Killing weeds in lawns and grass

Killing weeds in lawns and grass

Eradicating weeds from  the lawn can be a daunting task, particularly if your lawn is overrun with them. However, ignoring lawn weeds can lead to the problem getting out of control, so it’s best to deal with them as soon as possible. Left alone, weeds can spread both above and below ground, choking the soil and absorbing valuable nutrients and water that should be for your lawn. Identifying what weeds you are dealing with is the first step towards treating them. Knowing how they propagate is also handy, as you can choose the most effective method for killing them.  

Common lawn weeds in Australia

There are several different types of weeds  found in Australian lawns . Some thrive in warmer temperatures, though many can be found growing year round, like Cats Ear, Cud Grass and Clover.  Certain types are harder to spot, such as  Bindii (or Jo-Jo), , which are often found hiding in lawn grass. Evidence of their presence appears during summer, via crying children with dried prickles stuck in their feet.

Other common weeds like Paspalum, Rye Grass and Crab Grass are easier to spot, making them an unsightly nuisance. Finally, Milk thistle, Dandelion and Cats Ear are also  highly visible thanks to their yellow flowers, which later transform into heady balls of white fluff, containing hundreds of parachuted seeds ready to spread throughout your garden!  

Killing lawn weeds

There are two common ways you can  kill  lawn weeds. Hand weeding and herbicides each have certain advantages. Hand weeding can be useful for small weeds, particularly those with waxy leaves like Cud Grass.

If hand weeding, remembering to remove the  roots entirely to avoid new shoots! During hot weather weeds can be left on the ground to die in the sun and later discarded. Do not add them to your compost! Removing Dandelion and Cats Ear before or while they flower will greatly reduce their occurrence. Don’t forget, “one year’s seeding, means seven years' weeding”.

Alternatively, using a systemic weed killer on lawn weeds will go a long way towards controlling these tricky invaders. Systemic herbicides kill off common weeds from shoot to root, meaning the whole plant is eradicated. It may take a couple of weeks before you see the full results, but the long term benefits will be much more effective.


Once weeds have taken hold in your lawn, even after treatment they will continue to reappear for a couple of years, though in much lower numbers. This is due to hidden underground root systems, tubers and seed casings that re-sprout each year. If dealt with swiftly and thoroughly, their  recurrence will be greatly diminished. Using a systemic weed killer like Roundup on common lawn weeds will help kill them right down to the root, so it is the most effective way of eradicating them from your lawn in the long term.   

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