Everything You Need to Know About Broadleaf Weeds

Landscaper removing dandelion weeds from lawn.

Weeds are the bane of any homeowner who takes pride in a gorgeous lawn. Some of the most common and stubborn weeds are broadleaf weeds. They grow throughout the United States and can appear even in healthy lawns. What are broadleaf weeds? And more importantly, how can you get rid of them?

That’s exactly what we’ll review in this article.

What Are Broadleaf Weeds?


Chances are you’ve been battling broadleaf weeds in your lawn for years or even decades, though you might not have realized what they are. A broadleaf weed is a general category that includes many different types of weeds, including some very familiar lawn pests.

Some of the most common broadleaf weeds are:

  • Dandelions
  • Chickweed
  • White clover
  • Bull thistle
  • Ground ivy
  • Henbit
  • Lamb’s quarters
  • Deadnettle
  • Broadleaf plantain
  • Burdock
  • Purslane
  • Musk thistle

How to Identify Broadleaf Weeds

Broadleaf weeds growing against a fence.

How can you tell if a weed in your yard is a broadleaf weed? Is crabgrass a broadleaf weed? Though broadleaf weeds come in various shapes and sizes, they tend to have certain characteristics in common.

Look for:

  • Broad leaves: As the name indicates, a broadleaf weed usually has a flat leaf that is wider than grass, making it easy to distinguish from your normal lawn. (So, no, crabgrass is not a broadleaf weed.)
  • Long stems: Look for plants with tall, slender stems.
  • Flowers: Many broadleaf weeds feature flowers or seed heads at the end of their stems.
  • Dicots: This means the seeds contain paired cotyledons or small leaves. You’ll note that when the seed sprouts, it splits into two halves with an identical leaf on each side.

Still not sure how to identify broadleaf weeds? These days, you can easily download apps that will help you identify the weeds in your lawn.

Why Are Broadleaf Weeds a Bad Thing?

A field of gently swaying dandelions can be beautiful, but they aren't necessarily a welcome addition to your lawn. Dandelions can slowly and perniciously cause extensive damage to your lawn.

Weeds compete with your grass for water, oxygen, and nutrition. When broadleaf weeds take up residence in your lawn, they can suck moisture and nutrition out of the soil, in effect starving your grass. The stronger and more numerous the weeds get, the weaker your grass becomes in tandem.

Additionally, weeds simply look bad in a yard. They can indicate, for better or worse, that a lawn is not well cared for.

So, if you notice broadleaf weeds trying to move into your lawn, it’s time to take action.

How to Get Rid of Broadleaf Weeds

If you notice broadleaf weeds sneaking into your yard, you have a few options for eliminating them. Here are our top broadleaf weed killers.


Landscaper hand-pulling broadleaf weeds.

If you only have a small infestation of broadleaf weeds, it may be more efficient to simply pull them out by hand. If you go this route, pull out as much of the broadleaf weed as possible. Be especially sure to get out the entire root. You may want to use a garden trowel or weed wrench to help. If you prefer to avoid this backbreaking work, hire a service to keep your lawn weed-free and looking its best.

Homemade Weed Killers

Person spraying homemade weed killer on dandelion.

If you want to avoid using chemicals on your lawn, you could turn to homemade broadleaf weed killers. These come in various forms, but the big drawback is that they tend to kill all plants, including your grass. That means you’ll need to be very careful when applying any of these homemade concoctions. Alternatively, if you’re starting your lawn from scratch, homemade broadleaf weed killers could be a great option.

Popular homemade weed killers include:

  • Boiling water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Corn gluten meal
  • Smothering weeds with landscape fabric

Post-emergent Herbicides

Post-emergent herbicide being sprayed on dandelion.

Herbicides generally come in two forms. Pre-emergent herbicides are designed to kill weeds before they germinate, while post-emergent herbicides kill existing weeds. If you need to battle the weeds already growing in your yard, you’ll want to look for post-emergent herbicides.

When visiting your local home improvement store or lawn care center, look for herbicides formulated for the specific weeds you want to kill. These are among the best broadleaf weed control products.

Alternatively, you can choose “non-selective” herbicides, but these products tend to kill all plants without distinction. Choosing a specific broadleaf herbicide will help you target the right weeds without harming your existing lawn.

How to Prevent Broadleaf Weeds

As in many situations in life, when it comes to weeds, prevention is the best medicine. If possible, try to take action before you have a carpet of weeds in your lawn to contend with.

Pre-emergent Herbicides

Head to your favorite lawn care or home improvement center and buy a pre-emergent herbicide designed for broadleaf weeds. You’ll want to apply the herbicide to your yard before the seeds germinate, typically in the early spring.

When broadleaf seeds begin to germinate, their roots will absorb the herbicide from the soil. The herbicide contains ingredients that stop seeds from growing, so they’ll never fully emerge. It’s a good idea to apply pre-emergent herbicides each spring so broadleaf weeds never get a toe-hold in your yard.

Good Lawn Care

Lawn mower on grass.

One of the best broadleaf weed control products isn’t a product at all. It’s good old-fashioned lawn care. Broadleaf weeds tend to proliferate when the existing grass is weak. A healthy lawn will fight and outcompete weeds for sunlight, moisture, and soil nutrition.

On the ground, that means maintaining a good lawn care schedule, including:

  • Regular mowing
  • Regular, deep watering to promote deep grass roots
  • Seasonal fertilization
  • Seasonal aeration

If you aren’t able to manage consistent lawn care on your own, consider hiring a professional landscaping service. Contact The Grounds Guys® to explore your options.

The Grounds Guys Can Beat Back Broadleaf Weeds

Controlling stubborn weeds like broadleaf can be a hassle, especially because the best protection is often keeping your lawn in top shape. The Grounds Guys can help.

We have local teams of lawn care experts throughout the United States that fulfill our Neighborly Done Right Promise™. That means we’ll show up on time, in uniform, and with a good attitude. We can keep your lawn healthy with regular and seasonal services, which will go a long way toward preventing broadleaf weeds from overtaking your lawn. If any weeds should sneak into your yard, we can also perform weed control services.

Don’t give up your yard to weeds. Find The Grounds Guys nearest you and request a free estimate.