Summer Weeds From Wet Soil
Fred Newcombe

When scouting lawns and athletic fields for weeds, always ask yourself: “Why is this weed here?”. The answer always lies in the underlying soil conditions. In this blog, we cover 5 common summer weeds from wet soil.

Note: This month, we’re really digging into summer weeds. Our past blogs covered:

Ground Ivy (aka Creeping Charlie)
image of ground ivy close up
Image Source: Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

Ground ivy is difficult to control in grass. This perennial spreads through stolons and seeds. While it can tolerate sunny areas, ground ivy does best in the shade and prefers moist disturbed sites. Mechanical removal is your best bet for decreasing the ground ivy population. In addition, be sure to overseed with an appropriate seed variety. Fine fescues and creeping fescues do well competing with shady weeds. Lastly, to prevent moist soils,  view our blog on Summer Watering.

carpet weed close up as a summer weed from moist soil conditions
Image Source: Wisconsin Horticulture
Division of Extension

Carpetweed a small summer annual that spreads rapidly through seeds that quickly germinate. While it can be seen in drier soils, carpet weed is typically an indicator of poorly drained, wet soils. Carpetweed does not compete well with well established turf stand. Conversely, it is an opportunist in thin turf to bare soils. Therefore, stay on top of lawn repairs to avoid any establishment of this pesky weed. Lastly, to prevent moist soils,  view our blog on Summer Watering.

-The commonly confused Clover, Oxalis, and Black Medic. Read More→

-Distinguishing Crabgrass from Goosegrass. Read More→



identifying poa annua in lawn beside other turf grass speciesAnnual Bluegrass (aka Poa Annua)

Poa Annua is a winter annual that thrives in moist soil conditions. It is particularly noticeable in part shade conditions. Although, poa annua can persist throughout lawns due to its low growth habit and ability to seed prolifically. Notably, its green coloring is vibrant and it grows in clumps, therefore distinguishing it from desirable turf grass species.

Common Chickweed

spring weeds: plantain and chickweedChickweed is a winter annual that germinates early and is one of the first weeds to grow in the Spring. This plant has small white flowers and fleshy, egg-shaped leaves. This plant thrives in poorly structured soil. Therefore, consistently moist soil, compacted soil, and/or thin grass coverage becomes opportunistic for chickweed. Chickweed can dominate thin areas of lawn by forming dense mats, and does particularly well in shaded areas. We’ve got a whole blog on chickweed if you want to give it a read.

Yellow Nutsedge (aka Nutgrass or Watergrass)

This common lawn weed is a sedge, with a stem that is triangular (rather than rounded) in the cross section. Its bright green, waxy, fast-growing leaves distinguish it from surrounding grasses. Yellow nutsedge thrive in most soils with poor drainage, but can also grow in dry areas.

Practical Approach

Above all, no matter which weeds you find when scouting in the summer, the universal step to prevention is establishing a lush turf stand, proper fertility, and appropriate cultural practices. Consequently, you’ll establish a thick stand of turf that crowds out weeds.

  1. Mowing: A high height of cut shades out prostrate growing weeds and limits weed seeds from getting to the soil surface.
  2. Watering: Deep watering encourages turf root growth and limits shallow, moist soils that certain weeds thrive in.
  3. Soil Testing: Keeping pH in range through liming is essential for nutrient availability and soil structure.
  4. Overseeding: Turf species diversity is also critical to enhancing competition on athletic fields and lawns. First, in Spring, Rye grass is going to be most prevalent. Secondly, in early Summer, tall fescues and Kentucky blue will be most competitive. Over the heat of summer tall fescue does a great job of remaining competitive. Then, in late summer and fall, Kentucky blue and rye will dominate again.

In conclusion, when looking at summer weeds from wet soil, ask “Why is this weed here?” and follow up with “Am I growing the best turf grass I can be?”. As always, PJC is here for your organic turf care needs. This means: soil testing and analysis, product recommendations, organic turf care program development, and support services. Contact us with your questions, we’re here to help you implement all-natural turf care seamlessly!