The usual suspects

Hairy bittercress

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This weed starts spreading with the winter rains and loves moist conditions and disturbed soil. It’s easy to pull by hand, but make sure you get it before the thin seeds pop and spread throughout the lawn. Look for a flat rosette of leaves with small, four-petal white flowers on wiry stems.

Annual bluegrass

One of the most common weeds in lawns, annual bluegrass has canoe-shaped leaves and thrives in cool season grasses, especially in moist, shady spots. This weed will start germinating when temperatures fall below 70 degrees and will continue to germinate throughout the winter. Once temperatures start to drop in the fall, apply a pre-emergent such as benefin, oryzalin or pendimethalin to prevent damage.

Henbit

Henbit can generally be removed by hand, but if chemical control is necessary, a three-way herbicide such as trimec, is effective on most lawns. Look for hairy, purplish stems with broad leaves that have prominent veins on the undersides.

Red thread

Turf will generally recover from red thread in healthy stands. It usually appears when temperatures drop below 70 degrees. Adequate fertilizer is one of the best ways to prevent red thread and fungicide is not generally recommended as the disease is purely cosmetic.

Dollar spot

Dollar spot usually looks like smaller spots in the lawn, sometimes with small cottony strings of fungus. Dollar spot is rarely severe enough to require a fungicide application. Instead, make sure that turf is getting enough nitrogen, do not overwater, remove thatch and don’t cut grass too short.

Large patch

Large patch can also be prevented with proper lawn care techniques. While it can appear any time of the year, it’s most common in spring and fall. It tends to do well when grass is cut too short and soil is moist. Triadimefon, flutolanil and azoxystrobin are all effective fungicides.

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