A Homeowner’s Guide To Lawn Weeds in Arizona

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Arizona's desert climate is not immune to lawn weeds. The state is home to many native lawn weeds that can quickly take over a landscape. They can sprout overnight and outgrow the plants that you care for. Recent rains have prompted vigorous growth in weeds. If left unchecked, they can steal water and nutrients from neighboring plants.

Weed seeds can arrive in your yard in many ways. They can be carried by wind or birds. They can also be brought in with yard equipment, grass seed, organic soil amendments, or on shoes, clothing, or even on the fur of pets.

There are a number of ways to control weeds. You can hand-pull them, mow them, or use a herbicide. You can also prevent weeds from taking over your yard by creating a healthy environment for your desired plants. This includes watering and fertilizing your plants regularly and controlling the amount of sunlight and shade in your yard. This guide will help you learn how to spot, control, and prevent weeds from taking root in your lawn.

Types Of Lawn Weeds

crabgrass emerging

There are two basic groups of weeds: grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds. Grassy weeds have narrow leaves that grow in parallel rows, while broadleaf weeds have wider leaves that are arranged in various ways.

Control methods for weeds will differ depending on the type of weed you are dealing with. Some herbicides target only broadleaf weeds, while others may affect both grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds.

Here is a table that summarizes the differences between grassy weeds and broadleaf weeds:


Grassy Weeds

Broadleaf Weeds


Narrow, parallel

Oval and wide, arranged in various ways

Growth Habitats:


Erect, spreading or trailing


Don’t cross over each other

Cross over or intersect


Crabgrass, Annual Bluegrass, Bermuda Grass

Dandelions, Clover, Chickweed, Creeping Charlie

Control Methods:

Mowing, herbicides, hand-pulling

Mowing, herbicides, hand-pulling, smothering

Controlling Lawn Weeds

There are many different ways to control weeds, depending on the weed type, the infestation's severity, and your personal preferences. Some of the most common control methods include:

  • Hand-pulling: This is the most effective way to control a small number of weeds but it can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
  • Mowing: This will not kill the weeds, but it will help to keep them under control. Mowing is a good option for controlling grassy weeds.
  • Herbicides: Herbicides are chemicals that can kill weeds. Many different types of herbicides are available, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for the type of weed you are dealing with.
  • Smothering: This involves covering the weeds with a tarp, cardboard, or other material to block out sunlight. This will eventually kill the weeds, but it can take several weeks or months.
  • Biocontrol: This involves using insects or other organisms to kill weeds. Biocontrol is a relatively new method of weed control, but it is becoming increasingly popular.

The best way to control weeds is to use a combination of methods. This will help to ensure that you successfully get rid of the weeds and prevent them from returning.

Preventing Lawn Weeds

scaled aeration plugs

The best method of controlling lawn weeds is to prevent them from happening in the first place. You can do a few things to prevent weeds from growing on your lawn. These include:

  • Aerating your lawn regularly. This will help to improve drainage and reduce the amount of thatch in your lawn. Thatch is a layer of dead and decaying organic matter that can build up over time and create a favorable environment for weeds. Aeration can be done by renting an aerator from a home improvement store or hiring a professional.
  • Mowing your lawn regularly. This will help to keep the grass healthy and vigorous, making it less susceptible to weed invasion. Mow your lawn to the recommended height for your type of grass. For most grasses, this is 2-3 inches.
  • Watering your lawn deeply and infrequently. This will help the grass roots grow deep, making them less dependent on surface moisture, which weeds prefer. Water your lawn deeply once or twice a week rather than shallowly every day.
  • Fertilize your lawn according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will help the grass grow strong and healthy, making it less susceptible to weed invasion. Fertilize your lawn in the spring and fall when the grass is actively growing.
  • Remove weeds as soon as you see them. This will prevent them from setting seed and spreading. If you see a weed, pull it out by the roots. You may need to use a herbicide if the weed is large or has a deep taproot.
  • Consider using a pre-emergent herbicide. This type of herbicide will kill weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate. However, using a pre-emergent herbicide appropriate for the type of weeds you are dealing with is important. Pre-emergent herbicides are typically applied in the spring before weeds start to germinate.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent weeds from growing in your lawn and keep your lawn looking its best. Here are some additional tips for preventing weeds from growing on your lawn:

  • Choose the right type of grass for your climate. Some grasses are more susceptible to weed invasion than others. For example, Bermuda grass is good for warm climates, while Kentucky bluegrass is good for cool climates.
  • Keep your lawn free of debris. Debris can provide a hiding place for weed seeds, making it difficult to mow your lawn regularly. Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from your lawn regularly.
  • Be careful when using herbicides. Herbicides can be harmful to people, pets, and the environment. Always follow the directions on the label carefully.