What Are the White Floaties That Come Off Dandelions?. Enjoying warm locations, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) grow roots as deep as 15 feet into the soil, if they remain undisturbed. Often considered a weed in lawns and flowerbeds, these rapidly growing plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant … Weeds are a common occurrence in most lawns and gardens. While many of them are quite familiar, there may be some that are not. Learn about some of the most common weeds in this article. Name That Weed – Common Weeds That Could Be Growing In Your Lawn Lawn weeds can be a growing headache for property managers and are a primary concern when it comes to maintaining lawns.
What Are the White Floaties That Come Off Dandelions?
Enjoying warm locations, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) grow roots as deep as 15 feet into the soil, if they remain undisturbed. Often considered a weed in lawns and flowerbeds, these rapidly growing plants are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through10. The white floaties that the dandelion produces are specialized seeds that are highly successful for widespread reproduction.
Before the specialized seeds appear, dandelions generate a yellow to orange flower on a stem that can rise up to 18 inches from the ground. This flower appears bright and fluffy against its green background, but is not a large or particularly appealing blossom for insect attraction. Requiring no pollinators, dandelions are self-pollinating and often change from flower to seed head over several days. This rapid seeding ability makes dandelions extremely successful at populating a widespread area — gardeners cannot keep up with the constant growth.
The white floaties originate from a densely packed seed head that resembles a fuzzy ball. If you look closely, each seed head has dozens of umbrella-like extensions. Located at the seed head’s center are the seeds — each seed has this umbrella structure attached to them. The umbrella’s canopy consists of hairs formed much like a chimney sweep brush. Combining both a tall stem and airy seed head, dandelions keep their seeds upright and available to wind vectors for successful distribution in the region.
Because many dandelions find a good growing location in lawn areas, wind gusts often disperse the seed parachutes throughout the area. The umbrella hairs lift the seed from the head and float along the breeze. The extremely lightweight seed can float as far as the wind allows. Once dropped into another soil location, these seeds do not have extensive dormant periods like other plant species. In fact, the seed germinates quickly to establish itself in the new location before plant competition takes over for natural resources, such as moisture and sunlight.
The white floaties provide widespread dandelion populations since they fly far distances, especially if the wind is strong enough. In fact, successfully grown dandelion roots help your soil remain aerated. As the roots grow deeply, they reduce soil compaction by creating air and moisture pockets underground. As a result, other tender plant roots have a chance to move into the aerated soil for ample foliage and stem growth. The dandelion taproot also increases nutrients in the shallow topsoil by moving critical elements, like calcium, from the deeper ground regions. Overall, successful dandelion seeds and seedlings create a fertile environment for all plant growth.
- Palomar Community College, Wayne’s World: Blowing In The Wind
- Wild Man Steve Brill: Common Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale)
- Maine Organic Farmers and Gardener’s Association: Ten Things You Might Not Know About Dandelions
- Michigan State University Plant Encyclopedia: Common Dandelion
Writing professionally since 2010, Amy Rodriguez cultivates successful cacti, succulents, bulbs, carnivorous plants and orchids at home. With an electronics degree and more than 10 years of experience, she applies her love of gadgets to the gardening world as she continues her education through college classes and gardening activities.
Lawn Weed Identification: Common Lawn Weeds
Weeds are a common occurrence in most lawns and gardens. While many of them are quite familiar, there may be some that are not. Learning about some of the most common types of weeds can make it easier to eliminate them from the landscape.
How to Identify Weed Types
In order to identify weed types and bring them under control, it’s important to understand how they grow. Like other plants, weeds can be annual or perennial. Annual weeds are less troublesome as far as control measures go. While they are known to sprout up nearly anywhere due to seed dispersal, their root systems are relatively shallow. This makes them easy to pull and eradicate, although doing so before they set seed is recommended.
Common annual weeds include:
Perennial weeds, on the other hand, have more extensive root systems, including taproots, making them more difficult to control. In addition, these weeds come back each year, especially if the roots are not destroyed. Some of the most common (and problematic) perennial weed types include:
Lawn Weed Identification
One of the best ways to identify lawn weeds is by looking closely at the soil in your landscape. Many common lawn weeds can be found growing in certain types of soil, making this an excellent way to identify specific types you may have growing in your landscape. Here are some of the most commonly seen weeds:
Dandelions: Dandelions are well known in many lawns and gardens– their fuzzy yellow blooms popping up nearly anywhere. While their deep taproots make them difficult to control, they generally spread through their easily recognized white, fluffy seedheads.
Ragweed: Ragweed is commonly known by many allergy sufferers. This annual weed can be seen most often during summer (and autumn) months and recognized by its fern-like foliage.
Crabgrass: Crabgrass is a homeowner’s worst nightmare, creeping up throughout the lawn. This summer annual lies flat to the ground and has reddish purple stems (both smooth and hairy). It forms slender spike-shaped seedheads just below mowing height, making it difficult to manage.
Spotted spurge: Spotted spurge has a reddish purple spot in the center of each leaf and the sap is milky (which may cause a rash in sensitive individuals). This annual weed can be pulled up easily in moist soil. Improving the density of lawn grass can help keep it under control.
Common chickweed: Common chickweed is a mat-forming weed with tiny, star-shaped white flowers. This annual thrives when conditions are cool and moist. Mouse-ear chickweed is similar, however, this weed is perennial with hairy stems and leaves, and is more tolerant of summer heat.
White clover: White clover is a perennial weed that forms creeping runners and produces white, fluffy-looking blooms. Since this weed is a legume which fixes nitrogen, it is often found in lawns with low fertility. Adding nitrogen to the soil can help ease the population of clover.
Common nettle: This is prolific in soil that borders gardens and open fields. This perennial weed has many varieties, including stinging nettle. While it may look like an ordinary, hairy weed with attractive little flowers, it can cause a very painful sting if you touch it. Nettles can often be aggressive spreaders, with creeping roots.
Broadleaf plantain: Broadleaf plantain is a low-growing perennial. It has broad leaves with prominent veins and may smother lawn grass if left untreated, which generally calls for maintaining thick lawn coverage.
Knotweed: Knotweed is an annual weed, common along sidewalks. It usually thrives in dry, compacted soils. Knotweed forms a tough, wiry mat of stems and blue-green leaves with small white flowers. It is often confused with spurge, however, this weed does not produce a milky sap. It does produce numerous seeds, which can be reduced with annual aeration.
Ground ivy: Also known as creeping charlie, this weed is extremely difficult to control, as this creeping plant (recognized by its round, scalloped leaves, square stems, and small purplish flowers) can form large patches in shady, moist areas of the landscape.
Annual bluegrass: Annual bluegrass, also known as poa annua, is a bright green, low-growing grass that thrives in cool, moist weather. While it produces a number of white-colored seedheads and forms patches throughout the lawn, this weed is known to suddenly die out in hot, dry weather.
Name That Weed – Common Weeds That Could Be Growing In Your Lawn
Lawn weeds can be a growing headache for property managers and are a primary concern when it comes to maintaining lawns. Unfortunately, it’s an annual battle that many facility and property managers endure. Without a doubt, weeds will find a way to creep back into your lawn, whether it’s from the wind, birds, a lawnmower, or possibly even through your very own soil which may contain weed seeds. While we continuously fight to be weed free, the question isn’t if you’ll have weeds to deal with, but rather when.
We’ve gathered a list of common weeds you might find in your lawn and what measures you can take to keep them at bay.
The broadleaf plantain is a perennial weed that has smaller leaves with a green leaf base. Blooming in spring to early summer, you will notice it adapts well to most sites, including drought tolerant conditions and thriving in overwatered soil. They can grow in heavy soils, sunny or shady areas and under very low mowing heights. Since these weeds reproduce readily by seed, they will require repeat applications of a post-emergent, broadleaf herbicide to effectively kill off large populations. To help manage broadleaf plantain aerate your soil, avoid overwatering, and using proper mow cut heights.
Common chickweed is a low, dense growing annual weed that has branching stems with small, white, star-like flowers and five deeply-notched petals. This winter annual germinates in late fall and will start flowering in the spring. It prefers moist, fertile, and partly shaded locations but may sprout seeds in dry soil. Chickweed will also appear in lawns with thin turf. Control it with pre-emergent herbicides in late summer or early fall to prevent seeds from germinating or use a post-emergence control and apply it to actively growing immature weeds in the fall. If spring application is made you may need more than one application. Keep in mind that herbicide effectiveness is reduced as weeds mature.
Probably the icon of summer weeds any lawn faces, dandelions emerge in early spring when the soil temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit. These persistent perennials come equipped with a deep taproot sprouting bright yellow blossoms that grow on end of leafless, hollow stalks and emit a white milky sap when broken. You may also recognize these with a white puffball seed head. This appears shortly after mowing. Dandelions reproduce readily by seed, and spread quickly by the dispersal of wind. They prefer moist conditions and soils, but thrive in weak, thin turf. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in early spring when temperatures are still cool.
Crabgrass gets its name from their leaves because they form a tight, crab-like circle. The summer annual germinated when soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees Fahrenheit and appear in weak or bare areas of the lawn. Treating crabgrass can be tricky because over and under watering both favor its growth, along with close mowing. To control it, spray with a pre-emergent crabgrass herbicide in the spring when temperatures reach 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep seeds from sprouting.
There are different types of crabgrass you can be on the lookout for:
Large crabgrass is a bunching-type grass featuring seed head spikelets in two to nine fingerlike branches along the stalk.
Southern crabgrass forms in dense strands in open sites. It grows laterally along the ground with branched stems that root at the nodes.
Smooth crabgrass can be distinguished from large crabgrass by the absence of hairs on the leaves. The seed head features two to six fingerlike spiked branches.
Ground ivy is a perennial with square stems that extend several feet and root at the leaf nodes. These weeds showcase rounded scalloped leaves and small funnel-shaped purple flowers that grow in clusters. Ground ivy prefers shady, moist areas of the lawn with poor fertility, and can tolerate low mowing heights. Fall is an excellent time to use a post-emergent herbicide to treat it. Applications in the spring (when it is in flower) is also a good time to get effective control.
Interestingly, white clover used to be a common ingredient in lawn seed blends. However, now it’s regarded as a common weed in your lawn. White clovers are a low-growing, creeping winter perennial with stems that root at nodes. The elliptical leaves are grouped in threes and usually have a light green or white band like a watermark, plus toothing on the edges. These weeds are most noticed for their white to pink-tinged flower clusters growing from the long stems that usually rise above the leaves. They actively grow in cooler temperatures with increased moisture and where soil is poor and low in nitrogen.
Annual bluegrass is an annual weed, just as the name suggests. It blends very well with fescue grasses due to its light green color. Its color, however, makes it stand out in dark green turf grasses and will typically form in clumps, so it’s easy to spot the culprit. Annual bluegrass seeds germinate in late summer as temperatures start falling below 70 degrees. It appears where overwatering occurs and/or there is poor draining soil. Since it produces most it its seed head in the spring, applying a pre-emergent herbicide prior to germination of the seedlings will prevent growth.
These perennial weeds are pansy-like flowers featuring five blue-violet, lilac or white petals that grows in bunches reaching 2-5 inches tall. Wild violets can quickly take over cool, shady, moist, and fertile soil. Eradicating these weeds can be difficult due to its aggressive growth and resistance to many herbicides. To control, apply a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide as soon as the violets reach the two-leaf stage of growth.
Bull thistle is a biennial that can form large infestations, especially along roads and vacant fields. They bloom in mid to late summer and grow erect with spines on the leaves and stems. They are coarsely hairy on the upper side, contain softer, whitish hairs below and rose to reddish-purple flowers grow at the ends of the branches. Bull thistle reproduces by seed only. For optimum control, application prior to seed set is most effective. Apply a post-emergent herbicide in fall or early spring, when the thistle is in the seedling to rosette stage.
Weeds can be deceptive in your lawn, and they aren’t shy to grow and spread quickly! They are your lawns biggest threat to staying lush, green and healthy. At Bluegrass, we provide you with a preemptive weed control program to help stop those weeds in their tracks. Give us a call today at 314.770.2828 or fill out our simple online contact form to discuss your lawn care needs.