Grass Vs. Weeds: What is the Difference?

Published Categorized as Lawn Weeds

In most cases, people use the words weeds and grasses interchangeably and synonymously. However, they are different. Not every weed is grass, and not all grass types are weeds. Let’s discuss the two words, grass vs. weeds, to know their differences.

The key difference in the grass vs. weeds debate is that weed is a plant, while grass belongs to a family of plants. Additionally, grass is a desired crop which is attractive and a great food source. On the other hand, weed is an undesired plant that looks unsightly and is highly poisonous.

Weeds Vs. Grass: The Primary Differences

Grass Vs. Weeds

Although grass and some weeds look similar, a subtle thin line requires time and discernment to tell the difference. Thankfully, I have done extensive research and developed four main differences that can help you tell one from the other.

Here are the four key differences:

1. Weed is a plant, and grass is a family of plant

Grass is a category of a plant belonging to the Poaceae family, while weed is a plant growing in an unwanted area. You can differentiate grass from other plants as it has tender green stems. Other plants have woody stems where branches develop, and leaves and flowers sprout out from these branches.

2. Grass is desired; weed is undesired

Weeds describe plants that grow in the wrong places, while grasses are desired crops you grow in gardens and lawns. They thrive where they are unwanted, especially in human-controlled settings like lawns, gardens, farm fields, and parks.

Also, weeds grow aggressively and are invasive outside their native habitat, unlike grass. Generally, farmers consider them pests in gardens as they compete for nutrients, sunlight, water, and space. This results in a reduced yield of crops.

Therefore, any plant you don’t intentionally grow or you don’t want to develop on your property is a weed.

3. Grass is attractive, but weeds look unsightly

Growing lush, well-maintained grass makes your home beautiful. It also boosts the value of your property. Also, grass looks even and nice and doesn’t wreck your floras or soil.

On the other hand, weeds are unappealing and a nuisance as they disrupt your home’s beauty. These unwanted plants generally reduce the appeal and value of a well-curated lawn. Additionally, they make the yard look disheveled and patchy and choke other desired plants.

4. Weed is poisonous; grass is a food source

Most grass types are vital to crop species grown as animal fodders or for human consumption. For instance, sugarcane, wheat, corn, and rice belong to this family. Furthermore, the bamboo plant, a popular construction material, belongs to the grass family. You can also grow grass as your compound’s ornamental crop.

On the other hand, most of the weeds have prickles that cause allergies and skin irritation to people and pets. Others are poisonous when ingested.

Why is It Hard to Control Weeds?

Weeds grow where they are not needed and compete with desired plants for nutrients, light, water, and space. Usually, they can absorb these resources quicker than other plants.

Additionally, weeds can easily adapt to any environment and resist stressors like fluctuating temperatures and drought. Also, most weeds are resilient and don’t die completely, even with multiple herbicide applications.

Some of these weeds that are difficult to control include Speedwells Veronica spp., Violets Viola spp., and Creeping Charlie.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What’s the name of lawn weeds with prickles?

A: The weed that contains prickles is called Onehunga Weed or prickle weed. It is an annual weed that looks unpleasant and is detested by kids, as it makes bare feet resemble pin cushions. These weed seeds spread in your lawn by foot traffic, and the best time to kill them is during spring.

Q: What is the best grass to prevent weeds?

A: The best grass that helps control weeds is Zoysia, as it grows differently. It spreads with Stolons or runners, which expand sideways and more than it grows tall. For this reason, the grass grows so dense, making it effective at choking out weeds and replacing existing turf.


If you use the words weed vs grass interchangeably, know they are not the same.

Weed is a plant, while grass belongs to a family of plants called Poaceae. Another key difference between grass vs. weeds is that grass is a desired crop that is attractive and a great food source.

On the other hand, weed is an undesired plant that looks unsightly and is highly poisonous.

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By Wycliffe Magara

Hi, my name’s Wycliffe Magara, a professional landscaper, journalist, published author, photographer, and lawn attendant. Apart from this site, I also own LawnAffection, Grasstology, and TheScholarshipTipster. I specialize in creating informational content to help you grow a Lifelong Lush Lawn and find the ideal scholarship opportunities no one ever talks about.