crabgrass takes over thin and weak spots faster than you can believe.

Maintaining a healthy, thick turf is the first line of defense against crabgrass.

The best way to stop crabgrass from taking over your yard is to proactively apply pre-emergent weed control early in spring. With this preventative measure, you can kill crabgrass before the seeds ever have a chance to germinate.

However, if crabgrass is already spreading across your property, look for a post-emergent product that’s label specifically mentions crabgrass.

Again, this weed is hardy, spreads rapidly, and is tough to eliminate once it’s grown. Contacting a professional lawn care company is definitely your best option for crabgrass control.

2. Annual Bluegrass (poa annua)

Similar to crabgrass, annual bluegrass (also commonly known by its scientific name poa annua) is a grassy weed capable of producing massive amounts of seeds and spreading quickly.

Unlike crabgrass, however, annual bluegrass flourishes in cooler, wetter conditions. In North Texas, this makes it a weed of the fall and winter seasons.

Seeds of this weed begin to germinate in fall, so spreading a pre-emergent product early in autumn is often the most effective means of stopping poa annua.

Weak and thin spots in lawns are especially vulnerable to annual bluegrass. Be sure to keep your lawn strong and healthy with regular aeration, fertilizing, and maintenance.

Post-emergent weed products are available for use on annual bluegrass. However, this plant is on the “worst weeds” list for a reason!

Check with a local lawn care service company to learn how they can expertly tackle this tricky weed for you.

3. Spotted Spurge

Another terrible weed common in Texas is the annual broadleaf spotted spurge. These weeds are highly opportunistic and often grow in weak lawn areas, gaps in gardens, and cracks in cement.

Spurge loves the sunshine and heat of summer and spreads easily via both seeds and their roots.

To help prevent spurge, apply a pre-emergent weed control product when the warmer conditions of spring arrive. This way, you can attack the weed as the seeds begin to germinate.

One unique factor of spotted spurge is the toxic milky sap it excretes when cut. This sappy liquid is a skin irritant for people and can be harmful to some animals. If you attempt to pull this weed, be sure to wear gloves.

Also, be aware that (like many weeds) this weed can spread through broken bits of its roots.

This means that using a post-emergent weed killer or hiring a lawn care company are better removal options than attempting to hand pull.

4. Nutsedge

Nutsedge (or nut grass) is a perennial grass-like weed with multiple types, primarily purple nutsedge and yellow nutsedge.

This hardy, fast-spreading plant thrives in warm and wet conditions, so eliminating excess moisture and improving soil drainage are important preventative and control measures.

Nutsedge grows from underground tubers, each of which can produce hundreds of new tubers and plants, making it very difficult to control.

For control efforts to be effective, the underground tuber must be destroyed. Therefore, mechanical efforts and herbicides need to kill all active and dormant tubers.

It can be difficult for an amateur to correctly time treatments and destroy all tubers. Utilizing the expertise of a professional lawn care company is the best chance of stopping nutsedge.

5. Poison Ivy

There’s a lot of fear and trepidation surrounding this notorious weed. Not only is trying to remove poison ivy a pain of effort and labor, but it can also be a pain to your body.

The toxic oil of this weed can cause a painful and itchy reaction upon contact, even when the plant is pulled and dead.

As unpleasant as it sounds, manually pulling up this treacherous weed is the best means of removal. This weed can spread from broken bits of its root and stem, so take care to remove all of the weed.

Of course, a few safety precautions will be necessary when working near poison ivy. Wear long, protective clothing covering as much skin as possible, including your wrists and ankles.

Wear gloves, and be sure to avoid touching your face!

Use any tools you like for pulling, but be aware that every tool and item of clothing that comes into contact with poison ivy will need to be cleaned.

6. Henbit

Henbit is one of the most common North Texas weeds. It’s a cool-season broadleaf annual that thrives in fertile, moist ground.

This weed also commonly invades weak, thin spots in lawns and spreads out over desirable plants to kill off its competition. Henbit can spread quickly and aggressively, so don’t wait long to fight back!

Henbit causes problems for yards from fall through spring, so be sure to apply a fall pre-emergent product to help prevent it.

However, if you already have henbit, your best treatment option is to hire a lawn care company to professionally treat this aggressive weed with a broadleaf post-emergent product.

7. Dandelion

Well known all across the United States, dandelions have both fans and haters. However, no matter how you feel about this yellow-flowered plant, make no mistake; it is a weed.

This resilient weed can easily spread thousands of seeds in no time. It takes over fast and tends to just keep coming back again and again.

Being proactive with dandelion control is a must. If you wait till summer when these weeds start to sprout their white fluffy seed heads, you’ll be sorry.

Pulling these weeds can be successful given that you remove every bit of this plant’s deep taproot and that you do not spread its seeds. Dandelions also prefer to grow in open, sunny areas with less competition and extra space, so maintaining a thick healthy turf can help keep them away.

Dandelions can be treated with a post-emergent weed control product. However, any products used must penetrate down to the taproot to destroy it. Contact a local lawn care company to help you get it right.


Dallisgrass is not only a troublesome weed; it’s darn near impossible to shake off.

This weed is tough to control due to its aggressive reproductive methods, including spreading seeds, growing from rhizomes (part of the roots system), and growing using creeping stems (known as stolons).

This weed prefers developed, wet environments and can produce masses of seeds from late spring to early fall.

However, the big problem with this one is that you can’t simply pop down to the store for an herbicide.

Due to restrictions on the use of some herbicides, the post-emergent products labeled for use on dallisgrass can only be applied on golf courses, sod farms, and right-of-way locations.

As a result, companies cannot treat dallisgrass with post-emergent herbicides in the excluded residential and commercial sites.

The best way to rid your property of dallisgrass is through preventative pre-emergent herbicide treatments. However, be aware that maintaining thick, healthy turf can also be very helpful in preventing any and all weeds.

If you find a clump of dallisgrass in your yard, you can also try pulling it, but know that any bits of root, stem, or seed that you miss can grow into new weeds.

9. Rescuegrass

Rescuegrass is a winter annual weed that can burden yards throughout the cooler seasons. This weed can be tough to spot in grassy areas, but you should do your best to try!

Once this weed takes over, it can be pretty tricky to control.

Rescuegrass can reproduce from its many seeds or from fragments of its root system, making hand pulling a less ideal control method. To avoid this weed, you can apply a pre-emergent weed product in the fall as they begin to germinate.

There are also post-emergent products available to attack mature rescue grass. Still, your best option is to go with a lawn care company for this weed.

10. Thistle

Most people are familiar with at least one of the many prickly, perennial thistle varieties. This weed produces puffy seed heads, each of which can spread thousands of seeds in the wind.

To get this challenging weed under control, you must be proactive and attack before the seed heads form.

This year be sure to add thistle to your winter weed prevention list!

Your best option for thistle removal is to apply an herbicide while the weed is still in its low, ground cover stage. This will be around late fall through mid-spring.

However, some thistle species are known to be resistant to herbicides, so check with a lawn care company for confirmation on the removal method.

11. Clover

Unless you’re hoping to make a wish on one with four leaves, clovers are not a friend of yard owners. Clover is a broadleaf weed with many varieties.

Clover can spread by both seed and their stems. This weed is commonly found in lawns that are malnourished and hungry for nutrients – i.e., yards that need fertilizer!

One of the best ways to keep this weed at bay is to maintain a healthy, weed-free lawn with proper lawn care and fertilizer routines.

However, if clover has already come to visit, many effective post-emergent weed killers are available to help. You can also attempt to pull this weed, but you must be sure to remove it all, or the effort will be futile.

12. Ground Ivy

Ground ivy is aggressive and can spread in lawns very quickly. This perennial weed can easily grow new plants year after year from even the smallest fragment of plant left behind on the ground.

Naturally, it can be tough to get every single bit when hand pulling, which makes removal problematic.

If hand-pulling is still the way you want to go, try your best to get every piece of plant and consider adding a thick layer of mulch to the area if possible.

However, your best option is to apply a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide specifically labeled for use on ground ivy.

13. Common Chickweed

Common chickweed is one of the few weeds on this list that can boast some positive attributes. Under the right conditions, not only can this weed be edible but even used in some medicinal herbs!

However, if you’re more in tune with the majority of homeowners who do not enjoy this weed’s presence, then you should stop this weed early on.

Chickweed prefers the cool, moist, shaded spots in lawns and can be rather effectively prevented by proper lawn care maintenance.

Applying a pre-emergent weed product in the fall when chickweed germinates is also a successful prevention measure. If you already have chickweed present in your yard, you can consider pulling the weeds so long as you remove every bit.

Professional lawn care companies also have great success at chickweed removal with their post-emergent weed-killing products.

Expert Weed Control with Gecko Green

Gecko Green has you taken care of for your year-round lawn care needs with the best products, best technicians, and best customer service around.

For total control against unwanted weeds and grasses, we offer bed weed control service in North Texas.

Our knowledgeable technicians use their extensive knowledge of the Texas climate, local plants, and risks to control and prevent unwanted weeds in your landscape. This way, you can enjoy your yard as it’s meant to be!

Request a free lawn care quote today!