Most Common Lawn Weeds in Arkansas

yellow colored flowers in a garden

Every homeowner in the Natural State wants a lush, green lawn, but it’s difficult if you’re dealing with weeds. Lawn weeds outcompete your grass and landscape plants for water, sunlight, space, and nutrients. Discover how to identify the most common lawn weeds in Arkansas, how to eliminate them, and how to prevent them, so you can take back your healthy landscape.

Most common weeds

Arkansas’ unique climate creates the perfect environment for several weed species, including: 

Annual bluegrass (Poa annua

Annual bluegrass with white seed heads
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Annual bluegrass produces silver or white seed heads. This cool-season annual weed has light green leaves and a clumping growth habit. It grows from the fall to the spring, flowers, and dies when the weather becomes warm. 

Annual bluegrass is difficult to manage. It produces hundreds of seeds during a season, and these seeds can remain dormant for several years before germinating. 

  • Weed type: Grass
  • Life cycle: Winter annual

How to manage annual bluegrass:

  • Mechanical control: Manage drainage and avoid overwatering your turfgrass. Annual bluegrass thrives in wet soil.
  • Chemical control: In the spring, apply pre-emergent herbicide to stop the germinating seedlings from sprouting. 

Chickweed (Stellaria media

White flowers on a chickweed plant
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Chickweed grows low to the ground and sprouts little white flowers. Its leaves are egg-shaped and grow in opposite pairs along green stems that are hairy on one side. Chickweed thrives in short, moist lawns. 

Although chickweed is an annual weed, its seeds can remain viable in the ground for five years or longer. There are two types of chickweed: common chickweed and sticky chickweed. It is also an edible weed with medicinal properties. 

  • Weed type: Broadleaf 
  • Life cycle: Winter annual

How to manage chickweed:

  • Mechanical control: Chickweed has shallow roots, so you can pull it by hand. Just be sure to remove the entire root system.
  • Chemical control: Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall before chickweed germinates. Once the weed becomes active, use a post-emergent herbicide for weed control.

Clover (Trifolium repens

A bed of clover
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Clover is a perennial weed encompassing many varieties. One of the most common species invading Arkansas lawns is white clover. It sprouts white flowers, reaching five to seven inches high. It produces heart-shaped foliage near the top of the stems and below the flowers.

This weed can spread rapidly if not managed, but clover has benefits. It forms dense mats and provides natural fertilization to grass, making your lawn more disease-tolerant. Clover as a ground cover plant grows quickly and densely, becoming organic mulch in your garden and crowding out other broadleaf weeds, like dandelions.

  • Weed type:  Broadleaf
  • Life cycle: Winter perennial

How to manage clover:

  • Mechanical control: Put on gloves and dig or pull out the weed. Be sure to get all of the root system or as much as you can.
  • Natural chemical control: Use corn gluten meal–which inhibits root growth–in the early spring or summer. 
  • Chemical control: Look for a selective herbicide targeting clover. White clover has tolerance to some chemicals like 2,4-D amine.

Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.) 

Close-up of crabgrass along the edge of a lawn
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Like dandelions, crabgrass spreads quickly. This annual weed stands out on lawns. Crabgrass is light green and has long, narrow, coarse leaves. The seed heads look like little pine cones. They develop in the mid-summer and grow as high as six inches along sidewalks and patios. 

  • Weed type: Grass 
  • Life cycle: Summer annual

How to manage crabgrass:

  • Mechanical control: Hand pulling is effective if you have a few crabgrass weeds and there are no seedheads. Pull specimens at the base, extracting as much of the root system as possible. 
  • Chemical control: Once the seed heads are open, let the weeds die on their own. Use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring before the seeds germinate as preventive weed management

Dandelion (Taraxacum spp.) 

Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)
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Dandelions are one of the most common lawn weeds in the US. They have an aggressive and quick-spreading growth habit. This broadleaf weed produces bright yellow flowers and hairy white seed heads. These common weeds grow in multiple soil types and a variety of conditions.  

Dandelions compete with other plants for water and nutrients and can cause allergic reactions. But did you know that, like chickweed, dandelions have medicinal properties, too? They are a diuretic and contain vitamins C, D, calcium, and magnesium.

  • Plant type: Broadleaf
  • Life Cycle: Winter perennial

How to manage dandelion:

  • Mechanical control: Hand-pull dandelions after it has rained or after irrigating. If necessary, loosen the ground with a weeding tool first and use your hand or a weed puller. Remove as much of the taproot as possible.
  • Chemical control: Spray dandelions with a broadleaf herbicide.

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule

Purple-colored flowers on a henbit plant
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Henbit stands tall, growing 12 to 16 inches. It has scalloped, hairy leaves that sit in opposite pairs on square, purple-green stems. In the spring, hairy purple flowers sprout. Henbit spreads quickly and thrives in thin, patchy lawns.

  • Weed type: Broadleaf
  • Life cycle: Winter annual

How to manage henbit:

  • Mechanical control: Maintain a healthy, thick lawn to control henbit. 
  • Chemical control: Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the fall. For post-emergent weed management, use a handheld sprayer to target the weed and avoid harming nearby grass and plants.

Nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus)

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You can find several types of sedges throughout the Natural State. The most common are yellow nutsedge and purple nutsedge.  

Nutsedge resembles grass but grows taller. Its stems are green and glossy. It produces light green, long, narrow, triangular leaves. Nutsedge lives for about two years and resprouts annually. It is also one of the most difficult weeds to control. 

  • Weed type: Sedge
  • Life cycle: Summer perennial

How to manage nutsedge:

  • Mechanical control: Mowing your lawn at its optimal height will crowd out nutsedge. Additionally, you can hand-pull weed specimens. Reduce irrigation in areas with nutsedge.
  • Chemical control: Spot-treat nutsedge with a selective liquid herbicide.

Weed control tips for Arkansas

No matter what type of weed you are dealing with, you want to keep them out for good. The best weed control comes from proper lawn maintenance. Follow a few simple tips to reduce lawn weeds in your yard:

  • Overseed your lawn annually with one of the best grass seeds for Arkansas lawns.
  • Water appropriately before 10 a.m. Aim to water for 20 minutes, three times per week. 
  • Fertilize your lawn according to your turfgrass type.  
  • Mow your grass at the correct height during the growing season and avoid scalping your lawn.
  • Dethatch your turfgrass when the thatch layer is half an inch thick or more.
  • Treat lawn diseases and control pests.

FAQ about lawn weeds in Arkansas

What are noxious weeds?

According to the University of Arkansas’ Division of Agriculture, noxious weeds negatively impact humans, ecosystems, and agriculture, and the local government creates free resources so homeowners can control these harmful specimens. 

Morning glory and Johson grass are two noxious weeds in Arkansas.

Do weeds have the same life cycles as other plants?

Yes. Weeds are categorized as annuals, biennials, or perennials. Additionally, like grass, weeds are also classified as cool-season or warm-season.

  • Annual weeds germinate by seed and live for less than one year. 
  • Biennial weeds reproduce by seed. They live for two years.
  • Perennial weeds also breed via seed. They are generally more difficult to manage than annual weeds and last for several years or more. 

What are some examples of natural weed killers?

Home-made weed killers are safer than retail weed control products and typically better for the environment and humans. Using boiling water or a flame weeder is effective alongside corn gluten meal. 

Get help with weed control

From the drier weather in the North to the milder climate in the Central and Southern regions, Arkansas lawns can fall victim to pesky weeds. Proper control starts with weed identification. A lawn care professional can help you determine what weed you are dealing with and how to treat it.

Managing Arkansas weeds does not have to be difficult. No matter if you reside in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Lafayette, or the surrounding area, let Lawn Love connect you with lawn care professionals to help you maintain your lawn, including mowing, edging, trimming, and weed management.

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LaShonda Tucker

LaShonda Tucker’s passion for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through organic herbs, fruits, and veggies leads her to research and learn about plants and insects. She loves sharing her knowledge to help others achieve their lawn care and landscaping goals.