Just because you’re seeing a lot of green on your lawn this spring doesn’t mean that you’ve got a green thumb. Mother Nature’s a bit of a practical joker, spreading all kinds of greenery we’d rather not see on lawns all across the Midwest. These are just five of the dozens of Iowa spring weeds that Jay-Lan Lawncare can help you avoid.

Broadleaf Plantain

These aren’t the tasty plantains found in your supermarket, or mashed into tostones on your plate. They’re a low-lying broadleaf weed with a deep root system, and they’re hard to eradicate. Their root system isn’t especially deep, but it’s dense, which makes hand-weeding a challenge; you’ll need a trowel, and you’re likely to leave your lawn looking patchy.


Dandelions are perennials, meaning they have a lifespan of two years or longer. They’re also taproots, a term that refers to their deep — and very stubborn — roots. That root system has some evolutionary advantages for the dandelion that are disadvantages for Sioux City homeowners. Because their roots aren’t spread out, they manage to thrive even on lawns with thick grass growth, and if you don’t get the whole root system when pulling them, they will grow back. Repeatedly.


Foxtail is difficult to identify when it first emerges; at that stage, it doesn’t look much different than the surrounding grass. It’s not until it grows its fuzzy seed-bearing shoots that it announces itself. Unlike some of the weeds on this list, it’s not finicky. It will grow in a variety of light and moisture conditions. It’s a bit easier to defend against than some other weeds, however, since it won’t grow as readily in a healthy lawn with a dense root system.

Ground Ivy

Also known as “Creeping Charlie,” ground ivy is the bane of many homeowners’ existence. It grows quickly, with little regard for anything in its path, or for your best efforts to control it. While it prefers shade, it’s not picky; it thrives in direct sunlight as well. On one hand, its shallow roots mean that it’s not as hard to pull up. On the other, its extreme length and aggressive growth make control difficult for homeowners.


If you suffer from seasonal allergies, one of the causes of your misery could be growing just outside your front door. There are a few varieties of ragweed, but their structure is similar; each is bushy and can grow up to three feet tall. The stems are large and run along the upper surfaces of the leaves, terminating in spikes on the end that have seed-bearing flowers. Just because you’ve identified and pulled the ragweed in your lawn, don’t breathe easy yet; its seeds are viable in soil for five years or longer.

Solving Your Weed Problems

Short-term, your best bet is to remove weeds by hand. Those with shallow root systems can be pulled up with your bare hands (we suggest wearing gloves, especially if you’re not entirely sure what you’re pulling up). Weeds with taproots should be dug around with a trowel and then pulled. Backfill the hole with topsoil, seed, and water.

Don’t be surprised if those weeds come back. It doesn’t take much of the root system to remain in order for many weeds to grow back, and others are prolific seeders. The most effective way to deal with them is a pre-emergent weed treatment, which keeps them from growing in the first place. The next most effective is a carefully-targeted herbicide once growth has started. Our comprehensive lawn care program combines these elements and others so your lawn always looks its best.

In the Sioux City area, many homeowners rely on Jay-Lan Lawn Care for pre-emergent care and weed control using high-quality lawn chemicals. We also provide solutions that control grubs and moles, that feed your lawn, and even nourish your trees. Get a weed control quote from us today!