10 Weeds That Look Like Grass (with Pictures)
Anyone with a lawn knows the giant headache of discovering weeds sinking their claws into your grass. Even if we can tell they’re weeds, it doesn’t make them any less of a pesky problem. Eliminating weeds that blend in presents a unique problem. Weeds like Crabgrass and Common Couch create a uniquely tricky situation where you have to carefully assess the problem before you can just spray weed killer.
To solve this problem, we’ve compiled a list of invasive weeds so you can identify them and take control of your lawn. Let’s look at some of the most common weeds disguising themselves as grasses.
The 10 Types of Weeds That Look Like Grass
To stop weeds from taking over your lawn, you must kill them at the root, but how can you do that when they look similar to the grass?
1. Annual Bluegrass
Annual Bluegrass is the first on our list because it is often mistaken for lawn grass. Because it is closely related to the desirable Kentucky Bluegrass, people often mistake it for grass. As with all grass family members, Annual Bluegrass has a canoe-shaped tip on its blades. However, you can tell it is Annual Bluegrass because of its brighter, lighter green color compared to standard lawn grass.
The species is a cold-season species, which congregates more in shady spots with excess moisture. If you notice bare patches in your yard, chances are you had some Annual Bluegrass hiding in plain sight as the rays from the sun dry the weed out.
Crabgrass is everywhere and inescapable. No matter where you live, the stubborn weed is likely abundant.
You might think you can rejoice when you learn that Crabgrass is an annual plant that dies off yearly; however, each plant can produce over 150,000 seeds that will sprout every spring. Once its root system is established in your yard, it will grow quickly and aggressively.
Crabgrass will grow in large clumps, and while it looks similar to other grasses, it stands out as appearing much thicker. Unchecked Crabgrass can grow to be up to 2 feet long.
Carpetgrass is another perennial weed that can grow to be a foot tall or higher. It appears on your lawn in thick mats and is a standard green color like lawn grass. In the summer, it will look like Crabgrass, and its seedheads will be taller than the rest of the plant.
You are more likely to have this weed on your lawn if you have acidic soil and high moisture content. Carpetgrass also prefers shady areas that do not receive adequate sunlight since it allows moisture to build up in the soil.
4. Tall Fescue
While Tall Fescue is a desirable grass on some lawns, we included it on our list because of its invasive properties. Much like Creeping Bentgrass, it can find its way into your yard without invitation and take over. Ironically, the reasons it is a desirable grass for some lawns are the very same reasons that make it a frightening foe.
The blades of Tall Fescue are distinctly thick and broad, and they often have pronounced veins along their length. The blades of the grass are a bright green, with an even lighter green on the lower surface.
Tall Fescue is a hardy plant that is very drought resistant, hence its popularity as a lawn grass. However, this same durability makes it such a problem if it has invaded your lawn. Once it shows up in your grass, it’s difficult to remove it. It is sturdy and spreads underground through its rootstocks rather than just at the surface level.
5. Yellow Nutsedge
Yellow Nutsedge will reappear to attack your property each season. It can invade your lawn from the surface and underground, making it a double threat. Its seeds are spread above the ground, and its tubers develop below the soil’s surface.
Its appearance changes as it ages. When young, Yellow Nutsedge has light green grass blades. The weed deepens to a darker green as it ages, making it difficult to identify among your lawn grasses. However, you can locate Yellow Nutsedge by examining the roots. Yellow Nutsedge’s roots have nut-shaped tubers growing from them – hence its name. You can easily identify the weed if these are present.
6. Green Foxtail
Green Foxtail is an annual weed that is difficult to identify before it grows its seedhead. You may be wondering what a seedhead is; it’s the part of the plant that gave it its name—when it’s fully grown, the plant looks like a fox’s tail. The piece resembling a tail is the seedhead, and it can produce hundreds of seeds that spread.
Before the seedhead forms, the Green Foxtail is difficult to identify because it is shaped like normal grass and has a typical green color.
7. Creeping Bentgrass
Unlike the other weeds on our list, Creeping Bentgrass is planted intentionally but not in your yard. Creeping Bentgrass is common on fairways and manicured golf courses, but it can spread to your lawn and garden if you live close by. It is light green and thinner than your standard lawn grass, but if it grows taller than an inch, it can start to look swollen.
8. Common Couch
Also known as Couch grass or Quack grass, Common Couch is a nasty weed that is comfortable growing in shade and direct sunlight. It is also spread underground through its roots and above ground in its seeds. Catching it early is your best chance at saving your lawn because once it establishes its roots, it becomes increasingly more difficult to remove entirely from your yard.
You can find Common Couch in patches on your lawn. You can identify it by its coarse texture and blue-green color, though it can still be hard to distinguish from your standard lawn grass. You can tell it is Couch grass because the blades of the weeds look like fingers, and the finger-like edges also wrap around the stem of the base plant when growing.
9. Smooth Bromegrass
Like Common Couch, Smooth Bromegrass is a perennial that can spread through its rootstocks or seeds. Also, like Couch grass, Smooth Bromegrass’ root system is tough to eradicate once it establishes itself in your lawn or garden.
If left unchecked, Smooth Bromegrass can grow up to 7 feet wide, and its blades can range between 8 inches or even 2 feet long. The blades of a Smooth Bromegrass weed droop downwards and are covered by fine hairs on both sides. The plant is light green but can also appear in regular grass green.
Last on our list is Johnsongrass, another perennial weed, but this one is relatively easy to identify and control. Johnsongrass resembles the seedlings of a corn plan; however, if left unchecked, it can grow to heights over 7 feet.
When matured, the seedhead starts green and becomes a deeper purplish color. If looking for Johnsongrass, you can identify it as it develops on your lawn. Its leaves grow an inch thick and will have a distinctive white vein running down the middle of each blade.
Weeds in Disguise
Weeds that look like our common lawn grass are easily mistaken, and identifying the type of weed you are dealing with is critical to controlling them. Once you know what is invading your yard or garden, you can choose your next course of action. Whether you use chemical herbicides or natural methods like cold weather to eliminate pesky weeds, identifying the invader is always the first step.
Featured Image Credit: Stephen VanHorn, Shutterstock