What Does Common Ragweed Look Like?

If you have allergies, you’re probably very familiar with the common ragweed. It grows all over the place starting in the Spring, and it seems to be late to die off each Fall. But do you know what it looks like?

Common Ragweed can be a real nuisance, as it often grows in large numbers and can cause allergies to a large portion of the population. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at this pesky weed and discuss how to identify it. We’ll also talk about some of the potential problems that can come along with this weed, if it looks like other weeds, and how it grows and where.

So, what does common ragweed look like? Let’s explore that answer together!

What is Common Ragweed?

Ragweed, also known as Ambrosia Artemisiifolia, Common Ragweed, and Annual Ragweed, is a member of the plant family Asteraceae. This plant has been observed all throughout North America and in Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Most homeowners do not want this weed growing near their home, as it causes allergic reactions to many people, and additionally it’s classified as an invasive species that can become a harmful noxious weed!

Where Does Common Ragweed Grow?

Common Ragweed predominantly grows in areas that are low in nutrients, particularly roadsides, abandoned lots, meadows, and lawns. It is a highly competitive weed that develops fast.

Ragweed is an annual plant – meaning it dies and grows back every year – that can grow to be up to three feet tall, with branching stems. It begins developing in late spring and lasts until early fall. Rhizomes are the primary way it reproduces and propagates, but it can also spread via seed.

The best time to eliminate Common Ragweed is before the summer, which is when it blooms from July through October. Ragweed produces tens of thousands of seeds that may be picked up by the wind or by birds, but only lasts six years in the ground before dying out.

How to Identify Common Ragweed

Now that we know a bit more about where Common Ragweed grows, let’s take a look at what it looks like. Here are some tips on what to look for so you can identify Common Ragweed in your lawn.

Visual Characteristics 

Common Ragweed may grow up to three feet tall, and it is found in nearly every state across the continental U.S. It blooms with yellow-green flowers and has oval leaves with jagged edges. Its roots run deep into the soil and impede other plants from accessing nutrients.

Ragweed has a lot of leaves in a single plant, which resemble tiny but long fern leaves – they’re frequently very green and look like small jagged-edged blades. Each flower is made up of four petals and is small and green or yellowish in hue.

Growth Stages

In North America, the bloom season is July through October. When the Ragweed flowers bloom they transform into fluffy seed-heads in distinct clusters, which is generally what people notice first about ragweed plants! These seed heads may resemble a row of little corn cobs or a collection of tiny peas.

It flourishes later in the summer or fall. The seeds are multitudinous, and can survive the harsh conditions of winter. They are rich in nutritious oils, so many of them are eaten by songbirds and upland game birds.

Other Unique Traits

This plant’s leaves are coated with pollen, which frequently causes allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. When the pollen blooms and disperses – between July and October – is the worst time for hay-fever.

Plants That Look Like Common Ragweed

Western Ragweed, a close relation of Common Ragweed, is a perennial, and it has leaves that are not as finely divided as common ragweed.

Common Ragweed also produces leaves that are quite similar to those of wild carrot or poison hemlock, but both of these weeds are biennials, and they have a basal rosette rather than an elongated stem like Ragweed.

In terms of the Ragweed’s flowers, and how they grow straight up in a bundle that resembles a tiny cob of corn, this bears a passing resemblance to the Broadleaf Dock and other Dock weeds. However, the leaves of the Broadleaf Dock are much larger and more of an oval shape, and they grow in smaller clusters, so you should be able to distinguish them fairly quickly.

How to Get Rid of Common Ragweed

If ragweed has already begun to bloom, removing it may be difficult since its seeds survive the winter, allowing them to regrow the next year.

One way to eliminate Common Ragweed is by using a commercial herbicide. Any broadleaf weed killer will work with Ragweed, as will most weed killers that include the primary component glyphosate.

The best time of year to use weed killers is during the spring, because the ragweed plants are smaller at this time. Spraying in the spring also ensures the Ragweed has not yet bloomed yet, so the seeds haven’t dispersed and you stand a better chance of killing the weed for good. If the ragweeds get larger, you’ll probably have to apply an herbicide a few times.

Pulling ragweed by hand or with a shovel is another popular technique. Be sure to pull the weed out when it’s still small to ensure that the roots are completely removed. This will prevent any seeds from falling off in your grass and causing future weeds to develop. Then, spread a mulch or other type of temporary plant cover over the dirt to stop any leftover seeds from sprouting.

Summing Up

Common Ragweed can be difficult to identify and distinguish from other plants, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. However, with a little knowledge of the plant’s characteristics and growth stages, you should be able to accurately identify it.

The visual characteristics of Common Ragweed can help you distinguish it from other plants in your area. It’s important to be able to identify this plant because it causes such an allergic reaction in people, and so you can rid your lawn of this pesky weed.

Remember that common ragweed is a weed and grows just about anywhere, so if you see it, chances are good that others have too. Be sure to share this information with your friends and family who might also suffer from seasonal allergies. If you’re still unsure after reading this post, please reach out for help. We want to make sure everyone stays safe from this pesky weed!