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Weed Management

WVU Extension agents and specialists help people keep their lawns, gardens and pastures weed free. Learn about common weeds in West Virginia.

Browse the Weed Identification Guide

Find quick, safe, effective solutions to nuisance weeds. WVU Extension offers expertise and resources to help you rid your lawn and garden of problematic plants.

Weed Identification Guide

American burnweed in a field.

American Burnweed

American burnweed, also known as fireweed, is a fast-growing, annual weed commonly spotted in gardens and fields around West Virginia in late August and early September.

American Burnweed Identification & Growth Habits
Control of American Burnweed
autumn olive

Autumn Olive

One of the most invasive brush species in West Virginia, autumn olive takes water, nutrients and sunlight available for desirable plant species, and may depreciate the productive area of a pasture considerably.

Autumn Olive Problems
Mechanical Controls for Autumn Olive
Chemical Controls for Autumn Olive
A broadleaf plantain in a lawn.

Broadleaf Plantain

Broadleaf plantain is characterized by rosettes of spirally arranged leaves and numerous whitish adventitious roots that emerge from the lower part of its short stem.

Identification of Broadleaf Plantain
Controls for Broadleaf Plantain
buttercups closeup

Bulbous Buttercup

Bulbous buttercup is a perennial weed prevalent in pastures and hayfields, and occasionally, in lawns and gardens. It produces bright yellow flowers with cup-shaped petals glistened by a shiny upper surface when held against sunlight.

Bulbous Buttercup Identification
Controls for Bulbous Buttercup
Canada Thistle flower with bumble bee

Canada Thistle

Despite advances in modern agriculture, thistles continue to enjoy notoriety as one of the most troublesome and difficult weeds to control today.

Identification of Canada Thistle
Controls for Canada Thistle
Common Chickweed.

Common Chickweed

Common chickweed usually has a low growing habit and tends to spread making them appear like mats or patches.

Common Chickweed Identification
Common Chickweed Uses
Controls for Common Chickweed
Common groundsel growing between landscaping gravel.

Common Groundsel

Common groundsel is an annual weed that belongs to the aster family, but it can behave as a winter annual or as a summer annual, blooming into the late-summer months.

Common Groundsel Identification
A classic example of how common lambsquarters looks.

Common Lambsquarters

A shallow-rooted herbaceous summer annual weed, common lambsquarters is often found in disturbed soil. In small plots, hoeing and mulches can be effective controls.

Common Lambsquarters Identification
Controls for Common Lambsquarters
Common purslane amid rocky soil.

Common Purslane

Common purslane grows during the hottest months of the year due to its ability to store water while surviving drought-like conditions.

Common Purslane Identification
Corn Speedwell Weed

Corn Speedwell

Corn speedwell, a winter annual, is a common landscape and lawn weed that’s also found in fields left fallow. It belongs to the figwort family along with other less common weedy speedwells. 

Corn Speedwell Identification
Controls for Corn Speedwell
Crabgrass in a lawn


As lawns and gardens in West Virginia get stressed by the relentless heat of late summer, crabgrasses begin to invade those areas and bloom rapidly. Two species of crabgrasses are prevalent in the Mountain State – smooth crabgrass and large crabgrass.

Crabgrass Identification 
Giant Hogweed cloesup by Frank-Schwichtenberg (, „Heracleum mantegazzianum 07“,

Giant Hogweed

Giant hogweed is a short-lived invasive perennial that can grow up to 15 feet tall, producing flowers resembling that of wild carrot, only much larger. The sap of this weed can cause severe, blistery rashes.

ground ivy leaves

Ground Ivy

Ground ivy is a creeping perennial that is sometimes referred to as creeping Charlie, gill-on-the-ground and gill-on-the-hedge.

Ground Ivy Identification
Ground Ivy Control
Hairy Bittercress weed surrounded by dark brown mulch

Hairy Bittercress

Common in West Virginia lawns and gardens, hairy bittercress is a winter annual that grows predominantly in spring but is capable of germinating and growing year-round under suitable environmental conditions.

Benefits of Hairy Bittercress
Controls for Hairy Bittercress
Hairy galinsoga growing in the field.

Hairy Galinsoga

Hairy galinsoga (Galinsoga quadriradiata), sometimes referred to as shaggy soldier, is a summer annual from the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and often invades vegetable gardens and crowds out plants.

Hairy Galinsoga Identification
Controls for Hairy Galinsoga
Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed

Introduced from Asia in the late 1800s as a fodder or an ornamental, Japanese knotweed has become an invasive weed in West Virginia. Because of its ability to regenerate through extensive underground rhizomes, it spreads rapidly, affecting drainage of waterways and displacing native plants.

Japanese Knotweed Identification
Controls for Japanese Knotweed
Mature Japanese stiltgrass up close on the ground.

Japanese Stiltgrass

In West Virginia, Japanese stiltgrass starts to germinate anytime from late March to mid-April. It encroaches managed landscapes, such as home lawns and gardens.

Japanese Stiltgrass Identification
Controls for Japanese Stiltgrass


Growing several feet tall, Jimsonweed is characterized by irregularly toothed leaves and funnel-shaped and purplish or white flowers. They produce prickly fruits about 2 inches long with small kidney-shaped seeds, brownish or black in color.

Jimsonweed Identification
Jimsonweed Control
Mile-A-Minute weed


Mile-a-minute (Persicaria perforliata) is an invasive weed that belongs to the smartweed family (Polygonaceae) native to eastern Asia. This pest is usually seen along stream banks, disturbed sites, roadsides and rights-of-ways and can displace native plant communities.

Mile-A-Minute Identification
Controls for Mile-A-Minute
Patch of mugwort with one cluster of leaves flipped up showing underside


Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is a perfect example of a plant whose virtues are not as well understood as the menace it creates in a garden. It is native to Eurasia but has been naturalized in North America since the early settlers. 

Mugwort Identification
nimblewill in yard


Nimblewill is a lawn weed that can slowly but surely spread across a weak lawn, giving it a patchy, dull blue-green appearance. Thanks to numerous thin, wiry stolons, it can aggressively invade a yard.

Nimblewill Identification
Controls for Nimblewill
photo identifying perilla mint growing amongst cut tree sections

Perilla Mint

Sometimes known as beefsteak plant, Chinese basil or purple mint, perilla mint isn't a plant that animal usually consume. However, poisoning can occur when more desirable plants are in short supply.

Perilla Mint Identification
Control Perilla Mint
White, umbel-shaped flower clusters of poison hemlock plant positioned against other foliage and a blue sky.

Poison Hemlock

Poison hemlock is historically considered to be one of the most toxic plants. It is a biennial weed prevalent in pastures, hayfields, damp waste areas, ditches and streambanks, and rights-of-way. 

Poison Hemlock Identification
Purple Deadnettle

Purple Deadnettle

Akin to henbit, purple deadnettle is a winter annual that competes with grass to allow summer annual weeds, like crabgrass, to invade. Address issues in the fall to enjoy benefits the following spring.

Purple Deadnettle Control for Lawns
Purple Deadnettle Control for Gardens
Purple Deadnettle Control for Fields
Star-of-Bethlehem bulbs.


Star-of-Bethlehem doesn’t have the distinct smell of wild garlic and can be identified by its slender succulent leaves that have a prominent whitish midrib with round hollow leaves.

Star-of-Bethlehem Identification
Controls for Star-of-Bethlehem
wild parsnip

Wild Parsnips

Wild parsnip is a relative of the cultivated parsnip and can be seen growing in early spring along roadsides, ditches and the perimeter of fields. Avoid this plant due to its toxicity and ability to cause dermatitis.

Wild Parsnip Identification
Cow Parsnip Identification
Weedy Parsnip Management
yellow nutsedge near sidewalk

Yellow Nutsedge

Yellow Nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) is a perennial weed that can easily invade a lawn and reduce its aesthetic appeal. It belongs to the family Cyperceae, also referred to as the Sedge family.

Yellow Nutsedge Identification
Yellow Nutsedge Controls
Yellow woodsorrel blooming on the ground.

Yellow Woodsorrel

Characterized by light green stems that can be purple at the lower part and often unbranched, giving rise to heart-shaped leaflets. Yellow woodsorrel's leaflets help distinguish it from clover leaves, which are not heart-shaped but look similar otherwise.

Yellow Woodsorrel Identification

What's That Weed?

Poison Hemlock

Did You Know?

A few facts:

  • Historic toxic plant
  • Prevalent in pastures and hayfields
  • Has white, umbel-shaped flower clusters

How to get rid of Poison Hemlock:

  • Remove by hand
  • Treat with herbicides
  • Controls most effective during rosette stage

Information by Rakesh Chandran, Ph.D., WVU Extension Weed Science Specialist

Learn more about poison hemlock

Previously Seen in the IPM Chronicle

Beware of toxic weedy parsnips

Wild parsnips.
Wild parsnip is a relative of the cultivated parsnip and can be seen growing in early spring along roadsides, ditches and the perimeter of fields. Avoid this plant due to its toxicity and ability to cause dermatitis.

Read about Beware of toxic weedy parsnips

Discouraging herbicide-resistant weeds

Herbicide resistent horseweed.
An integrated pest management method employing cultural, mechanical and chemical controls will help delay, or avoid, the buildup of herbicide-resistant weeds. Whenever feasible, mechanical or other non-chemical methods should be implemented to control weeds.

Read about Discouraging herbicide-resistant weeds

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