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Winning the war on weeds in Indiana is like playing a game of Whack-A-Mole. As soon as you get rid of one, another pops up to take its place. Common weeds are classified into two different categories; broadleaf weeds and grassy weeds. Any type of weed can ruin the look of your lawn but being able to identify them will help you in controlling them.

Here Is a List of the Most Common Weeds Found in Indiana.

Barnyard Grass

Barnyard grass is a warm-season annual grassy weed with thick stems that can grow as high as 5 feet. It’s an extremely invasive weed that robs your grass of nitrogen and other nutrients.  Barnyard grass is found throughout the United States and is notorious for invading agriculture fields, nurseries, and landscapes. Its leaves are flat and smooth and can range from 4-12 inches long.

Barnyard grass prefers moist, well-fertilized lawns and is easily identifiable by its purple-tinged stem, long, flat leaves, and its bristly purple seed head which can be 4-16 inches in length.


Chickweed is a winter annual broadleaf weed that enjoys shady, moist areas of your yard. It grows in a low, rounded mound of leaves that forms a dense mat about 2 inches tall. Chickweed is identified by its small white flowers. Thanks to its shallow root system it can be easily pulled by hand. Chickweed spreads mostly from seed, but it can also reproduce via creeping stems that root from nodes in the stem.


White clover is a perennial weed that is common throughout Indiana lawns. It grows low to the ground with its characteristic 3-leaf stems. Its flowers can be white or pink. Clover is an indicator that you have low nitrogen levels. Since clover can make its own nitrogen, it can thrive in undernourished lawns. Clover spreads by dispersing seeds and sending out creeping stems that can take root. Proper lawn fertilization will thicken and strengthen your lawn and ultimately discourage clover from growing.

Coarse Fescue

Tall fescue, also known as coarse fescue, is a cool season perennial grass that forms clumps with upright leaves. It grows medium-dark green blades that are 1/2 inch wide. The lower parts of the stems turn reddish purple in the spring and fall. Tall fescue makes for an attractive turf when grown by itself. But when it invades other grass types it is considered a weed.  Fescue tends to become very clumpy and makes the turf look uneven and sloppy.


Crabgrass is one of the most common and hated weeds in Indiana. This opportunistic annual weed has a habit of popping up in thin lawns that are:

  • Too thin
  • Mowed too short
  • Getting too much sunlight
  • Watered too much
  • Fertilized too much

Crabgrass is a very tough weed that is very drought tolerant making it stand out from the rest of your grass in the hot summers. It can easily blend in with the rest of your lawn, but upon closer inspection, you will notice that it grows low to the ground with stems that radiate outward resembling crab legs. Seeds deposited the previous season sprout in mid-spring or as soon as the soil temperature reaches 55 °F. If not controlled in the spring, crabgrass can be a big problem in the summer.


Native to Uruguay and Argentina, Dallisgrass is a perennial grass that is now found in much of the southern United States. Dallisgrass is a coarse-textured grass that spreads by underground stems. When it matures, the center may die and other weeds may take its place. Since Dallisgrass produces abundant amounts of seeds, it’s important to start controlling it as early as possible.


When we think of weeds, dandelions are probably the first thing that pops into our minds.  These yellow flowers are perennial broadleaf weeds that can invade almost any lawn in any condition. The plant grows from a low rosette of deeply lobed leaves. The flower stalk is hollow and produces a sticky white sap when cut. A seed cluster is a small puffball at the top that is dispersed by the wind or the lawn mower. Its flexible stems and low-profile of the plant help to protect it from being cut by lawn mower blades. Dandelions also have a deep tap root that can produce new plants if it isn’t fully removed.


Like crabgrass, foxtail is an annual grassy weed that is noticeable in the summer when it produces its seeds, they form in clusters of bristles at the end of the plant, which resembles the bushy tail of a fox. It is sometimes mistaken for real grass when it starts to grow and can go unnoticed until it begins to take over your lawn. Foxtail is more prone to lawns with thin, bare yards and gardens. Foxtail can be prevented by maintaining a well-fed and lush lawn.


Goosegrass, also called wiregrass, is an annual warm-season grass that is commonly found in highly trafficked areas with compacted soil and thin grass. It has a strong, extensive root system that makes controlling this weed rather difficult once it is established. Goosegrass is easily identified by its flattened stem and prostrate growth habit. The seed head contains two to five racemes with seeds arranged in a herringbone pattern.

Ground Ivy

Also known as Creeping Charlie, this perennial broadleaf weed was introduced into North America as an ornamental and medicinal plant back in the 1800s. features slender vines that grow outward and cling to the ground. Its leaves are rounded with scalloped edges. The flowers of this weed emerge from March to July and are about ½-¾ in. long and are purple or lavender in color. Ground ivy is an aggressive grower that forms dense patches along the ground that crowd out native plants.


Nutsedge is a family of fast-growing perennial weeds that look strikingly similar to the grass on your lawn except for its yellow color and triangular stem. Nutsedge can be identified by its root system, which consists of starchy balls called “nutlets”. These nettles spread horizontally underground to emerge as a new plant. This persistent weed can survive in any soil type. Nutsedge will die back in the fall when temperatures drop but its underground nutlets can lay dormant in the soil and sprout the following spring.


Broadleaf plantains are perennial warm-season weeds that were initially introduced to the U.S. from Europe for their medicinal properties. It can tolerate wet or dry soils and grows well in compacted soil.  It is found in nearly all climates across the United States and is one of the most common weeds in Indiana. It has a low profile with leaves that are broad and flat. Flower clusters grow on a central stalk that can be around 12” high. Each plant can produce up to 14,000 seeds that can remain dormant in the soil for 50 to 60 years


Easily identified by its red stems and green leaves, spurge can take root and grow quickly. It does well in any soil conditions, especially in weak areas of your yard, in gardens, and between cracks in your sidewalk and driveway. Spurge belongs to a family of annual warm-season weeds and grows rather slowly. When they grow close together, spurge forms a dense mat of foliage radiating from a central taproot. Luckily, these weeds are easy to pull up by hand.


Thistles are nasty plants that can pop up in your yard in the summer. Their sharp barbs make it painful to run around in your yard barefoot. In our yards, thistles grow low to the ground and can avoid being cut by lawn mowers. Thistles in the yard rarely go to seed because they need to grow to a certain height before they produce their signature purple flowers and wispy seeds. Thistles can grow in almost all soil types but do best in farm pastures, fencerows, or ditches.

Wild Violets

Wild violets are perennials that bloom in mid-May. While they may look like a beautiful decorative flower, they can quickly take over and are difficult to control. The flowers consist of five purple petals, but they can also be white or yellow. The flowers usually appear in early spring and summer, and the plants are most often found in shady habitats. Wild violets can spread by seed or underground stems. Through just a few seasons, wild violets can take over gardens and fencerows and create a huge problem for homeowners and gardeners trying to control them.

Identifying Common Lawn Weeds in Indiana

There are so many different weeds in Indiana that it can be hard to identify them. Controlling them can be even harder if you don’t have the tools or the experience. At Green Scene we have both and we have been battling weeds in Indiana for over 20 years. If you are struggling with weeds in your yard, give us a call and find out how our lawn care program can help you win the war on weeds.

Call us at  317-326-8888 or leave a message on our contact page.

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