Lawn Commonproblems 800 451

Weeds, Pests and Diseases are something that will be part of your lawn’s life cycle. However there are ways to help prevent them from taking control.


Weeds are very easily dispersed, so are almost impossible to eradicate completely. A longer lawn, with a dense growth habit helps in outperforming weeds, while an aerated soil is a much better option than a compacted soil.

In saying this, weeds can be transferred on shoes, in manure, with animals, or even the mower. Common weeds such as dandelion, clover and creeping oxalis are all treatable. Some can be removed by hand but often a weed spray is the preferred and better option.

You need to check the suitability of the product you are using for the weed you are trying to remove. Some are not suitable for different varieties of lawn. 

Weed identification

Bushy Asparagus

Bushy Asparagus (also known as asparagus fern) is a perennial groundcover plant with sprawling wiry stems, up to 2 metres long, arising from underground rhizomes.


Bamboos are typically fast growing perennials with woody and hollow stems, otherwise known as culms. Some bamboos are spreading while other are clumping.

Onehunga (Prickle) Weed

Onehunga (Prickle) Weed is an annual weed which looks like a small ferny rosette about 20mm in diameter, best known for the painful prickle underfoot.


Blackberries are mounding shrubs with stems or canes often covered in prickles. Fruits ripen from green to red, then fully ripen to a dark purplish-black.


Marshmallow, dandelion, cat’s ear, lamb’s tongue, chickweed, plantain, fleabane and dock are some of the common broadleaf weeds found in lawns and gardens.


Capeweed - also known as Cape Daisy - is an annual weed with rosette grey-green succulent leaves and yellow daisy like flowers with black centres.


Clover is a perennial weed which has leaves with three leaflets and creeping stems that set roots at whatever point they touch the ground.


Dandelion is a perennial herb with a very long tap root; mid-green and deeply divided leaves; and yellow daisy-like flowers.


Holly is an evergreen shrub or small tree, up to 15m tall. It has dark green prickly leaves and small off-white flowers which develop into red berries.


Ivy is a hardy evergreen climber with roots which occur along the stems, allowing the plant to climb vertical surfaces such as brick walls and buildings.


Lantana is a dense bush which scrambles over roadsides, nature reserves and neglected gardens, especially in areas close to the sea.

Morning Glory

Morning Glory is a vigorous, twining, perennial climber growing to the top of the canopy and forming a dense blanket over all vegetation.

Moss Algae Lichen

Algae (a green or black scum) and moss are usually problems in shaded, over-wet or badly drained and compacted sections of the lawn and garden.

Onion Weed

Onion weed is a bulb plant with strappy leaved and white star shaped flowers. Bulblets can be dislodged from the main plant, further spreading the weed.


Oxalis and Creeping Oxalis have heart-shaped leaves in clusters of three with yellow, pink or white flowers. A bothersome weed in the lawn and garden.


Paspalum is a tough perennial grass with broad leaves having deep longitudinal veins and caterpillar-like black sticky seed heads.


Privets are tall shrubs or small trees which spread by means of blue-to-black berries that form after flowering. Berries are spread by fruit-eating birds.


Thistles are tough perennial weeds which have a tap root, leaves which form as a rosette and tall stems which carry flowers followed by fluffy seeds.

Poa - Winter Grass

Poa (also known as Winter Grass) is a tufty, soft, light green grass with produces masses of seeds in winter. If left unattended, weeds can become a real issue.


The most common lawn insect pests are curl grub (the larvae of beetles like the African black beetle) and lawn armyworm.

Curl grub eat grass roots just below the surface. The lawn can turn yellow, then brown and die, and the lawn can be rolled up like a carpet. Lawn armyworm are caterpillars that strip grass foliage, causing rapidly expanding bare patches. Other symptoms of curl grub and armyworm are birds pecking and scratching in the lawn.

Control surface lawn pests such as Armyworm, African black beetle and Billbug by applying Yates Insect Killer for Lawns (before it has a chance to lay eggs) and in mid to late summer and autumn to control lawn armyworm.


Many common lawn diseases include brown patch and dollar spot, which appear as dying spots and patches of lawn.

Diseases can be more common in lawn areas with compacted or poorly drained soil, in shaded areas, areas that are damp overnight and underfed lawns. Only water lawns in the morning, so that the grass has the chance to dry before nightfall. Keep the lawn healthy and well fed to encourage disease resistance. Lawn diseases such as dollar spot and rust can be controlled with Yates Fungus Fighter Fungicide.

Pest & Disease identification

Brown Patch

Brown Patch is a fungal disease of lawns which usually occurs in late spring, summer and autumn during periods of warm and humid conditions.

Dollar Spot

Dollar Spot is a disease which is caused by a fungus and usually occurs in late spring, summer and autumn when the weather is warm and humid.

Fairy Ring

Fairy Rings form a ring of green grass surrounded by an outer ring of dead grass with mushroom-like growths appearing occasionally in the affected area.

Grass Grub

Grass grubs chew on the lawn, causing it brown and die. Here's how to protect your lawn from grass grubs.


If the lawn is looking brown, dead or bare in patches, it's likely to be the work of the armyworm. Here's how to identify and control armyworm in your lawn.


Ants do not damage plants directly but sometimes steal freshly sown seed from garden beds and seed boxes. Ants also feed on the sticky ‘honeydew’ substance produced by sap sucking insects such as aphids and scale, and encourage these insects by protecting them from predators.

Black Beetle

If your lawn is browning or your plants are suddenly dying, it may be the work of the black beetle or its larvae (grass grubs). Here's how to identify and control black beetles in the lawn and garden.

Related Articles

Solving weed problems at the end of Winter

What exactly is a weed? Definitions abound, but a weed is generally considered to be a plant that’s growing where it isn’t wanted. And, as winter comes to an end, it often seems that the weeds are about to take over the entire garden.

Weed control in lawns

Control weeds effectively in your lawn with the expert advice and guidance of the Yates team. Ask your questions and find out more garden information below.

Weed'n'Feed FAQ

We answer some frequently asked questions about Yates Weed‘n’Feed Hose-ons.