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Weed Identification & British Garden / Lawn Weed
Information Guide


Welcome to our Garden Weed Identification Guide.


This lawn weed information resource will help you identify common British weeds found in lawns and sports surfaces.


Once identified, understanding what they look like and how they grow, can help you in two ways:


  • For small infestations, you may be able to treat them yourself, using a weed killer
  • For larger contaminated areas of lawn or turf, we may need to discuss a weed treatment programme


Whether you treat your lawn weeds yourself or enlist our professional help, we hope you find this weed ID guide useful. We’ve also included their Latin name, in case you need to refer to it!


Common Lawn, Grass & Pernicious Weeds


The most common lawn, grass and pernicious weeds found in Britain include:


Daisy - Bellis perennis


DaisyThe Daisy is one of the most common and recognisable lawn and turf weeds in gardens in the UK. It can grow in almost any soil conditions and spreads by short runners called stolons. It is a perennial weed which means it lasts for several years. It has very fleshy round leaves which can grow very close to the ground meaning that it can survive in close mown lawns.


The flowers are very distinctive appearing from spring to early autumn with a bright yellow centre surrounded by white petals


White Clover - Trifolium repens


White CloverA very recognisable weed found in lawns and turf. White Clover is a perennial weed meaning that it returns year after year. This low growing weed has creeping runners that travel along the surface and can quickly colonise a lawn and choke out the grass in a short period of time.


The leaves are a characteristic shape, divided into three leaflets, occasionally found as four which deemed to be lucky!


The flowers are often found above the leaves, generally white in appearance and found throughout the summer. This plant prefers good quality soils and is found less in dry or shady conditions.


Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale


The Dandelion is a common perennial weed that forms a large flat rosette. It is a perennial plant but spreads readily from seed, germinating throughout the year. It has a long stout tap root which makes it very difficult to pull out of the ground successfully. The Dandelion leaves which have many health benefits are long and fleshy with characteristic teeth and can grow to a significant size.

The single yellow flower grows from the centre of the rosette and is a vibrant yellow which can be seen from March to November. The seeds are wind borne and are readily found germinating especially along the edges of paths.

Creeping Buttercup - Ranunculus repens


The Creeping Buttercup is a low growing perennial weed which prefers wet heavy soils. It is a common weed in lawns in the UK and as the name suggests, it spreads using creeping stems that run along the surface of the ground, extending upwards into a new plant on a regular basis. The roots are very fibrous and dense, this weed is difficult to remove permanently as it takes several years to weaken the plant.

The bright yellow flowers have 6 to 9 petals each and can be seed from mid spring to late summer.


Birds-Foot Trefoil - Lotus corniculatus


Birds Foot TrefoilBirds-foot trefoil is a perennial lawn weed and is also a member of the clover family. It can be a major problem on UK lawns as it forms large patches, it has a deep root system and spreads by both stolons and rhizomes (above and underground runners).


Like clover, the leaf has 3 leaflets on a short stalk with two more leaflets at the base of the stalk which can grow knee high if left alone.

The flowers are bright yellow and pretty and resemble those of the Honeysuckle. They can be seen from late April until late September. Birds-Foot Trefoil can tolerate a wide variety of soil types but prefers non acidic, dry soils.


Yarrow - Achillea millefolium


YarrowYarrow is a perennial weed, common weed on all types of lawns and turf in the UK. It has deep fibrous roots and can withstand droughty conditions.


It spreads by creeping stems which root at intervals. It is generally seen later in the year and the deep root system also gives it the benefit of being able to survive dry conditions. The leaves are fern like in appearance macking it very easy to identify.


Scarlet Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis


Scarlet PimpernelScarlet Pimpernel is an annual weed meaning that it only lasts one year, fresh plants need to grow from seed. This means it is rarely a threat to a well maintained lawn.

The leaves are very similar to Common Chickweed but can be identified by its square stems and red flower. The distinct flowers of Scarlet Pimpernel can be seen from June - September. Each flower has five petals and are an orange - red colour.


Selfheal - Prunella vulgaris


SelfhealSelfheal is a common weed on all types of lawn throughout the UK. This perennial weed spreads by creeping runners known as rhizomes, which root at intervals.

It can quite happily grow in closely mown areas of turf although if left alone, it will grow to a height of 30cm and produce an attractive plant.

This plant can thrive in most conditions, the leaves appear in pars and in closely mown areas, they may have a purple ting. Selfheal flowers from June to October, producing a bright purple flower.


Mouse-ear Chickweed - Cerastium vulgatum


Mouse Ear ChickweedMouse-ear Chickweed is a perennial weed and is very common on lawns throughout in the UK. It can be very annoying as it can spread very rapidly, smothering grass in the process. It can easily survive close mowing but can be controlled with selective herbicides. The small dark green leaves are distinctive in that they are very hairy.

The flowers are very small and upright and white in colour appearing from late spring up to autumn.


Common Chickweed - Stellaria media


Common ChickweedCommon Chickweed is an annual weed but very rapidly growing weed. It is only really a problem in gappy lawns or freshly seeded areas as it cannot cope with close mowing.

The plant has pairs of leaves which are fleshy with a consistency of lettuce. The flowers are small and white with 5 petals although it looks like 10 with the deep lobes. It flowers from February to November.


Cats Ear - Hypochaeris radicata


Cats EarCats Ear is a perennial weed with a deep taproot. It is very common and can be a major problem on lawns throughout in the UK as it will tolerate close mowing.

The leaves look very much like a stunted dandelion and are often close to the soil. The plant flowers throughout the summer with the long stems producing one or two bright yellow flowers.

This plant is found more often on drier soils.


Creeping Cinquefoil - Potentilla reptans


Creeping CinquefoilCreeping Cinquefoil is a perennial weed, more common on neglected lawns and turf in the UK. It is rarely a problem on well maintained lawns. It spreads by creeping stems which root at intervals.


The leaves are distinctive with five different segments with toothed edges. The flowers are yellow, again with five large fleshy petals which are visible from June to October.


Greater Plantain - Plantago major


Greater PlantainGreater Plantain is a common weed on all types of lawn throughout the UK It has a deep root system making it drought resistant and the flat rosette of substantial leaves, kills the grass underneath.


Slender Speedwell - Veronica filiformis


Slender SpeedwellSlender Speedwell is a perennial weed which can be a persistent problem on lawns throughout the UK. It spreads by both underground and over ground runners.

Control can be achieved with current chemicals but this needs correct timing and adjuvants.

Slender Speedwell is more of a problem in closely mown turf than Germander Speedwell.


Germander Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys


Germander SpeedwellGermander Speedwell is a perennial weed also known as Bird's-eye Speedwell. The leaves are kidney shaped and have prominent veins. The flowers can be seen between mid to late June.

Germander Speedwell can survive in all soil types but it is most common in damper conditions.


Lesser Celandine - Ranunculus ficaria


Lesser CelandineLesser Celandine is usually one of the most prominent weeds seen early in the spring. The flower is one of the first to show among lawn weeds but the plant soon disappears as the weather warms up.


This is difficult to control in a permanent sense as it needs to be hit early each year to weaken it. More commonly found in darker shady areas.


The leaves are fleshy and dark green, very easily recognised.


Ribwort Plantain - Plantago lanceolata


Ribworth PlantainVery similar to greater plantain in habit and location, albeit the leaves are long and thin.

This plant is very drought tolerant and it can cause unsightly patches, easy however to remove using the correct selective herbicides.


Doves-Foot Cranesbill - Geranium molle


Doves-Foot CranesbillDoves-foot cranesbill is an annual plant which is a geranium, it prefers dry soils and is common on lawns throughout the UK.

The flowers are a pretty pink or red and commonly seen in late spring and summer.


Red Clover - Trifolium pratense


Red CloverRed Clover is a perennial weed found on all types of lawn lawns throughout in the UK.


Being larger than white clover, it is more noticeable in lawns as it tends to grow more upright, hence it is more noticeable.


The flowers and leaves are larger than those of white clover. Red Clover flowers from May to October.


Common Ragwort - Senecio jacobaea


Common RagwortRagwort is rarely a problem on fine lawns but is more common on low maintenance and neglected lawns.

It is a biennial weed meaning that it produces lots of leaf in year one with the aim to produce a significant number of flowers in year two.

It is not difficult to control in lawns.


Broad-Leaved Dock - Rumex obtusifolius


Broad-Leaved DockBroad-leaved dock is a perennial weed most commonly found in neglected lawns and rough grassland.

The plants have very deep tap roots enabling them to survive drought and poor nutrition soil types.

Permanent control is not complicated provided that the timing of herbicide application is correct.



If you would like to discuss weed infestation in your garden, sports surface or recreational ground, please contact us to arrange an informal visit. Alternatively read our latest news, find out more about us or sign up for our email newsletter.


Author: Colin Peters