Green groundcover ID help (pics)

My yard is green, but it is not “traditional” grass. Nobody is going to ever mistake my yard for a putting green, fairway, rough, or sandtrap even. A friend who has a lawn care company offered to apply a broad leaf weed killer, then later seed the lawn. However the thing is the “weed” currently growing is doing well and is easy to maintain. There is little vertical growth, other than a flower stalk that bears a small dandylion-like bloom. Thus, even if I do not get around to mowing as often as I would like, it is easy to mow when I eventually get around to it. Also, it is thriving in the partial shade of my back yard.

Can anyone ID the weed?
Any suggestions for its care?

NB- I realize there are many different species in the pics, I am most concerned with the finger-like leaves with the flower stalks. Extra points for identification of all botanicals!:wink:

Looks like plantain to me.

I’m also seeing violets, wild strawberries, and plain old crabgrass.

In picture 2 I see a wild or ornamental strawberry.
There’s some spotted cat’s ear (the one that looks a bit like a dandilion, with prickly leaves) , and burclover (that has little yellow flowers), plantains (broad, smooth leaves) crab grass (looks like grass)
Maybe dichondra The one you’re asking about may be a another type of plantain. They all are listed in my Sunset Western Garden Problem Solver as weeds.

Hmmm. The general plantain type plant sounds like a possibility. I remember the broadleaf plantain from my childhood-

But the flower that mine sends up is very dandylion-like. Good call on the strawberryesque plant. I’ve grown strawberries, and wondered if that was what the ones in my yard were.

Spotted cat’s ear- That’s exactly what the flowers look like, though the leaves are not exactly like this pic:

The weird thing is, that from a distance my yard looks great!

The older I get, the less I see the point of lawns. When I see a gorgeous, perfect, lawn, I think “damn, what a total waste of resources” – meaning both water, and also time, plus intangibles like brain cells. Who the hell has nothing better to think about than their lawn? Plus all the chemicals it takes …

Don’t get me started.

Anyway, I have a tiny yard, and my “lawn” is a mishmash of grass, crabgrass, dandelions, clover, plantain, wild strawberries, johnny-jump-ups, ground ivy, and probably a bunch of other stuff as well. I keep it shortish and it stays green, and other than that we leave each other alone.

I agree that if you’re happy with it you definately shouldn’t put a lawn in. We use more chemicals and water on our lawns than is even conceivable to me. Kill your lawn!

I don’t water mine, or fertilize it, and every time I put in a new flower bed there’s less and less lawn. Everybody’s happy and flowers and vegetables are prettier and tastier anyhow.

Yeah, the reason my lawn is so tiny is that it’s been totally eradicated from the side yard (walkway flanked by flowerbeds), and is surrounded by lush flowerbeds in the back yard – I think of it as “negative space” between the actual elements of the garden, and thus not worth my attention.

I’m with you guys! I am leaving work now (an early day) so that I can mow my “lawn”. :wink:

I never thought it would happen to me, but…since I bought a house a year and a half ago, I’ve turned into a “lawn guy.” I take great pride in my tiny patch of grass, which grows green and lush and healthy. I’m super-critical of other lawns in the neighborhood now, too. The house across the alley from us just got sold, and the new guy has let the previously-lovely law go to hell. Now it’s underwatered, dead, and has weeds like small trees growing out of it. Shameful, shameful.

But really, I’m not a psycho about it. Having a super-nice lawn takes at the most two hours a week for me, an hour and a half of which is mowing and edging. I fertilize about 3-4 times a year, which is like 30 minutes every two months. And if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll spend an hour every few weeks walking around with my demi-magical “bermuda grass weeder” in the tank sprayer, nailing the more persistent weeds. So, it’s not a huge deal, and at least my lawn gets me some good outdoor exercise, which frankly I’m sorely needing anyway.

Now, keeping the bermuda grass out of the flowerbed, that’s another battle. Might as well be a weed…

I think the strawberry-esque leaves might actually be a herbaceous potentilla or something else like that; they’re not strawberry leaves - too many lobes.

Aside from that, you seem to have a mixture of common temperate-zone lawn weeds - plantains, clovers, perhaps a bit of oxalis, black medick, a couple of different members of compositae which might include diminutive dandelions, daisies and possibly lambs lettuce.

Quite a diverse mixture, for a lawn.

Ah… here we are; the five-lobed strawberry-oid things are cinquefoil, or something very similar.
Strawberry leaves typically have only three lobes that are somewhat rounder (

I think one of my neighbors has OCD. Every single day, he’s out there with his gas-powered leaf blower, and gas mask. I’ve seen him run out and blow away one single leaf (he won’t just pick it up, it has to be blown). And did you ever see anyone trim the edge of his lawn with a pair of scissors? And after he trims his hedge, he goes through it with the same scissors, to even out any irregularities. And I swear, there isn’t one weed in his entire yard.

I often wonder what he thinks of my lawn. It’s composed of about 15 different kinds of stuff, including a few small areas of actual grass. I mow it whenever I think about it, which isn’t often, and never fertilize it. And weeds? To me a weed is something growing where you don’t want it growing. So by that definition I don’t have any weeds either.

Our lawn mower died with its first outing of the summer. So far, we’ve found other things to spend money on.
Maybe we’ll start a new trend, instead of a wild flower garden, we’ll have a meadow. (Actually, it’s begining to look like a vacant lot.) :rolleyes:

Grass is overrated. Well, that’s probably a bit unfair - I’m sure it’s fascinating to botanists, especially those that specialise in it.

Grass lawns are overrated - sure, they look nice in the context of a putting green, but what’s the point in spending your whole life trying to maintain a perfect lawn, at the expense of sitting out on it to enjoy a beer. Let the daisies and clover grow under your feet, as well as the grass - a species-diverse informal lawn is nice - a perfectly-manicured monoculture of grass is about as interesting as a slice of white bread.

My lawn looks like grass from the deck. It’s only when you get out there that you can see the multitude of flowering weeds weaving in and out between the blades of grass. I simply don’t care enough to spend tons of money getting it into shape. I like how it looks right after I cut it and I like not spending a lot of time on it. I plant flowers every year and most people think our place is pretty darn cute.

Here are pictures of a weed, pancake mushrooms, the pancake tree, and my yard. Never a dull moment!

Actually, meadows are becoming “fashionable” in the native plant circle. (Well, I guess they’ve always been fashionable there - they’re becoming fashionable elsewhere too.) Of course, a true meadow isn’t just whatever weeds decide to choke out your turfgrass, and it has natural dormant periods and is generally taller and more wild looking than most lawns. The ones I’ve seen pictures of were really neat, though.

I had your yard earlier this year. My husband likes the meadow. It’s a little much for me.

Hawkweed or Two Flowered Cynthia - Your narrow leafed plant. Flower needed for type.

Cinquefoil or Buttercup – The plant similar to strawberry. Potentilla are in the same family

Violet – The leaves that are heart shaped.

Fescue grass – It’s wider then bluegrass, and narrower than rye grass.

I have to say that contemplation of the first picture in the OP caused me to relax for no good reason.

I am halfway through a sociology book on Lawns and how Americans came to believe in them as a cultural meme, completely detached from the rest of the world.

Thanks to all who have participated. I’ve learned some botany! I have been walking around the yard, studying all the different plants growing. It looks like the variety of species is ideal for the growth parameters. The plantain stalks are growing tall, so I’ll be mowing this weekend. After which I will go kayaking. And I’ll be toasting you Dopers with an ice cold beer. :wink:

Here is one final shot of the plantain (the flowers are way smaller than dandylions):

Obligatory dog pic, my dog Pepita: