Summer Weeds: How to Identify Weeds in Summer

Weeds are something every gardener has to deal with at some point, and it can be frustrating when they start to invade a well-maintained lawn. Weeds also grow quickly, and unfortunately, they are a year-long problem.

Summer weeds are particularly noticeable because most people want to be out enjoying their gardens during that time. In this article, we’ll explore how to kill weeds in the summer and prevent annual weeds from taking root in the first place.

Do Weeds Die in the Summer?

Weeds are seasonal, and the ones that spring up during the colder months will die off as the weather warms up. Unfortunately, they’re often replaced by summer weeds, which germinate in the spring and thrive in warmer conditions.

Although some weeds die during the summer, relying on this as a method of controlling weeds is not effective. Several types of summer weeds, such as crabgrass, ground ivy, and thistles, are waiting to spring up and take over your lawn until the frost comes back.

The Most Common Summer Annual Weeds

Some of the most common summer weeds found in grass include:


Crabgrass is so named because of its appearance, resembling crab legs. It grows taller and spreads outwards as it matures. Crabgrass is also one of the most frustrating summer weeds to deal with because it looks a lot like fescue grass, with short, fat blades. Because it doesn’t grow tall, it’s not tamed by a lawnmower, and it’s quite resilient to foot traffic.

Crabgrass can be difficult to control because it’s drought-resistant, and each plant can produce a huge number of seeds. If you notice this weed on your lawn, it’s important to take action before it produces seeds.

Creeping Charlie / Ground Ivy

Ground ivy is the common name for the weed Glechoma hederacea. This invasive plant, which is a member of the mint family, is a perennial that can live for two years or more in the right conditions. It tolerates sun and grows in thick mats, even in poor soil.

Despite being a weed, this plant is not disliked by everyone. It grows rapidly and can quickly overpower a lawn. However, it’s not particularly invasive, making it a popular option for ground cover in environments where maintaining a lush lawn is difficult. Pollinators also love the flowers, so it’s an effective way of attracting bees and butterflies.

White Clover

White clover is a controversial plant among gardeners. It thrives in low nitrogen conditions and grows close to the ground, reducing competition with other plants. Due to its resilience, this plant is perfect as a ground cover in areas with poor soil. However, it can easily take over and choke out sparse or thin lawns if it isn’t managed carefully.

While white clover isn’t a summer annual, it’s more noticeable during the summer months, and the seeds can survive high temperatures. The best way to control white clover is to hand-pull the plant, trying to remove as much of the root system as possible. Additionally, keep your lawn well-fertilized to encourage more desirable plants to grow.


Thistles are a type of flowering plant with prickly leaves. Many different types of thistle exist, and not all of them are considered weeds. For example, the wavyleaf thistle is loved by Native Americans and used in traditional food and medicine. The Canada thistle and bull thistle are considered noxious weeds. In some states, such as Oklahoma, landowners must take steps to control the growth of invasive thistles.

Spotted Spurge

The Spotted Spurge is a fast-growing plant that grows low to the ground and spreads, forming a mat across the soil. It’s native to eastern North America but also grows in other parts of the world. The plant is quite hardy, capable of growing in cracks on the sidewalk, on thin lawns, and in other areas of poor, compacted soil.

Spotted Spurge is a common summer weed because its seeds germinate best in warm soil. The plant also thrives during hot summers, when other plants that might conceal its growth die off. However, it’s eventually killed by frost but will grow back the following summer.

How to Kill Weeds in the Summer

If you want to kill lawn weeds in the summer, the first step is identifying the weeds you’re dealing with. Some weeds can be removed simply by hand-pulling them, while others require treatment with a weed-specific herbicide or a lawn weed killer.

Regular raking and mowing can effectively keep weeds at bay without resorting to chemical-based weed control. Some particularly invasive weeds require chemical treatment. You can spray for weeds in the summer, but if you choose to do so, you may need to spray multiple times over a couple of months to fully eradicate the weed.

How to Prevent Weed Growth in the Summer

Killing weeds in the summer can be challenging, and it’s often more effective to prevent weed growth in the first place. Many invasive weeds grow best in soil that’s low in nutrients, dry, or poorly shaded. The weeds take hold because the lawn is thin. Once weeds are growing, they overrun areas where you might have wanted to have more desirable flowers grow.

By enriching your soil with nutrients, keeping it moist, and planting flowers, you can prevent weeds from taking hold. Additionally, regular raking and mowing help remove any invasive species trying to take up residence in your lawn. This proactive approach also helps reduce the need for chemical weed control treatments and detect any unwanted plants that might be growing.

At Lawn Doctor, we use a scientific approach to weed control and lawn care, producing lush, thriving lawns that are easy to care for. We identify the weeds in your garden, devise a treatment plan to eliminate them, and provide ongoing services to help keep your lawn weed-free.

To learn more and keep your lawn looking its best all year round, call Lawn Doctor today for expert advice on summer weed control. One of our team members will be happy to assist you.