Similar to pests, weeds are a troublesome species in Indiana that harms gardeners and farmers by competing with plants for nutrients. They multiply quickly, even ahead of the crops grown on the land. Among those culprits, common weeds in Indiana often appear massively on lawns and fields. Considering their fast growth rate, some of these common weeds are invasive.
They are very detrimental, especially for farmers, because they can reduce the yields of the agricultural crops they grow due to a lack of nutrients.
Meanwhile, some also belong to the lawn weeds, interfering with the growth and development of grasses in the garden. So, what are those invasive and common weeds in Indiana? Let’s find out how to identify them below!
Table of Contents
- Common Weeds In Indiana Lawn
- Invasive Weeds In Indiana Lawn
Common Weeds In Indiana Lawn
Before jumping into weed identification, you must first know some of these weeds. They each have their own characteristics, making them easier to spot on your lawns or fields. Even more remarkable, some of these well-known weeds are edible. Curious? Let’s find out!
1. Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon)
Cynodon dactylon, or Bermudagrass, is a turfgrass native to nearly four continents of the world, including Australia, Europe, Africa, and most of Asia. However, its distribution has covered the whole world. This grass has a distinctive feature, namely four to five spikes supported by tall stems, blade shapes, and blue-green leaves. In addition, they can also grow densely above the ground because of the creeping rhizome and stolons feature.
Regarding its growing conditions, this perennial weed requires at least 4 hours of full sun exposure. However, the grass still copes with shady areas though it may inhibit the growth. Also, you don’t need to worry about the temperature as it has excellent tolerance to heat.
In addition, it also withstands high salt concentrations in the soil as well as drought. As for the soil conditions, it favors slightly acidic, well-drained, sandy soil to thrive.
2. Creeping Bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera)
Like the previous weed, Agrostis stolonifera or Creeping Bentgrass is a turf with flat blade-shaped leaves that tend to droop. Instead of brown spikelets, it has attractive red ones emerging between the green foliage.
As the name implies, they also have stolons that propagate above the ground, wrapping them up with dense mats. In addition to North America, the distribution of these weeds includes Africa and Asia.
Contrary to the most common garden weeds, Creeping Bentgrass prefers shade to sunny areas. However, some of the cultivars still need the morning sun to thrive. Moreover, this cool-season grass loves slightly acidic, moist but well-drained, sandy soil. And at the same time, it tolerates clay soil too! Because it likes humid conditions and has a shallow root system at ground level, regular watering is necessary.
3. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
You may start to witness the beauty of this plant pest in spring. With white, fluffy, rounded heads, make Dandelions or Taraxacum officinale stand out in the middle of the grass on your lawn especially when the seed heads have turned into yellow flowers that cheer up the landscape beds. Luckily, its native range is spread all over North America, particularly in US hardiness zones 3 to 10. Thus, you can enjoy its beauty when the flowers are blooming.
Not only are these broadleaf weeds beautiful, but dandelions also hold many benefits for your garden. Maybe you will wonder, how come weeds are actually beneficial? Well, it turns out that the roots of these Indiana lawn weeds help aerate the soil by loosening it up, reducing compactness, and preventing erosion. This sun and shade-loving weed also serves as a food source for pollinators, thanks to their nectars.
4. Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)
Similar to Dandelions, Ground Ivy or Creeping Charlie is an Indiana edible weed whose green, kidney-shaped leaves are usually used to cure some health issues. People use the leaves to treat diarrhea and respiratory system problems, such as lung and bronchitis.
In addition, this broadleaf perennial weed is also commonly used as a flavoring for teas, sauces, and soups. At the same time, some also add leaves to salads. However, too much ground ivy may irritate your stomach.
If you are interested in this purple flower-bearing weed, you can try it by providing the proper growing requirements. Ground Ivy likes moist, shady areas, such as under trees. They also prefer rich soil to thrive. But remember! Weeds are still weeds. They can outcompete your lawns if you don’t pay attention and control their growth.
5. Large Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)
At first glance, Digitaria sanguinalis, or Large Crabgrass, does not look like a crab. But apparently, the spikes’ low-growing stems resemble a crab’s legs.
Meanwhile, the green spikelets are covered in coarse hairs. One of the things that makes this weed an enemy of gardeners is the extensive root system that quickly expands and competes with other plants by absorbing their nutrients in the soil. It also leaves thousands of seeds that will turn into serious lawn issues.
Therefore, you must immediately eradicate the weed to avoid its rapid spread. Usually, gardeners use pre-emergent herbicides that are applied in early spring when the soil gets warmer. Repeat this process eight weeks after the first application to ensure this method works. In addition, try to avoid wet soil surfaces continuously during the spring because these conditions favor this weed from germinating.
6. Wild Violet (Viola sororia)
Another edible weed is here! Viola sororia, commonly known as Wild Violet (Common Blue Violet), features stunning flowers, a blue-violet color combination, and a touch of white on the edges.
Besides being beautiful, these flowers are also rich in vitamins A and C. For that reason, you can use them as raw materials for making candy, jelly, tea, and desserts. Meanwhile, the heart-shaped leaves are usually sauteed or steamed.
Even though weeds, some people still grow them as ground cover. If one of them, prepare a site with rich, well-drained soil under partial or shade light intensity. Don’t worry if the soil type in your garden is clay because this weed can still perform well on such soil type. However, you can always choose to eradicate the Wild Violet with herbicide if it is deemed to interfere with the growth of your other plants.
Invasive Weeds In Indiana Lawn
Indiana invasive weeds sound intimidating. They are mortal enemies of farmers and gardeners because their growth is so fast that it makes it difficult for them to eradicate it. In addition, they invade agricultural land, which is detrimental to farmers. So, we provide a list of the most invasive weeds in Indiana that you must take precautions for when finding them on your garden beds or fields!
7. Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Cirsium arvense or Canada Thistle falls in the category of invasive and noxious weeds in Indiana for its massive spreading habit. They bear tiny and fluffy pink to purple flowers that might make you wonder if they are invasive. Once they grow in your gardens, they won’t go away anytime soon. It is because they have a robust root system that firmly attaches to the ground. In addition, the root also makes them quickly invade your land.
Thankfully, there are some pretty powerful ways to completely remove the weeds. The first step is to ensure your plants or lawns are well-nourished with fertilizer and water. But if there is still weed growing, try the pulling method. Just cut the weeds to the ground, then pull them up.
Following the recommendation of the United States Department of Agriculture, another way to eliminate this weed is, by spraying them with a mixture of vinegar and salts. And last but the most effective one is using chemical herbicide.
8. Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Well, you may not spot Convolvulus arvensis or Field Bindweed in your gardens because they prefer to invade farmland and livestock. They have trailing stems with white, funnel-shaped flowers that later can turn pinkish. Not to mention the yellow stamens that add a touch of vibrant shade against white petals.
Moreover, this native European perennial weed overgrows to invade agricultural land, which is detrimental to farmers because it can reduce the yields of their crops. So, how to remove them entirely? The most effective way is to apply glyphosate to weeds that are still growing. Stick a cane to the ground and let the weed grow, wrapping it up. Then, cover it with a plastic bag while ensuring the roots attach to the soil. Next, apply the glyphosate and tie the plastic tightly.
9. Glossy Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula)
Rhamnus frangula, or Glossy Buckthorn, has clusters of tiny white flowers against bright glossy green leaves, making it look attractive. The barks are brown to gray with blotches, while the stems are green and hairy. This noxious weed thrives in upland forests spread over US hardiness zones 2-3. In addition, they have an extensive root system and perform best in a wide range of soil types. Thus, it makes them tricky to get rid of.
Luckily, you can try to remove them by cutting the stems to the ground level using chain saws or hand tools. However, leave the stump. Next, prepare the glyphosate and spray it on the stump. The herbicide will prevent the germination process, which will eventually inhibit their growth.
10. Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
Despite the look so captivating, Lonicera japonica, or Japanese Honeysuckle, is one of the noxious weeds in Indiana whose presence interferes with the existence and regeneration of native plants of Indiana. They have a climbing habit, bearing exquisite white flowers with a hint of yellow against dense green foliage. You can easily find them in bushland and forests.
If you are considering removing Japanese Honeysuckle, try it in the mid-fall because it will reduce the risk of damaging other plants nearby. In addition, the fall application also considers the weed’s habit, which will stay green through winter. Furthermore, the extermination method is similar to Glossy Buckthorn, which is to slash them to the ground. Then, apply the herbicide to the remaining stem on the soil surface. Usually, gardeners use glyphosate or triclopyr.
11. Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Lythrum salicaria or Purple Loosestrife looks stunning when it blooms in spring, showing off its purple blooms from mid-summer to early fall. They come from Europe and Asia but have spread across the Northeastern US and Southern Canada.
Moreover, they inhabit open stream margins and freshwater marshes, adding bright color to the water landscape. Unfortunately, due to its rapid growth, this stunning herb belongs among the most noxious weeds in Indiana. You must eradicate it as soon as you spot it in your area.
Unlike other invasive weeds in Indiana, which require herbicide assistance to be perfectly eradicated, this stunning weed can be removed by hand pulling, cutting, and digging. Hand-pulling will work great when the weeds are young (under two years) while the older ones need garden forks. You can cut it down to the roots, then dry and burn it.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What type of weeds grows in Indiana?
In addition to plants, Indiana is also home to weeds. Generally, weed types in Indiana include grassy weeds, non-grass monocots, broadleaf weeds, whorled leaf weeds, and weeds with alternate leaves. Some of them have unique features, namely colorful flowers that make them ornamental grasses to help aerate the soil. However, some others belong to the invasive and noxious weeds that are destructive.
What weeds grow in the winter in Indiana?
Some annual winter weeds in Indiana that thrive through cold temperatures are common chickweed, corn speedwell, purple deadnettle, and catchweed bedstraw. The characteristic of those weeds is to have leaves with a small surface area that perhaps reduces the process of transpiration (evaporation of water from plants) during the winter.
In addition, the leaves are commonly hairy and smooth. While most weeds shut down or dormant in the winter, some of these winter weeds can breed during the season. What a great habit!
Are there weeds growing in Indiana fall?
Yes. Despite the cool weather that generally makes the weeds enter a dormant phase, some weeds in Indiana grow and germinate in the fall. That includes chickweed (Stellaria media), henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum), and hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirtusa).
Fall season is suitable for weed growth because the soil temperature is still cool and not freezing. Besides fall, early spring is a favorite season for weeds to thrive since the soil temperature gets warmer after winter freezing.
What are the worst invasive weeds in Indiana?
Indiana hides the worst invasive weeds that you need to be aware of. They are purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, Japanese honeysuckle, and glossy buckthorn. Not only are they nosy, but they also belong to the noxious weeds whose presence threatens ecosystems and other plant populations in the wild. Because of this habit, you must eradicate it immediately when you spot it on your garden, lawn, or field. Do not let it stay too long because removing it will be challenging.
Are there common edible weeds in Indiana?
Yes, there are. Although weeds are known for their invasive nature and interfere with the growth of other plants, it turns out that some of them are edible, such as dandelion and garlic mustard. The dandelion flowers are a tasty deep-fried snack, while the roots can be ground into a coffee alternative.
Meanwhile, garlic mustard is commonly added as a spice to various side dishes. Unfortunately, garlic mustard is included in the list of highly invasive weeds in Indiana whose growth needs attention.