Homowners can’t be blamed for getting frustrated if, after putting many hours of hard work into a creating a beautiful lawn, they find weeds cropping up. The weather in Columbus, Ohio, contributes to the weed population with hot and humid summers and periods of heavy rainfall.  Being proactive and controlling the worst weeds in Columbus is possible.

    Noxious Weeds

    Poison Ivy, Leaves Of Three, Blisters, Danger, Vine

    The State of Ohio has defined 31 weeds as noxious and deserving eradication anywhere they’re found on public right-of-ways. They’re a good starting point for homeowners looking to create their own “most unwanted” list, too. The weeds may be grassy or broadleaf. Some even have striking blooms and florets. Of about 700 nonnative plants found in Columbus and the rest of the Buckeye State, fewer than 100 of them are problems in natural areas.  But all Ohio weeds can damage grass and gardens.   

    The City of Columbus Code Enforcement division considers grass to be too high when it exceeds 12 inches. Noxious weeds that can cause unhealthy or unsafe conditions, such as poison ivy, oak or sumac, must be removed promptly.

    Flowery and Grassy Weeds in Columbus Lawns

    Bittercress/Hairy Bittercress

    Bittercress is that winter weed with long stems and tiny white blooms that crops up every year. Pulling it up by hand with a weeding tool is recommended, but not always practical. Treating bittercress with chemical herbicide poses a risk to people, pets, and the environment. A pre-emergent herbicide product applied in late summer or early fall will prevent the seeds from germinating. The problem? Pre-emergents also stop grass seed from growing. Products containing MCPP or dicamba may be effective.

    Buckhorn Plantain

    Credit: harum.koe

    This invasive plant is rather attractive for a weed, with tiny white florets on a pinecone-like spike. Post-emergent weed killers are helpful but may need several applications.


    Chickweed, Hem Certification, Cuteness, Pink

    One of the most common grassy flower weeds, chickweed is a favorite of honeybees and other pollinating insects. The thin green stems with white flower buds are difficult to control without killing off the surrounding vegetation. The best way to remove shallow chickweed roots is to pull them out by hand and then aerate the soil. Watch out for bees!   


    Springtime is the beginning of this season-long weed, as it thrives in full sunlight.  Leggy stems grow and spread out over the lawn. It can be hard to spot, but crabgrass color is a lighter shade of green. Pre-emergent herbicide is effective on young crabgrass plants – where only two or three leaves are present.  Post-emergent weed killers work if there aren’t many weeds embedded in the lawn. But large areas of aged crabgrass that have swallowed up the turf will leave dead, brown stems if you treat it. Crabgrass dies with the first hard frost; in Columbus, that is usually in late October. Reseed in early autumn and apply a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring.


    One of the most persistent weeds, with their yellow petals that turn into white puffy seed balls. Broadleaf post-emergent weed killers are effective. But keep in mind the seeds are windborne, and it’s quite a chore to kill them before they germinate.    


    If left untreated, nutsedge can choke out healthy plants in its path. This weed starts out looking like grass blades — only taller and with an invasive root system. The perennial weed is resilient and comes back year after year. Post-emergent herbicides are your best bet, but their effectiveness is hit or miss. 


    Thistle seed is a draw for songbirds in Columbus, but the spiky, prickly plants can be rough on bare feet!  Weedkiller helps, but it’s better to don a pair of heavy gardening gloves and remove them by hand at the base of the plant.

    Wild Violets

    Yes, those bright purple blooms are pretty, but wild violets are perennial weeds with heart-shaped foliage. Autumn is the best time to treat wild violets since the post-emergent chemical absorbs into the root system before winter’s freeze.

    Whether you fight the weeds yourself or hire a lawn service, establishing a diligent plan will help you keep one step, and one weed ahead of the game.

    Need more information about lawn care in Columbus and Central Ohio? Check out our Columbus, OH Lawn Care page.

    Jill Ramone is a landscaper who specializes in designing sustainable yards for busy homeowners. She prides herself on using eco-friendly products to control weeds and pests.