Fall Weeds: How to Identify Weeds in Autumn

Choosing the DIY lawn care approach may seem to be the most cost-effective option for maintaining a healthy lawn and garden. However, opting for a professional service offers many benefits. Lawn Doctor‘s expert team cares about the service we provide. We evaluate your lawn and listen to your concerns before creating a treatment and maintenance plan customized specifically for your situation.

The lawn care experts at Lawn Doctor tailor an annual fertilization and weed plan to your lawn’s needs to address the most stubborn fall weeds. Whether you battle perennial or annual weeds, our team will recommend the most effective pre-emergent herbicide treatment before cold temperatures set in.

What Weeds Grow in the Fall?

When it comes to fall weed control, it’s best to think instead about which weeds grow in the spring so you can get ahead of the issue. Broadleaf weeds are one category whose growth tends to ramp up as temperatures warm up.

Broadleaf weeds are typically identified by their broad, round leaves. Their seedlings initially appear with two leaves, and some weeds produce showy flowers. Looking closely at the leaves, you’ll notice they feature one main vein running through the center with a network of smaller veins branching out from it.

Their stems may be square or round, and broadleaf weeds may grow close to the ground or upright. Pulling weeds from the soil may reveal a clump of thin roots or one large taproot. A broadleaf weed’s life cycle may be categorized as an annual or perennial.

Annual vs. Perennial Broadleaf Weeds

An annual broadleaf weed’s life cycle begins and ends within 12 months, completing the following stages:

  • Germinating from seeds
  • Growing
  • Flowering
  • Producing seeds
  • Dying

Annuals can also be distinguished by the season in which they germinate and grow. Winter annuals sprout in the autumn, grow throughout the winter, and die in early summer. Summer annuals sprout in the spring, grow throughout summer and fall, and die with the first frost.

Perennial weeds — those that live more than 2 years — can be difficult to control. Not requiring a seed to reproduce, perennials can propagate from above- or below-ground stems, bulbs or tubers.

Why Are Broadleaf Weeds Best Controlled in the Fall?

Autumn’s cooler temperatures produce the best results for controlling broadleaf weeds. Summer’s above 80-degree temperatures convert liquid herbicides into a gas that can destroy surrounding vegetation.

Fall Weeds to Watch Out For

Here are some of the most common weeds that are best controlled during the fall season, including broadleaf weeds.


Also known as mare’s tail and horse tail, marestall looks like miniature fir trees. It’s an invasive perennial species, reaching heights of 2 feet and competing with your garden plants for sunlight, nutrients and water.

Wild Violet

Although most wild violets feature varying shades of purple, some have white and yellow blooms. Highly invasive, this perennial presents one bloom per stalk. Its leaves are oblong and serrated, coming to a point at the tip.


A member of the carnation family, chickweed grows throughout your lawn. It has five white double-lobed petals seated between two oval-shaped leaves. Many people consider the plant’s nutrient-rich leaves a welcome addition to their diet. However, left unchecked, the highly invasive chickweed can choke out grass.

Hairy Bittercress

Another edible weed, hairy bittercress is a member of the mustard family, offering a mild, peppery flavor. You’ll spot the fibrous stems bearing four delicate white petals shooting out from the low clumps of heart-shaped leaves at the edge of your lawn. A prolific seed producer, this hearty broadleaf annual can quickly overpower your lawn if not immediately managed.


Easily spotted by its purple square stem, henbit’s scalloped heart-shaped leaves grow opposite each other. Germinating in the fall, the winter annual’s reddish-purple blooms appear in early spring.

Choose the Right Approach for Weed Treatment

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment for weed control. That’s why choosing an experienced lawn care team to manage your lawn’s health is critical. Our professionals may recommend a fall pre-emergent plan to prevent common weeds from growing all winter and developing into an unsightly spring lawn.

Pre-emergent Herbicide

Applied to the soil before weeds appear, a pre-emergent herbicide creates a barrier that prevents the seeds from germinating. After evaluating your lawn and garden, a Lawn Doctor professional will create a plan for effectively eliminating the common grassy weeds affecting your landscape.

Some considerations for choosing the right pre-emergent herbicide include:

  • Weed type
  • Lawn size
  • Time of year
  • Choice of selective or nonselective herbicide
  • Selective herbicide kills only the weeds.
  • Nonselective herbicide kills all vegetation.

Consistent Weed Treatment

Consistent weed treatment helps ensure a healthy lawn and garden. Lawn Doctor’s lawn care professionals evaluate your landscape before creating a custom weed control plan that eliminates current and future growth. Consistent weed treatment helps prevent lawn problems, such as:

  • Disease
  • Fungal growth
  • Pest infestation

Contact your local Lawn Doctor experts at (800) 845-0580 and inquire about our annual fertilization and weed plans. We’ll conduct a comprehensive lawn analysis and suggest a customized treatment and service plan.