How to get rid of them and what you need to know
Weeds in your lawn are not only annoying they can also have a significant impact on a home’s curb appeal (important if you’re planning to sell your property or do a lot of entertaining). Plants like Onehunga prickle weed or thistle, can also ruin your family’s ability to enjoy your outdoor area. No one wants to have to wear shoes every time they go in the garden!
So how do you tackle the weeds effectively, without killing off your lawn? The answer depends on the weeds you’re dealing with, in many cases there is more than one product available that can solve your problem. That’s why we’ve created the handy table below that outlines NZ’s Top 20 worst lawn weeds and the best products to treat them with.
Click on the weed for more information on identification and control.
NOTE: This article is best viewed in landscape mode on your phone, or on a larger screen like a tablet, laptop or desktop computer in order to see all three columns in the table properly.
NZ's 20 Worst Lawn Weeds
Best Product(s) for the Job
Annual and perennial grasses seed readily infest fine turf lawns. Can be difficult to control.
Wearing rubber gloves paint Weed Weapon Invade Gel onto the crown of the weed grass (central growing region) and as many leaves of the weed grass as possible. This will kill the grass and its roots. Specialist lawn products won’t work as they’re designed not to kill grass.
Group of low growing turf weeds that are obvious in the lawn. Tolerates many lawn herbicides making them harder to kill.
Speedwells in lawns are best controlled with LawnPro Turfclean Ultra a product designed to tackle tough lawn weeds. Speedwells can be tolerant of herbicides so a second application may be required 3-4 weeks later.
Low-growing stoloniferous weed, obvious in the lawn. Moderately difficult to control.
Daisies in lawns can be easily controlled with any of the following products: LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Turfclean, LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle or LawnPro All-in-1 which is a cost-effective, multi-purpose solution for busy people or inexperienced gardeners.
Feathery-leaved weed, obvious in the lawn. Tolerates many lawn herbicides.
Apply a selective herbicide like LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Turfclean or LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle. This will effectively control yarrow and other broadleaf weeds but will leave lawn grasses unaffected.
Group of, often prickly, annual-perennial rosette weeds with taproots. Most are relatively easy to control.
Apply a selective herbicide like LawnPro Turfclean Ultra or LawnPro Turfclean. This will effectively control thistles but will leave lawn grasses unaffected. Thistles can also be easily spot-treated with Weed Weapon Invade Gel.
Low-growing weeds of damp areas of poor soil. Relatively easy to control. Requires a change of conditions.
Apply LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle or LawnPro Turfclean Ultra a selective herbicide that does not harm lawn grasses but kills hydrocotyle. For more effective control leave lawns uncut for two-three weeks before treatment.
Low-growing perennial with creeping rhizomes, obvious in the lawn. Can be difficult to control when established.
Apply the selective herbicide LawnPro Turfclean Ultra or LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle. This will effectively control sorrel and other broadleaf weeds but will leave lawn grasses unaffected. LawnPro Turfclean will suppress sorrel as part of your routine lawn weed control.
Rosette perennial weeds with taproots. Can be difficult to control when established.
Apply the selective herbicide LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Turfclean or Turfclean & Green. This will effectively control hawksbeard but will leave lawn grasses unaffected. Alternatively, hawksbeard can be spot-sprayed with Weed Weapon Rapid Action or painted with Weed Weapon Invade Gel.
Clover/oxalis-like weeds spread through the lawn, obvious in the lawn. Relatively easy to control.
Apply a selective herbicide such as LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle, LawnPro Turfclean, Turfclean & Green or LawnPro All-in-1. They will effectively kill trefoil but leave the lawn grass unaffected.
Perennial rosette weed with large taproot, obvious in the lawn. Moderately difficult to control once established.
Apply the selective herbicide LawnPro Turfclean Ultra or LawnPro Turfclean. This will effectively control plantains but will leave lawn grasses unaffected. Spot treat with Weed Weapon Invade Gel or Weed Weapon Rapid Action. These Weed Weapon products are systemic and kill weeds down to the roots within 2-4 days.
Low-growing perennial native spreads easily, obvious in the lawn. Can be difficult to control.
Mat-forming weed in acidic, damp, shaded areas of lawn. Relatively easy to control. Requires a change of conditions.
Cut the lawn one day before treatment then spray with LawnPro Mossclear. Best to apply in Autumn or early winter before moss becomes too established and dense, though the product can be used throughout the year. Another option is LawnPro All-in-1 which can treat moss and feed the lawn at the same time. Read How to Get Rid of Moss in Lawns.
Perennial with large taproot readily grows in turf areas. Moderately difficult to control once established.
Perennial with large taproot readily grows in lawns. Moderately difficult to control once established.
Apply a selective herbicide like LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Turfclean, Turfclean & Green or All-in-1. This will effectively control dandelions but will leave lawn grasses unaffected. Alternatively, dandelions can be spot sprayed with Weed Weapon Extra Strength, Weed Weapon Rapid Action or painted with Weed Weapon Invade Gel.
Group of annual-perennial low-growing spreading weeds. Relatively easy to control.
Low-growing rosette weed with prickly seeds. Relatively easy to control.
Perennial lawn weed that can tolerate dryness, obvious in the lawn. Tolerates many lawn herbicides.
To control selfheal we recommend alternating between Kiwicare LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle, LawnPro Turfclean or All-in-1. Use the Turfclean or All-in-1 first and then Prickle & Hydrocotyle 2-3 weeks later. Alternatively, you can spot treat with Weed Weapon Invade Gel.
Group of annual-perennial spreading weeds that prefer damp lawns, outcompetes lawn grass. Can be difficult to control if conditions are not changed.
Buttercup, particularly creeping buttercup can be difficult to eradicate from lawns. Kiwicare LawnPro Turfclean Ultra, LawnPro Prickle and Hydrocotyle, LawnPro Turfclean or All-in-1 applied to the lawn will control it but a second application may be necessary for eradication.
Low-growing weed. Relatively easy to control.
Biennial-perennial spreading weed in turf. Relatively easy to control.
Rapidly spreading annually. Relatively easy to control by manual removal or herbicide.
Tips for getting the most out of your money
If you're on a really tight budget Turf Clean & Green and All-In-1 are great options that both improve lawn health and kill weeds in the same application. They're a fast, easy and cost effective way to solve general lawn problems. If however you have a specific or troublesome problem specialist products are the better choice.
Another thing to keep in mind if you’re on a tight budget is to look at how much area a product covers. A mistake people often make is buying a product, only to get home and find out it doesn't quite cover their whole lawn and they need to go back to the store to buy a second bottle. So make sure you're getting enough product to do the job and won't get caught short and end up having to pay more in the end.
Concentrates are a great way to save money in the long term, and are also a good solution if you have large areas to deal with. The benefit of a concentrate is that you can mix the amount you need, when you need it, and the cost per millilitre works out much better than ready to use products. That's why a lot of our specialist products are only available in concentrate form. Just make sure that you follow the directions carefully and that sprayers are cleaned properly between uses.
What to do once the weeds are dead
Depending on the product used, it typically takes 2 to 4 weeks for weeds to fully die off once they’ve been treated. The leaves of the weeds will die off first, the herbicides will then work their way down to the roots. As tempting as it may be, don’t dig them up prematurely as it’s important to kill the roots to prevent the weeds from resprouting.
Once the weeds have died off, rake them up and out of your lawn. You will likely then have a few gaps in your lawn. If they're minor your lawn may cover over them in time. If there are a lot of bare spots or large areas it can make your lawn more susceptible to moss and other species weeds taking hold. If you have a lot of smaller bare patches a product like LawnPro Lawn Thickener is a great option. It’s a mix of lawn seeds and fertilizer that can be easily applied to even out and thicken up your lawn. If you have larger bald spots in your lawn then LawnPro Smart Patch Mix is the best product for the job. It’s a mix for lawn seeds (with a higher seed ratio than Lawn Thickener), fertiliser, soil improver and water storage granules that can fill in bare patches of your lawn efficiently and effectively.
Other useful tips for maintaining a lush lawn
Once your lawn is weed free, it’s a lot easier and more cost effective to regularly maintain it, than is to do mass interventions every year. The best times of year to treat your lawn are spring and autumn. Whether you are treating weeds or fertilizing it, you’ll get the best results during these milder seasons. If you’ve tackled your lawn with specialist weed killers like Turfclean Ultra or Mossclear, it’s important that you fertilize the lawn too. Fertiliser not only boosts lawn health, it also changes the pH of your soil making it more difficult for weeds to grow – so it’s a win-win.
If you're a lawn fanatic, like many of our customers, and after a lawn that will make the neighbours green with envy, our specialist range has all your needs covered. Likewise if you’re dealing with a particularly troublesome weed like hydrocotyle or Onehunga prickle weed, or one that’s resistant to herbicides, our specialist products are the best way to go. Have a read of our Spring Lawn Care Guide for more useful tips and tricks
Not sure what weed your dealing with?
Our Problem Solver tool can help you with that. Just head to the page, answer a few quick questions and it will help you identify the plant you're most likely dealing with and the best solution for the job. In fact this handy tool can help you with everything from weeds and garden disease right through to insects and rodents. You can even download the app My Kiwicare and keep it as a problem solver in your pocket that will give you tips on common plant, pest and garden issues popping up around the country as the seasons progress.