How To Identify The Most Common Types of Weeds in Kansas City

A gloved hand pulling weeds in a yard

Maintaining a vibrant and weed-free garden in Kansas City can be a rewarding endeavor, but it requires a keen eye for identifying common types of weeds. In this detailed guide, we'll explore the most prevalent weeds in the Kansas City area, providing homeowners with the knowledge they need to combat these invasive intruders effectively.

The most common weeds to find in the Kansas City area include:

  • Annual Bluegrass
  • Bermuda Grass
  • Broadleaf Plantain
  • Chickweed
  • Clover
  • Common Purslane
  • Crabgrass
  • Dandelion
  • Ground Ivy
  • Henbit
  • Goosegrass
  • Groundsel
  • Joe-Pye Weed
  • Spotted Spurge
  • Yellow Nutsedge
  • Wild Violet

Annual Bluegrass (Poa annua)


Description: Annual bluegrass is a cool-season grass with bright green, fine-textured blades. It produces seed heads with distinctive, boat-shaped tips and can quickly invade lawns and gardens.

Identification Tips:

  • Fine-textured, bright green blades.
  • Seed heads with boat-shaped tips.
  • Thrives in cool-season conditions.

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon)


Description: While Bermuda grass is a desirable turfgrass in some settings, it can be invasive when not wanted. It has fine-textured blades and spreads through both rhizomes and stolons.

Identification Tips:

  • Fine-textured blades.
  • Spreads through rhizomes and stolons.
  • Forms dense, mat-like growth.

Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major)


Description: Broadleaf plantain is a common perennial weed with broad, oval-shaped leaves featuring prominent parallel veins. It thrives in compacted soil and can withstand foot traffic.

Identification Tips:

  • Broad, oval-shaped leaves with parallel veins.
  • Common in compacted soil.

Learn how to get rid of broadleaf plantain naturally.

Chickweed (Stellaria media)


Description: Chickweed is a cool-season weed with small, paired leaves and tiny white flowers. It tends to form dense mats and can quickly take over moist areas.

Identification Tips:

  • Small, paired leaves.
  • Tiny white flowers.
  • Thrives in cool, moist conditions.

Clover (Trifolium spp.)


Description: Clover, often intentionally planted for nitrogen fixation, can become invasive. It has trifoliate leaves and produces small, round flower clusters that can range in color from white to pink or red.

Identification Tips:

  • Trifoliate leaves.
  • Small, round flower clusters.

Common Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

common purslane

Description: Common purslane is a succulent summer annual with fleshy, prostrate stems and small, paddle-shaped leaves. It produces tiny yellow flowers and can be found in sunny, dry locations.

Identification Tips:

  • Succulent, prostrate stems.
  • Paddle-shaped leaves.
  • Tiny yellow flowers.

Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.)


Description: Crabgrass is an annual grass that thrives in sunny and compacted areas. Its coarse blades radiate from a central point, resembling the legs of a crab. During the summer, it produces finger-like seed heads.

Identification Tips:

  • Coarse blades radiating from a central point.
  • Finger-like seed heads.
  • Prefers sunny locations.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)


Description: Despite its bright yellow flowers, the dandelion is a formidable weed with a deep taproot. The leaves are tooth-like, forming a basal rosette, and the plant produces iconic fluffy seed heads.

Identification Tips:

  • Tooth-like leaves in a basal rosette.
  • Bright yellow flowers.
  • Fluffy seed heads. 

Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

ground ivy

Description: Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie, is a low-growing perennial with rounded, scalloped leaves. It produces small, funnel-shaped, purple flowers and spreads rapidly through stolons.

Identification Tips:

  • Rounded, scalloped leaves.
  • Small, funnel-shaped, purple flowers.
  • Spreads through stolons.

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule)


Description: Henbit is a winter annual weed that often goes unnoticed until it produces distinctive purple-pink flowers in early spring. It has square stems and toothed, opposite leaves that clasp the stem.

Identification Tips:

  • Square stems.
  • Opposite leaves that clasp the stem.
  • Purple-pink flowers in early spring.

Goosegrass (Eleusine indica)


Description: Goosegrass, also known as Eleusine, is an annual grass with a distinctive silvery-white, flat rosette of leaves. It often forms a low, spreading mat and is commonly found in compacted soils and disturbed areas.

Identification Tips:

  • Silvery-white, flat rosette of leaves.
  • Low, spreading growth habit.
  • Thrives in compacted soils.

Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)


Description: Groundsel is an annual weed with deeply lobed leaves and small yellow flowers that resemble miniature daisies. It's often found in disturbed areas, gardens, and lawns.

Identification Tips:

  • Deeply lobed leaves.
  • Small yellow flowers.
  • Common in disturbed areas.

Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

joe pye

Description: Joe-Pye weed is a native perennial plant with robust, purple stems and whorls of lance-shaped leaves. Clusters of pink to purplish flowers bloom in late summer, attracting butterflies and bees.

Identification Tips:

  • Robust, purple stems.
  • Whorls of lance-shaped leaves.
  • Clusters of pink to purplish flowers.
  • Typically found in moist areas.

Spotted Spurge (Euphorbia maculata)

spotted surge

Description: Spotted spurge is a summer annual with prostrate stems and oval-shaped leaves marked with a reddish-purple spot in the center. It produces small, inconspicuous flowers and can be found in dry, sandy soils.

Identification Tips:

  • Prostrate stems.
  • Oval-shaped leaves with a reddish-purple spot.
  • Thrives in dry, sandy soils. 

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus)


Description: Yellow nutsedge, often mistaken for grass, is a perennial weed with triangular stems and grass-like leaves. It's characterized by yellowish-brown seed heads and a prominent tuber system underground.

Identification Tips:

  • Triangular stems.
  • Grass-like leaves.
  • Yellowish-brown seed heads.

Wild Violet (Viola sororia)

wild violet

Description: Wild violet is a perennial weed with heart-shaped leaves and distinctive purple flowers. It spreads through rhizomes and can form dense patches, particularly in shaded areas.

Identification Tips:

  • Heart-shaped leaves.
  • Purple flowers.
  • Spreads through rhizomes.

Armed with knowledge about the common weeds in Kansas City and effective identification strategies, homeowners can take proactive steps to maintain a healthy and weed-free garden. By implementing targeted control measures and staying vigilant, you can ensure that your green paradise thrives without interference from these troublesome weeds. Learn how to keep weeds out of your yard.

If you are looking to get rid of weeds for good, reach out to our team of experienced lawn technicians. Our team will be able to identify the type of weeds and provide the most effective, targeted treatment. Contact us today to schedule your lawn inspection.

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