Perennial Broadleaf Weeds in Lawns
Click for larger image Cluster of dandelion flowers demonstrating the beauty of some weeds

Some of the most common perennial broadleaf weeds in Missouri lawns include bindweed, chicory, creeping bellflower, dandelion, ground ivy, mouseear chickweed, plantain, thistle, violets, and white clover. They differ from annual weeds in that they continue to grow year after year and once established, they are not affected by preemergent herbicides.

NOTE: See separate sheets for more information on controlling violets, yellow nutsedge, or wild garlic and onions.

Integrated Pest Management Strategies

1. Hand dig or spot treat. If only a few weeds are present, hand dig the weeds with a forked tool to cut the root off well below ground level. You can also spot treat using glyphosate (Roundup, Kleenup) or the chemicals listed below. Since glyphosate (Roundup, Kleenup) is NOT selective, it will also kill any grass you get it on so apply very carefully. This method works best with weeds such as thistle or large plantain plants. The herbicide can also be brushed on individual weeds, avoiding the grass. NOTE: 2,4-D products listed below used according to label directions will not damage grass caught in the overspray.

2. Use chemical herbicides. When problem areas are too large for spot treating, hose-end products are the easiest for homeowners to use. Garden centers and hardware stores carry many different brands that contain various combinations of 2,4- D, MCPA, MCPP, and dicamba, weed killers that control broadleaf weeds. First establish the identity of the weeds, then check product labels to determine which herbicide best controls the weeds you have. Then, be sure and follow label directions. Some weeds may require more than one application. Perennial weeds are best killed when they are actively growing, which is usually in spring and fall. Herbicides applied in the summer are usually less effective.

3. Shade out the weeds. Areas of weeds can also be killed by covering the affected areas with black plastic, felt paper, boards, or cardboard until the weeds are dead. This will kill all plants that are shaded, including both desirable and undesirable perennial grasses. This may take several weeks. The killed areas will need to be tilled and reseeded or sodded at a later date.

(The following Weed ID pages linked to with permission of UMass Extension.)

Weed ID links Weed ID links Weed ID links
Achillea millefolium (yarrow) Hieracium pratense (hawkweed) Rumex acetosella (sorrel, red/sheep sorrel)
Alliaria petiolata (mustard, garlic)


Allium vineale (garlic, wild) Hypericum perforatum (St. Johnswort) Rumex crispus (dock, curly)
Apocynum cannabinum (dogbane, hemp) Lespedeza virginica (bush clover, slender) Rumex obtusifolius (dock, broadleaf)
Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) Lotus corniculatus (trefoil, birdfoot) Saponaria officinalis (bouncingbet)
Asclepias syriaca (milkweed, common) Lathyrus latifolius (peavine, everlasting) Silphium perfoliatum (cupplant)
Calystegia sepium (bindweed, hedge) Lysimachia nummularia (moneywort) Solanum carolinense (horsenettle)
Cerastium vulgatum (chickweed, mouseear) Lysimachia ciliata (loosestrife, fringed) Solanum dulcamara (nightshade, bittersweet)
Chenopodium ambrosioides (mexicantea) Lythrum salicaria (loosestrife, purple) Sonchus oleraceus (sowthistle, annual)
Tanacetum vulgare (tansy) Mirabilis nyctaginea (four-o'clock, wild) Solidago canadensis (goldenrod, Canada)
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (daisy, oxeye) Ornithogalum umbellatum (star-of-bethlehem) Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk-cabbage, common)
Cichorium intybus (chicory) Oxalis stricta (woodsorrel, yellow) Taraxacum officinale (dandelion)
Cirsium arvense (thistle, Canada) Petasites hybridus (butterbur) Tovara virginiana (knotweed, Virginia)
Cicuta maculata (waterhemlock, spotted) Phytolacca americana (pokeweed, common) Trifolium pratense (clover, red)
Clematis virginiana (virgin's bower) Plantago lanceolata (plantain, narrowleaf) Trifolium repens (clover, white)
Convolvulus arvensis (bindweed, field) Plantago major (plantain, broadleaf) Typha latifolia (cattail, common)
Coronilla varia (crownvetch, trailing) Polygonum cuspidatum (knotweed, Japanese) Urtica dioica (nettle, stinging)
Euphorbia cyparissias (spurge, cypress) Prunella vulgaris (healall) Valeriana officinalis (valerian, common)
Eupatorium capillifolium (dogfennel) Pteridium aquilinum (brackenfern) Verbena hastata (vervain, blue)
Eupatorium dubium (joe-pye weed, eastern) Potentilla recta (cinquefoil, sulfur) Verbesina alternifolia (wingstem)
Eupatorium fistulosum (joe-pye weed, hollow-stemmed) Ranunculus abortivus (buttercup, smallflower) Veronica officinalis (speedwell, common)
Eupatorium maculatum (joe-pye weed, spotted) Ranunculus acris (buttercup, tall) Veronica serpyllifolia (speedwell, thymeleaf)
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) Ranunculus bulbosus (buttercup, bulbous) Vicia cracca (vetch, bird)
Eupatorium rugosum (snakeroot, white) Ranunculus repens (buttercup, creeping) Viola arvensis (violet, field)
Glechoma hederacea (ground ivy) Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed susan)  
Hieracium aurantiacum (hawkweed, orange)    
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke)    
Hesperis matronalis (damesrocket)    

Organic Strategies

Strategy 3 is a strictly organic approach. Hand digging, as suggested in Strategy 1, is an organic approach.

More images:

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Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is a weed in the Solanaceae family and can carry diseases to other members of the family; such as, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.
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Note the spines on the stem of this carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) and the tomato-like fruit; it is particularly toxic to horses and cattle.
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Queen Anne's lace (Daucus),also called wild carrot, is a biennial weed.
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Queen Anne's lace(Daucus), also called wild carrot, is a biennial weed.
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Indian mock-strawberry (Duchesnea indica
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Close-up of dandelion bloom
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Dandelions are native plants but most homeowners would consider them weeds.
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Bird's foot trefoil (Lotus); a perennial weed
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Close-up of the flower of bird's foot trefoil; a perennial weed
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Flowers and elongated seed pods of crownvetch (Securigera varia), a perennial broadleaf weed that can spread rapidly
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Crownvetch (Securigera varia) in flower, a perennial broadleaf weed that can spread rapidly
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Flower of red clover (Trifolium pratense); a perennial weed of lawns and gardens
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Trifoliate leaf of red clover (Trifolium pratense); a perennial weed of lawns and gardens
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Red clover (Trifolium pratense); a perennial weed of lawns and gardens
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Mature fruit of common pokeweed (Phytolacca)
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Immature flower clusters on common pokeweed (Phytolacca)
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Before blooming dandelions, common weeds in lawns and gardens, form a low-growing rosette of leaves
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Dandelion in bloom, a common perennial weed in lawns and gardens
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Broadleaf plantain is a common weed in lawns and gardens.
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Clover, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Dandelion, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Field bindweed is a common weed in lawns, gardens, and farm fields.
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Field bindweed is a common weed in lawns, gardens, and farm fields.
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Honeyvine milkweed, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Honeyvine milkweed, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Honeyvine milkweed, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Honeyvine milkweed, a common weed in lawns and gardens
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Common pokeweed (Phytolacca) is a herbaceous perennial that can reach 10 feet in height.
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Fading flowers and immature fruit of common pokeweed (Phytolacca)
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White clover in a zoysis grass lawn
Pests and Problems

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