Summer Weed Control – Lawn Care Part VIII

Throughout the growing season, FRWA will share lawn care tips to keep your lawn looking great – without turning to chemical fertilizers and pesticides that can contaminate our rivers and streams. Curious about what you can do at home to help the rivers and streams? Visit and take the River Smart pledge!

If you missed our previous posts, visit our website at to learn more about river-friendly landscaping and organic lawn care. Questions? Please contact our FRWA organic lawn care expert, Aimee Petras via email.

If you have been reading our emails this season, you should be well versed in lawn care and understand the benefits of allowing your grass to grow high and infrequent watering.  Some lawns in the region have gone dormant due to the climate and it’s wise to let it be for the time being.  On my walks through my neighborhood, I am noticing weeds that should be dealt with, namely plantain (broadleaf and buckhorn), mugwort, and crabgrass. 

Plantains are developing seedheads now and if you don’t remove them, these seeds will find their way into the soil and sprout next year. Broadleaf plantains are easy to spot as the leaves spread out from the crown and push the grass away.  The seedheads also shoot out from the crown and are thin and long. At a minimum, you want to remove the seedheads if not the entire plant. These plants are often found along driveways and paths as they can grow in compacted soil.

Crabgrass is starting to emerge in lawns and in garden beds. If you can remove the plant, give it a try unless it will expose a large area of your lawn. In garden beds,

remove the plant and try to replace the mulch so that the soil beneath isn’t exposed. Crabgrass is starting to produce seeds, so try to manage it until the temperatures get cooler for overseeding in the late summer and fall. Mowing high to maintain a healthy thick turf will ultimately help with keeping crabgrass under control. If you apply an herbicide now, it might impact your efforts to reseed your lawn later in the season. 

Mugwort is another common weed thriving in mid-summer. The leaves are deeply lobed

and are dark green on top and lighter green underneath. Mugwort can grow uncontrolled along riverbanks and roadsides but is somewhat easier to manage in a lawn setting.  Repeated cutting from a lawnmower will prevent the plant from growing and dispersing seeds but the plant will survive over winter and sprout again in the spring. It’s best to yank the plant out and fill in the empty space with a bit of compost and grass seeds.  Buy a bag of grass seed now so you have it on hand for overseeding later in the summer.