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What Is a Broadleaf Weed?

May 24, 2024

In general, the most common weeds plaguing North American lawns can be grouped into three categories: broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, and sedges. Broadleaf weeds (like dandelions and clover), grassy weeds (like crabgrass), and sedges (like nutsedge) look and behave very differently, which means the methods used to control them will differ as well. 


Today, we’re taking a closer look at broadleaf weeds – and what to do about them!

Characteristics of Broadleaf Weeds

As you may have guessed by the name, broadleaf weeds usually have… well, broad leaves. This is the easiest way to tell them apart from their counterparts, grassy weeds, which have slender leaves resembling the leaves of turfgrass, and sedges, which grow in tall, grass-like tufts. It also makes broadleaf weeds a little easier to notice in a typical turfgrass lawn.


The wide leaves of broadleaf weeds are often veiny, with one large vein spanning the center of the leaf and many smaller netted veins branching off to deliver nutrients to the plant. Many broadleaf weeds sprout showy, brightly colored flowers, as well as a deep taproot. Broadleaf weeds can be perennial or annual. 

Identifying Common Broadleaf Weeds

You’ll recognize these characteristics in common lawn weeds, like dandelions, which sprout bright gold dome-shaped flowers and broad, veiny leaves from the base. However, broadleaf weeds do vary widely in appearance.


Here are some other common broadleaf weeds:


  • Dollarweed: a warm-season perennial weed with leaves shaped like a silver dollar.

  • Chickweed: a winter annual broadleaf weed with small white flowers.

  • Plantain: a perennial broadleaf weed with a cluster of wide, flat leaves close to the ground.

  • Prostrate Spurge: a summer annual broadleaf weed that hugs the ground in dry, sandy, low quality soils, such as along driveways and sidewalks.

  • Clover: a perennial broadleaf weed with three characteristic leaflets (or 4, if you’re lucky) that sprouts small round white or purple flowers.

  • Lespedeza: a summer annual broadleaf weed with woody stems and three smooth, oblong leaflets with parallel veins that are nearly perpendicular to the midvein. 

  • Thistle: a family of broadleaf weeds known for their large, low rosettes of thorny leaves.




Common broadleaf weeds


Controlling Broadleaf Weeds

If left unattended, broadleaf weeds can spread quickly, sprouting deep roots and stealing valuable nutrients from your turfgrass lawn or other desirable plants, so it’s important to start addressing broadleaf weeds as soon as possible. At Weed Man, your broadleaf weed control program is specially tailored to the needs of your lawn. We use top-of-the-line weed control products, safely applied in the hands of our trained  professionals, and our equipment is carefully calibrated to apply the proper amount of product, and we time our contact treatments during peak germination periods of the target broadleaf weeds. In a matter of weeks, you’ll see signs of weeds retreating. 

A Healthy Lawn is the Best Defense

A thick, healthy, well-maintained lawn is always the best line of defense against weeds and other harmful lawn conditions, like disease and pests. In addition to your weed control program, a healthy lawn can be achieved through beneficial cultural practices, which include:

  • Core Aeration: Aerating your lawn can improve soil drainage and help reduce the likelihood of lawn diseases. This will also alleviate soil compaction and allow water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the soil.

  • Fertilization: Regular applications of Weed Man’s specially formulated, slow-release granular fertilizer will help provide your lawn with adequate nutrients. These applications are timed specifically to avoid over fertilizing the lawn.

  • Watering: Under normal circumstances, you should be watering your lawn a few times per week for 30-45 minutes in each area. During hot and dry periods, most lawns should be watered as much as required to maintain its desired green color. Always water in the early morning so the turf has time to dry by nightfall.

  • Mowing: Maintain a regular mowing schedule with a razor sharp blade. Never remove more than a ⅓ of the grass blade at each mowing.


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