Everything You Need To Know About Broadleaf Weeds

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At Simple Lawns, we understand how frustrating it can be when broadleaf weeds take over your lawn. Broadleaf weeds are more than just an eyesore; they can choke out desirable grasses and plants, leading to a less healthy landscape overall. That’s why our knowledgeable team of experts is here to help you identify and treat these pesky weeds.

Check out this guide for more information on broadleaf weeds in the Portland area, and don’t miss our list of the 10 most common weeds in the Pacific Northwest!

Identifying Broadleaf Weeds


Broadleaf weeds are any type of undesired plant with broad leaves, meaning that their leaves are wider than they are long. They usually have waxy or fuzzy surfaces, and they can range from a few inches tall to several feet in height. Though these wide and flat leaves are the most recognizable characteristic of broadleaf weeds, there are other key characteristics shared by many different weeds in this category. The list below is by no means a definitive guide to all broadleaf weeds, but any species of broadleaf weed will have at least one of these traits that help indicate the type of weed in your yard.

-Leaves are known for their net-like veins and flat, wide blades that are often serrated or lobed.

-Stems are typically slender and long, and many broadleaf weeds spread via stolons that crawl across the top of your soil.

-Root systems often contain central taproot, fibrous roots and rhizomes near the soil surface, or a combination of both.

-Flowers may be produced singularly, or they may be produced in clusters at the ends of stems.

-Seed heads are typically (but not always) delicate and cotton- or oat-like in appearance, emerging after flowers bloom and fully mature.

Where To Look For Broadleaf Weeds


Broadleaf weeds can be found in many places. They are often seen in lawns, gardens, and even growing along the sides of roads. Broadleaf weeds need plenty of sun and water to grow, so they tend to do well in open areas that receive a good deal of watering or rainfall. Your lawn is certainly a good place to start looking for weeds to remove, but remember that many resilient broadleaf weeds can even grow in narrow sidewalk cracks. Once established and matured in cement cracks, a weed can easily spread its seeds all across your lawn, meaning even one broadleaf weed growing on your property can lead to a nasty invasion.

These types of weeds also love to take root in flower beds, gardens, tree rings, or anywhere else plants tend to congregate. These areas are the most difficult places to identify broadleaf weeds due to the flowers produced by a mature weed. For example, morning glory flowers are gorgeous additions to any garden or flower bed, but the dreaded field bindweed produces identical flowers that are very often misidentified as morning glories. When weeds like this go undetected, they will quickly drain the natural resources in the soil that your flowers need to survive.

When trying to spot flowering weeds among healthy flowers, look for clusters of similar looking plants to indicate a broadleaf weed infestation on your property. The other defining characteristics of these weeds (aside from flowers) will help you differentiate them.

Life Cycle Of Broadleaf Weeds


-Annual broadleaf weeds can grow in either summer or winter, depending on the species. Summer annuals germinate in spring and mature/set seeds in summer to late fall, while winter annuals germinate in late summer or fall, go dormant over winter, and set seeds in early spring. As these plants live only 1 year, they do not develop overly complex root systems, making them easier to remove before maturing.

-Biennial broadleaf weeds live for about 2 years, as the name would suggest. True biennial weeds develop only stems, leaves, and roots in the first year before going dormant over winter. The weeds will return to life in spring, and produce flowers and seed heads in their second year to spread the invasion before dying.

-Perennial broadleaf weeds, unlike annuals, are more hardy and can return for several years if they are not removed. Different species can grow throughout various seasons and climate conditions, which makes them a much more formidable foe! Perennial weeds develop complex root systems and often develop seed heads, making the spread of these types of weeds twofold and much more difficult to control.

Controlling Broadleaf Weeds


Preventing broadleaf weeds through proper lawn care and gardening practices is always the best way to maintain a healthy yard. Because of the varieties of these weeds and the aggressive ways they can spread, removing established weeds may be challenging. Mowing regularly and slightly higher than normal is a great way to keep your grass healthy while blocking sunlight from germinating weed seeds. Proper fertilization is also key throughout the growing season, but too much can produce excess nitrogen in the soil, which many weeds love!

If you’ve identified the presence of broadleaf weeds on your property, there are a few things you can do to remove them. Remember, you can always call Simple Lawns for all your weed control needs in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA areas, or you can follow the tips below to attain a weed-free yard:

-Hand-Pull: Best for shallow roots. Be sure to pull firmly and steadily near the base of the plant, and do not leave any root or stem fragments behind.

-Dig Roots: Best for deep taproots or fibrous roots. Use a gardening spade or other tool to dig under and around the soil containing the root system.

-Pre-Emergent: Best for seedlings in soil. If some weeds have emerged, others are likely waiting, and they can be blocked from emerging with preventive herbicides.

-Post-Emergent: Best for emerged, matted weeds. Use a selective weed killer (2, 4-D) directly on the emerged weed, but make sure you do not apply any to your grass. Or, call Simple Lawns today, and let us worry about this for you! It’s what we do!