woman holding a bunch of weeds

Common Garden Weeds: What They Are and How to Get Rid of Them

When you work hard in your garden, it is rewarding to look at everything growing from the ground, but every now and then you might see intruders you didn’t plant. Weeds are often those nuisances that creep in or pop up that should be taken care of immediately.

Here are ten common weeds you might encounter in your garden along with tips for managing each:

1. Crabgrasscrabgrass weeds in the garden

(Digitaria sanguinalis): This annual grassy weed spreads quickly during the warm months. To control crabgrass, maintain a thick, healthy lawn that can outcompete weeds, and use pre-emergent herbicides in early spring before the weed seeds germinate.

2. Dandelionsdandelion weeds in the garden

(Taraxacum officinale): Known for its yellow flowers and fluffy seed heads, dandelions can be removed using a specialized dandelion puller to get out the entire root, or they can be treated with post-emergent herbicides.  We recommend Bonide's Captain Jacks Lawnweed Brew.2 sizes of Bonide Captain Jack's™ Lawnweed Brew

3. Purslanepurslane weeds in the garden

(Portulaca oleracea): This succulent weed can be pulled out by hand or controlled with post-emergent herbicides. Its shallow roots make mechanical removal effective - pull when young.  Mulch heavily in landscape beds.

4. Oxalis, or Wood Sorreloxalis weeds in the garden

(Oxalis spp.): This weed is tough due to its underground bulbs. Mulching and hand pulling can reduce its spread, and repeated applications of a post-emergent herbicide may be necessary for complete control. We recommend Bonide's Captain Jacks Lawnweed Brew.2 sizes of Bonide Captain Jack's™ Lawnweed Brew

5. Bermuda grassbermuda grass weeds in the garden

(Cynodon dactylon): Invasive in gardens, Bermuda grass can be suppressed by covering with thick layers of mulch or using specific grass-killing herbicides that won't harm other plants. 

6. Cloverclover weeds in the garden

(Trifolium repens): While some gardeners appreciate clover for nitrogen fixation, it can be unwanted in lawns. Regular mowing, maintaining soil health, and spot treatments with selective herbicides can manage its growth.  We recommend Bonide's Captain Jacks Lawnweed Brew.2 sizes of Bonide Captain Jack's™ Lawnweed Brew

7. Foxtailfoxtail weeds in the garden with pomeranian dog in the background

(Setaria spp.): Another grassy weed, foxtail can be managed by maintaining a healthy, dense lawn that crowds out weeds, and by using pre-emergent herbicides in the spring.  We recommend Preen's Natural Weed Contral - Corn gluten meal.

8. Spurgespurge weeds in the garden

(Euphorbia spp.): Spurge spreads quickly and can be controlled by mulching and using pre- and post-emergent herbicides. It's essential to wear gloves when handling spurge, as the sap can be irritating to the skin.

9. Quackgrassquackgrass weeds in the garden

This is a creeping, persistent perennial grass that also reproduces by its seeds. Its long, jointed, straw-colored rhizomes form a heavy mat in soil, from which new shoots may also appear. Try to dig out it out as soon as you see it in your garden.

10. Chickweed

There are two types of chickweed: one perennial and one annual.chickweed weeds in the garden

  • Mouse-ear chickweed is the perennial, which forms a dense, prostrate patch in lawns and gardens.
  • Common chickweed, the annual, is more delicate in appearance, with leaves that are broad at the base and about half an inch long.

Common chickweed is easier to control. Both types have shallow roots, so they can often be removed by hoeing or hand-pulling. New plants can grow from broken pieces of mouse-ear rootstock, however, so make sure you remove the entire plant when using either method. A healthy lawn can compete against mouse-ear chickweed if the grass is not mowed too short or too frequently. Watering the lawn deeply and infrequently will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots, which also can help it compete against chickweed. Water once every seven to ten days and apply enough water so that it soaks six to eight inches into the ground. If you choose to remove chickweed, do it before the weed has time to go to seed, thereby preventing future problems in your garden area. We recommend Bonide's Captain Jacks Lawnweed Brew.2 sizes of Bonide Captain Jack's™ Lawnweed Brew

weeds pulled and piled on a sidewalk or driveway with gloves and shovel on top

How to Get Rid of Weeds

To avoid using harsh chemicals to get rid of weeds, here are unique and innovative ways to remove them with common household items from Houselogic.


A blanket of newspaper, which blocks sunlight and oxygen from reaching the soil, will smother weeds that have already sprouted and prevent new ones from growing. Throw down newspaper in 10-sheet layers, wet to hold it down, and cover with an inch or two of mulch. If weeds begin to grow in the mulch, add more layers, making a mulch-newspaper lasagna, which eventually will decompose and nourish the soil.

Corn Gluten Meal

This corn by-product stops seeds from growing into weeds. Since the meal will prevent germination, spread it around established plants, and after seedlings and transplants have taken hold in the soil.


The oil in soap can break down waxy or hairy weed surfaces, making them vulnerable to desiccants. Add a few drops of liquid dish detergent to vinegar or vodka sprays to keep the solution on leaves. The soap also makes leaves shiny, which will help you keep track of what you’ve sprayed.

Boiling Water

Pouring boiling water over weeds will cause the plants to burn. This is a particularly good way to whack driveway and walkway weeds, because the boiling water can run off impervious surfaces and cool before it reaches border plants.