6 Common Weeds In The DC Area

A while back, we put together an article about the common grass types in DC. While it’s very important to know which type of grass you have so you can treat it in the proper way, it is equally as important to have some knowledge about common weeds in the DC area. This way, you can remain hyper-vigilant and keep your yard healthy and weed-free. Here are six common weeds you’ll find in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland:

1. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

When I was a kid, I thought Dandelions were flowers. I wasn’t sure why my parents were so keen on getting rid of them. Of course, you and I both know now that they are perennial weeds that spread like wildfire.

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2. Annual Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus)

Annual Sowthistle is a perennial weed that spreads by seeds. To combat this nuisance, dig out the entire root, and then aerate and add organic matter to lawn. This weed tolerates compacted soil and shade.


3. Carpetweed (Mollugo verticillata)

Carpetweed is a very common perennial weed in Northern Virginia. It can grow to be about 1 foot tall and is very unsightly. To combat carpetweed, pull the plants as soon as they appear, and mulch deeply to smother any seeds.


4. Large Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis)

Living in the DC area, it’s likely you’ve come across crabgrass. And if not, you’re lucky. It’s tough to get rid of (mowing over it won’t do the trick). Basically, you’ll want to pull out the entire plant and roots as soon as possible. Then mulch and let grass grow to 3 to 4 inches high to prevent seed germination Finally, spread corn gluten in the early spring to stop seedlings from growing and spreading.

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5. Poison Ivy (Rhus radicans)

Poison ivy is dangerous for obvious reasons. Though it’s not super common within the DC metropolis, if you’ve got a wooded yard that is heavier on brush, it is still a significant risk. Since the entire plant is toxic, you’ll want to wear gloves and protective clothes when dealing with it. To get rid of it, cut the plant at the base and let it dry out. Then bury it. Don’t compost it or burn it, because inhaling the smoke is super dangerous/fatal.

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6. Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)

Prickly lettuce, also known as milk thistle, is a perennial weed that is very common in the US, especially across the Midwest. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and can be an aesthetic and agronomic annoyance, as it can play host to lettuce diseases. To get rid of it, pull  the plants as soon as you notice them (make sure to wear gloves).


There is a whole host of other weed types that you might run into in the DC area, but these are 6 that you’ll very likely see. If you’re interested in learning more about different types of weeds in Virginia, check out this guide from Virginia Tech. And as always, whether you’re in Fairfax County, Rockville, Washington DC, or anywhere else in the area and you need lawn care or weeding done, consider giving us a call!


Alex Birkett

Alex Birkett is marketer and writer. Aside from mowing lawns, he loves snowboarding, eating sushi, and lifting heavy weights. He moved to Austin, TX after graduating from the University of Wisconsin.