Weed plants grow rampantly, however, you can take steps to identify them and remove them from your garden.
It is important to note that weed plants will grow in your garden where you do not want them to grow.
There are some specific weedy species that you should keep an eye on.
These aggressive plants will not only make your yard look messy, but they can also choke out the garden plants you have worked so hard to grow.
Whether you are trying to identify common lawn weed plants, this guide will help to identify them and give your tips on how you can remove them.
Keep on reading to learn more about weed plants.
There are different types of weeds. Following are the types based on the Weed Science Society of America’s description:
A plant that can cause economic loss or ecological damages or create health problems for both animals and humans or is simply undesirable where it is growing, for instance, crabgrass.
Any plant that a federal, state or local government designates as injurious to public health, agriculture, recreation, wildlife, or property.
For instance, bindweed and purple loosestrife.
Such weeds are non-invasive invaders and lack natural competitors or enemies to curtail their growth.
Moreover, those that allow them to overrun native plants, displaced species, and alter ecosystems.
Classic examples are Kudzu and English Ivy.
It is important to note that weed plants are not inherently bad.
A number of weeds help to stabilize the soil and add organic matter.
While some are edible to humans and provide habitat and food for wildlife in some cases are also indicators of the health of the soil.
Preventing Weed Plants
Let’s discuss the non-chemical solutions for weed plants.
herbicides are an obvious and quick fix for weed plants, however, they will not keep weed problems from recurring year after year.
For a healthy yard, you need to address the cause.
The 1# rule you need to remember is that with weeds never let them seem.
Weed early, when they are young. Some weed plants tend to produce tens of thousands of seeds from a single plant, thus, multiplying your weed control problems for years to come.
Therefore, make sure to inspect your garden daily.
When weeds are young, you need to just pull them out or cut them off below the soil line.
However, be careful to keep your digging shallow so that you do not bring in the new weed seeds to the surface.
It is important to note that weeds are easy to remove when the ground is moist like you can pull them after a fresh rainfall.
Clean your gardening tools when removing weeds from one area of the area to another area. This will help to avoid spreading weeds seeds.
Moreover, do not leave pulled weed plants on the surface, discard them in the trash.
Mow your garden regularly to keep your lawn weeds from producing seeds, and mow off the green leaves.
Make sure to read grass seed labels to make sure they do not contain other crop seeds.
Other Prevention Tips
If you have time, about 6 to 8 weeks before planting seeds, cover a weedy patch with landscape fabric, black plastic, or an old carpet.
First, break up the top 4 to 8 inches of the soil, rake it, cover the soil, and avoid cultivating the soil to a depth greater than 2 inches.
Apply a layer of mulch as weeds will have a harder time pushing through the mulch and it blocks sunlight.
Moreover, water right around your plants, do not sprinkle your entire garden or you will just be watering your weeds.
In lawns, it is important to be careful not to over-fertilize or under-fertilize, as you will be promoting weed growth.
You can also establish a parameter. Make sure to pay special attention to the area adjoining the flower beds garden, natural area, or lawn, and establish a weed-free perimeter.
Mow or mulch the area or pull or dig up the weeds as they emerge, and this will help to reduce the number of new weed seeds in the area you want to protect.
Furthermore, a good trimmer can make it easy to reach weeds along garden beds, posts, and tight spots.
One of the important things to note about weeds is that Perennial Weeds will come back year after year.
Moreover, they can be difficult to control.
To control them, you will dig up any roots, underground tubers, and rhizomes without leaving fragments behind.
New weeds can grow from any pieces that break off and remain in the soil of your garden.
Follow the steps below to prevent perennial weeds:
- Cut off the emerging part of the weed plants with a hoe or mower, repeating the process quickly each time it regrows, as, without leaves for photosynthesis, the underground plant will weaken and eventually die.
- If you dig out the week, it is important to remove the taproot or as much as you can. You may have to repeat the process a number of times.
- When pulling out the weeds, wait until the soil is moist, and grasp low on the stem to avoid breaking it off.
Below are some of the common weed plants.
These are two types:
- troublesome weeds which tend to compete with vegetables, fruits, and crops, however, can also be beneficial
- noxious weeds are harmful to the ecology
Crabgrass or Digitaria spp. is a low-growing, summer annual that tends to spread by seeds and from rootings of the nodes that lie on the soil.
Moreover, if you do not disturb them, they can grow to 2 feet tall.
This weed appears from mid-spring through summer when the ground is warm and it will grow well under dry, hot conditions.
As an annual, crabgrass will die at the end of each growing season, often at the first sign of frost, and will produce new seeds every year.
How you can Control the Crabgrass?
Crabgrass is easy to control and controlling it before it sets seeds is important.
This is because the seeds can remain viable for at least 3 years in the soil.
Mowing regularly on the lawn can help to prevent crabgrass from flowering and producing seeds.
Experts recommend that you mow your lawn to a height of 2 to 4 inches and mow frequently to keep it within that range.
An important thing to note is crabgrass loves a poor lawn as seedling crabgrass is not very competitive, a vigorous growing turf will crowd out needed seedlings.
Furthermore, perennial ryegrass is the best competition as it provides some insect control. It is because it emits natural poison that gives some small damaging bugs the flu.
Make sure to avoid using herbicides in a vegetable garden. While you can also control this weed with solarization.
Purslane, Portulaca oleracea is a noxious weed plant.
This plant can produce over 2,000,000 seeds per plant and is prodcues by tiny black seeds and stem fragments in late spring.
Moreover, it can also reproduce vegetatively through its leaves, making it tough to eradicate.
A number of gardeners will how purslane one day only to see it growing at full strength, so unless you want to grow this plant, think about controlling it.
How can you Control Purslane?
In-home landscapes and gardens, you can manage this weed plant by hand-weeding.
Keep an eye out for this weed plant. Pull out this weed as soon as you see them and destroy the plant.
This is because this plant can live in the soil for years to come.
Moreover, mulching can also help, particularly in garden beds.
To be effective, organic mulches of at least 3 inches thick are especially helpful.
While synthetic mulches that contain plastic or fabric that will screen out light and provide a physical barrier to seedling development will also work well.
Furthermore, fabric mulches that are porous and allow a flow of water and air to roots are well preferred.
However, combinations of synthetic mulches with organic or rock mulches are common in ornamental plantings.
Lambsquarter or Chenopodium album is a fast-growing summer annual.
Though this weed is edible, nutritious, and delicious, but can be troublesome weeds.
Moreover, they can be a big problem for plants like sugar beets, vegetable crops, and pulse crops like edible beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
This weed plant is a fast-growing annual seed that is small and light enough to be blown by the wind over a short distance.
Furthermore, the seeds in some cases can survive for decades in the soil.
While under favorable conditions, these can establish themselves quickly and spread profusely.
How can you Control Lambsquarters?
During summertime, this weed can rapidly remove moisture from the soil.
Therefore, make sure to remove it from unwanted areas as soon as possible.
Cultivate lambsquarters out of your garden with the help of a sharp hoe.
Pigweed or Amaranthus spp. is one of the most problematic weeds.
It has evolved trails that make it a tough competitor, particularly in broadleaf crops like soybeans and cotton.
An annual weed that is prodcues by seed, pigweed has flashy red taproots and appears in late spring or early summer.
Moreover, this plant likes to thrive in warm weather.
How you can Control Pigweed?
To control this weed, try to pull out this weed before it flowers.
Some weeds will need light for germination and pigweed tends to be one of them.
In order to prevent this weed in the future, cover your garden plot with winter mulch.
Also, till very shallowly in the spring, only turning up a small amount of soil to keep the seeds buried.
When you till, you can bring up some pigweed seed, so it is better to mulch again.
Cover the soil with five layers of wet newspaper and cover it with 2 to 6 inches of mulch.
Chickweed or Stellaria sp. and Cerastium spp. is a winter annual that will grow in well-watered areas.
Moreover, it is a reservoir for insect pests and plant viruses.
While growing without competition from other plants, it prodcues approximately 800 seeds and will take up to 8 years to eradicate.
Chickweeds love to thrive in moist, cool areas so they will often start before spring crops ad become competitive.
For this reason, it can limit your vegetable harvest.
Common chickweed forms dense mats and rarely grows more than 2 inches, while flowers are small with five white flower petals.
It can also grow in a wide range of soil but will do well in neutral pH soil with high nitrogen and will not do good in low pH, i.e. acidic soils.
How can you Control Chickweed?
Fortunately, chickweed to easy to control as long as you pull the weed when the plant is small and before it flowers.
However, you can find it challenging to locate it during the short period between germination and flow production, so make sure to monitor closely and remove the weed so it does not reroot.
Remember, that this is a winter annual, so make sure to keep an eye out for chickweed seedlings throughout late fall and winter.
Remove them by shallow cultivation or by hand pulling.
By spring time, experts do not recommend chemical controls for this winter annual.
Furthermore, using a layer of organic mulch like woodchips, at least 2 inches deep can help to reduce the number of weed seeds germinating by limiting light and serving as a physical barrier.
While you can also use landscape fabrics.
In landscape areas, you can use an additional layer of mulch like rock or bark, and in vegetable gardens, you can use black plastic.
Dandelion or Taraxacum officinale have bright yellow heads in the springtime.
This perennial weed will form forms of rosettes of leaves with yellow flower clusters that rise from the center.
Bees can find dandelions helpful, though it is not a preferred food.
A lawn full of dandelions is better for bees than a weed-free lawn, however, not nearly as good as a garden with a variety of plants and no dandelions.
In time, dandelions will take over any habitat from your garden to ornamentals to your grasses.
Not only do they have wind-borne seeds, but they also reproduce vegetatively due to their large tap roots.
Thus, unless you cut the roots present deep in the soil, these plants will reemerge again.
How can you Control Dandelions?
Hand-pulling or hoeing the mature dandelion is futile unless you do it repeatedly over a long period of time.
This is because of the deep tap root system of the already established plant.
Therefore, it is best to pull young dandelions by grasping them firmly by their base and wiggling gently, as you need to dislodge their deep taproot from the soil.
However, you can also use a hand towel to dig them out.
Try to remove the whole dandelion root at once, as any piece reaming in the ground will probably grow back.
Moreover, if keep a lawn, a vigorous, and competitive lawn can help to slow down the dandelion infestation.
Moreover, dense turfgrass and ornamentals will shade the soil surface, thus, reducing the establishment of new dandelion seedlings.
Bas dandelions grow from a basal rosette, mowing them will have no effect on their control.
In the case of garden beds, mulches of wood chips or bark can be effective, if you maintain them at a depth of at least 3 inches deep.
Furthermore, mulching with landscape fabrics can also be effective for controlling seedlings, thus, reducing the amount of light that will reach the soil.
Make sure to use a polypropylene or polyester fabric or black polyethylene or plastic trap to block all plant growth.
Shepherd’s purse or Capsella bursa – pastoris is a Brassica and part of the Mustard family along with cabbage.
This flowering annual tends to produce heart-shaped seedpods after flowering and like cool weather.
Its yellow-brown seeds tend to live long in the ground.
How can you Control Shepherd’s Purse?
It is important to keep an eye out for its distinct leaves and pull out this annual weed before it seeds.
Moreover, make sure to remove the entire root of this weed plant.
Creeping Charlie or Glechoma hederacea is popular as Ground Ivy and wild violet.
These are common on a shady lawn and are native to Europe. This perennial plant grows low to the ground in a vining habit and kills everything else around it.
Moreover, the plant has bright green leaves with scalloped edges on creeping stems or stolons that will grow along the ground.
It is important to note that creeping charlie can be challenging because of the way it spreads, by both seeds and its creeping stems.
If you try to dig them out and leave behind a fragment of rhizome or root, a new plant will emerge.
How can you Control Creeping Charlie?
To control these weeds, improve turf density by seeding grass in shady areas to help limit the weed from spreading.
Make sure to grow the most suitable type of turfgrass for the location, for instance,e plant shade tolerant turfgrass varieties under trees.
Moreover, you can improve soil drainage or water less frequently to dry the soil.
Mow regularly to a height of about 2 to 3½ inches, fertilizing, and watering appropriately, and overseeding in the fall.
Furthermore, pull out creeping charlie by hand only when you see a plant or two here and try, and try to pull the weed without breaking off.
In case of heavy infestations, the extensive spreading stems of creeping charlie can be difficult to remove completely.
If you have mats of weed, smother them with a barrier of newspaper, trap, or cardboard, which will help to block the sunlight for at least a week.
Once you pull out the plant, make sure to dispose of them in such a way that it cannot reroot.
However, common herbicides will not work.
Quackgrass or Elytrigia repens is a creeping, persistent perennial grass that will reproduce by seeds.
it has long, jointed, straw-colored rhizomes that form a heavy mat in the soil.
From there, new shoots can appear.
How can you Control Quackgrass?
Try to dig out this fast-growing grass as soon as you spot this grass in the garden,
Make sure to dig up the entire plant including its roots.
Dispose of the plant in your waste bin rather than the compost pile, as it will most likely continue growing in the latter.
Canada Thistle or Cirsium Arvense is an aggressive, creeping perennial weed from Eurasia.
It can infest crops, pastures, and non-crop areas like ditch banks and roadsides.
Moreover, Canada thistle can reduce forage consumption in pastures and rangeland as cattle will not graze near infestations.
This plant will reproduce by seeds and whitish, creeping rootstocks which will send up new shoots every 8 to 12 inches.
A plant can reach 2 to 4 feet tall, grow in colonies, and reproduce asexually from rhizomatous roots or sexually from wind-blown seeds.
It is important to note that this plant will emerge from its roots in mid to late springs and form rosettes.
Also, it will tend sed up shoots every 8 to 12 inches and you can spot its purple flowers in July and August.
How can you Canada Thistle?
Controlling Canada Thistle can be difficult as it has an extensive and deep root system which allows it to easily recover from control attempts.
Moreover, horizontal roots can extend outwards 15 feet or more and vertical roots can grow 5 to 15 inches deep. while its seeds can retain viability for more than 4 years in the soil.
You will need to destroy the first plant by pulling or hoeing them before they become rooted.
However, if they become rooted, the best control is to stress the plant and force it to use stored root nutrients.
During summertime, this plant is at its weakest, so it is a good time to begin cultivation and destroy its roots and rootstock.
Another effective way to control them is to use an approved herbicide, applied for 2 years in a heavily thistle-infested area.
Make sure to consult your local cooperative extension office.
Bindweed or Convolvulus arvensis is a hardy perennial that has a number of names like perennial or wild morning-glory, and creeping jenny.
This noxious weed will sprout in late spring and can become a huge problem in warm weather when it spreads ruthlessly.
However, it is important to note that bindweed is not the same as morning glory.
An invasive from Eurasia, bindweed is one of the most persistent weeds and its fast-growing root system will grow right through the roots of other plants.
You can find its roots to depths of 14 feet, while lateral root form secondary vertical roots, anchoring the plant in place.
A single bindweed can spread readily to more than 10 feet in a growing season and its extensive underground network allows for overwintering without foliage.
How can you Control Bindweed?
Tilling id will make bindweed spread, fragments of vertical roots and rhizomes as short as 2 inches can grow into new plants.
Therefore, the best control is prevention or early intervention.
Seedling of this weed plant needs to be removed before they become perennial plants within 3 to 4 weeks of germination, and after that time, the buds will form.
By summer, it is almost impossible to get all the roots.
Remember that each fragment of its root will grow into a new plant, so you a garden fork to carefully pull out the entire root, including the soil.
As bindweed will grow through the roots of other plants, you may also need to lift other perennials and plants.
The easiest way to kill bindweed is to organically smother it from light with a weed control fabric, black plastic, or old carpet.
Weed plants may look harmless, but these stealth invaders can bring your lawn to the brink of destruction. The key to saving your lawn or backyard is to control them. It is important to note that weeds can suck the life out of your garden and drain the nutrients to thrive.
Pulling weeds by hand is the most organic, natural way to get rid of these invasive plants, however, you can also use chemical treatment. Remember to read labels carefully to make sure that the products you are using are safe for your pets and turf type.