What is a Winter Annual Weed?

August 10, 2021 | By: Gary Snyder


Do you remember in the past spring when you were fighting weeds in the landscape beds as you were trying to get mulch down? Or, as soon as you got mulch down, the weeds broke through, resulting in callbacks and unhappy customers. Chances are you were dealing with a winter annual weed.

Winter Annual Weeds

Annual winter weeds germinate in the fall and winter and grow actively in the spring. Landscapers are often surprised by how quickly these weeds can seemingly pop up overnight in the landscape, unaware that they may have been growing slowly all winter long. After they flower in the spring, they die and disappear for the summer, only to return in fall or winter when the new seeds germinate.  

Common Winter Annuals in Ohio:

  • Henbit
  • Purple Deadnettle
  • Common Chickweed
  • Annual Bluegrass
  • Catchweed
  • Hairy Bittercress
  • Speedwell
  • Yellow Rocket
  • Pineapple Weed. 

The end of summer is the time to start thinking about applying a bed pre-emergent to keep these weeds from germinating in a month or so! If you include a second bed prep in the normal maintenance program you offer, include the bed pre-emergent as part of the package. If you don’t normally do a second bed prep going into fall, but the customer has a history of winter annuals in their beds, now is the time to have that conversation about applying bed pre-emergent with them. 

Treatment Options for Winter Annual Weeds

Green Velvet offers you a wide variety of both spreadable and sprayable bed pre-emergents. We recommend using the higher rate for this application to give you the coverage into the winter months that is needed. The application is the same for this time as it would be in the spring of the year. Best to apply beneath the mulch, so you get good soil contact. Water, the product in ASAP, to activate it, and with almost all of these products, if they just lay on the surface of the landscape bed, the sunlight will break them down. So, if you are going granular, Green Velvet offers Freehand, Snapshot DG, T/I 2.5G (same active ingredient as Snapshot), Treflan, and Broadstar. If spraying is easier, we offer Dimension (Dithiopyr), Barricade (Prodiamine), Gallery (Isoxaben), and Tower. Make sure to read the label to make sure the weed you are targeting is on it. Some of these pre-emergents control grassy weeds better than broadleaf weeds, so make sure you choose the right product.

Now that you know what a winter annual weed is, you’re ready to prevent them. Contact your Green Velvet Sales Representative or local branch to help with your selection.