Weeds, or more particularly, garden weeds, is a silent killer that can strike anytime in a beautiful garden filled with nice garden variety and flowering plants. It’s important to be able to tell the weeds from the flowering plants because some weeds actually look like flowering and garden plants, and this makes it more difficult in seeking the weeds out to get rid of them. So bear in mind that part of growing your own front or backyard garden means that weeds will eventually grow there as well and they will need to be exterminated.
Please take note that some publications and websites are saying that some weeds are edible. Nothing of this sort has ever been proven yet in agricultural science. So before you start pulling out your weeds and mixing them into your vegetable soup, remember too, that most weeds are poisonous, which is why they can be your garden plant killers.
You could say that one country’s weed is another country’s garden plant, but most everyone will agree that since you’re growing a home garden in the western hemisphere rather than the mountain regions of Asia, a weed here is an uninvited invader in the home garden. Below are a list and description of the most common weeds that usually invade any home garden so they can easily be identified as the intruders that they are and promptly removed.
Believe it or not, crabgrass is grown in some countries in Southeast Asia for gardens and public parks because of its resilience and fast growth. But in the U.S., crabgrass tops the list of lawn and garden complaints. It’s a fast-growing grass that reproduces by spreading seeds and by rooting at the lower joints. This weed suddenly appears during mid-spring through the summer when the soil is warm. It grows well even under very dry and hot conditions. Start removing crabgrass as soon as it appears in the garden. Dig it out by the roots with a spading fork and don’t let it go to seed. Roots left behind will grow back fast, so make sure the weed is completely dug out and not just the top portion is removed.
To prevent crabgrass in the future, you can handle the problem in two stages. As soon as spring arrives, apply corn gluten meal, an organic pre-emergent herbicide. Spring is when the soil is cold and the crabgrass is weakest. Crabgrass is only an annual weed, so it starts from seed every year. The organic herbicide will prevent the seed from germinating, thus preventing it from sprouting. Next, re-seed your lawn during the start of fall. This will allow the new grass time to grow strong before the next summer, and be ready for next year’s annual crabgrass attack.
The best prevention against crabgrass is a thick and healthy lawn, with soil containing a proper pH balance at 7.0 to 7.5. Perennial ryegrass is the best enemy against crabgrass. It also provides some insect control because it emits a natural poison that makes small and damaging bugs really sick. Fertilizing is also key and must be done in the spring and autumn. Crabgrass thrives in compacted lawns, so aeration will help a lot. A mixture of 1 pint of hydrogen peroxide, diluted to 3 percent, per 100 square feet of lawn can also help eradicate the pesky plant.
This is another annual weed that reproduces by seeds. Pigweed is characterized by its fleshy, red taproot. This weed appears in late spring or early summer and thrives well in warm weather. Try pulling out this weed before it flowers. Make sure you dig out the roots as well. To prevent weeds in the future, cover your garden plot with a winter mulch. When early spring arrives, the whole garden must be tilled shallowly. In the process of tilling, you may bring up some pigweed seed so it’s best to mulch again. Cover the soil with five layers of wet newspaper and cover that with 3-6 inches of mulch.
A hard weed that reproduces by seeds, this narrow-leafed weed loves to invade meadows, pastures, and unsuspecting home lawns. This weed will appear in any season all year round. Fortunately, the weed can easily be removed by hand and easily destroyed by burning after being pulled out and has dried out.
A common annual weed that reproduces through seeds and from deep, horizontal roots. This flowering vine sprouts in the late spring and can be seen throughout the summer. Though the plant’s flowers are attractive, morning glory is still technically a weed and can become a big problem in warm weather, when they spread fast and ruthlessly. You need to dig out this weed with its roots before it flowers.
This weed is a fast growing annual that reproduces through seeds. This is a summer weed that can rapidly remove moisture from the soil, depriving your garden plants and flowering plants of precious water and moisture. Remove it as soon as it makes an appearance. You can also cultivate this weed out of your garden using a sharp hoe.
A creeping, persistent perennial grass that reproduces through seeds, and is the common long grass that you usually see in prairies and meadows, especially in movies. That should give you an idea of just how tall the weed grows. It’s long, jointed, straw-colored rhizomes form a heavy mat in the soil, from which new shoots can also appear. Dig out this weed as soon as you see it in your garden, making sure you dig out the roots as well.
There are two species of chickweed: Perennial and Annual. Mouse-ear chickweed is perennial, which forms a dense, prostrate patch in lawns and gardens. The annual is the more common chickweed that is more delicate in appearance, with leaves that are broad at the base and about half an inch long. Common chickweed is easier to control, but both types have shallow roots, so they can often be removed by hoeing or being pulled out by hand. New plants can grow from broken pieces of rootstock, however, so make sure you remove the entire plant including the roots when using any method of removal.
A healthy lawn can compete against mouse-ear chickweed if the grass is not mowed too short or too frequently. Watering the lawn deeply and infrequently will encourage the lawn grass to grow deeper roots, which also can help it fight against chickweed. Water once every seven to ten days, and apply enough water so that it soaks six to eight inches into the ground. If you choose to remove chickweed, do it before the weed has time to spread its seed, and thus, preventing future problems in your garden area.
Dandelions are known for their bright yellow flowers and puffy, spherical seed heads. This perennial weed is one of the most recognizable garden weeds that continuously terrorize home gardens. The jagged leaves of this perennial make this weed one of the most recognized weed in the world especially when its flower blooms. To pull up dandelions, grasp them firmly by their base and wiggle gently, as this will help to dislodge their deep taproot from the soil. You can also use a hand trowel to dig the weed out. Try to remove the whole dandelion root at once as any piece or root left in the ground may grow back.
An annual weed that reproduces through its tiny black seeds as well as stem fragments. This weed appears in late spring or early summer and likes warm weather and rich, fertile soil. Pull or cultivate out this weed completely with its roots as soon as you see it and destroy the plant. This weed can live unknowingly in your garden soil for years if not pulled out.
A flowering annual weed that reproduces through its seeds. It likes cool weather so it is the exact opposite of the many summer loving weeds out there. Its yellowish-brown seeds can last longer in the ground. Pull out this weed including its roots before it seeds and grows more.
This common annual weed bears clusters of creamy white flowers with narrow and feather-like foliage that releases an aroma when crushed or stepped on. It thrives in dry, arid, and sandy conditions and often indicates a lack of nutrients in the soil. You need to pull out the rhizomes including the roots by hand. It usually grows to a height of about 20 inches and spreads around 12 inches from its roots.
This common weed grows to a height of about 3 inches and spreads around 6 inches from its center. The most common perennial weed in lawns, daisies have white petals and a yellow center. They have green, spoon-shaped leaves that form clusters of rosettes in the grass. They are very resilient even to close mowing, so use a daisy grubber or use your hands to remove them, making sure to include the roots.
This weed is often a problem in recently seeded lawns or in bare patches of existing grass because it tends to absorb much of the soil’s nutrients. It has light purple flower heads and spiky, wavy, thistle-like leaves, which are unpleasant to sit or walk on. Dig them out using a daisy grubber, fork, or by hand, making sure to include the roots. This weed grows to a height of 4 feet and spreads long up to 18 inches.
This persistent and spreading perennial weed grows to a height of about 10 inches and spreads around 16 inches. It bears clusters of violet-blue flowers that are held high above the round, glossy, and scalloped leaves. The aromatic foliage has pronounced veins and surrounds the stems. If necessary, apply an appropriate weed killer if too many weeds have grown to be pulled out by hand or fork.
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris)
A member of the mint family, this perennial weed can rapidly spread and colonize a lawn using its fast underground runner roots. It has attractive, purplish-blue hooded flowers, and the leaves are borne in pairs along its square stems. Apply an appropriate weed killer if too many weeds have grown to be pulled out. This weed grows up to 8 inches and spreads to around 12 inches.
Unfortunately, this beautiful flowering weed is, well, a weed, and don’t be fooled by this pretty weed serial killer that will silently kill off your garden plants and flowers by quickly absorbing its nutrients. This weed prefers damp soils and is a good indicator that drainage may be required. It rapidly spreads using its creeping root system and has small, bright yellow flowers borne on erect stems with three-lobed, toothed foliage. Dig out any established plants including its roots. It will grow to a height of about 24 inches and spreads to around 18 inches from its center.
This is a common broadleaf perennial weed that grows to a height of around 20 inches. This particular pesky weed loves a sunny or shady landscape, your garden lawn, or any general garden areas. They have light green leaves that look like clover and cup-shape yellow flowers in the summer and fall. To control or exterminate, mulch garden areas in the spring to prevent them from growing. Weeds that are able to grow can be pulled out by hand or sprayed with a post-emergence herbicide in the spring or fall.
Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
This common perennial weed loves dry, acidic soil conditions, the perfect weed that comes out in the more arid states of the U.S. This common weed has unusual arrow-shaped leaves and produces small, green flowers that turn to pinkish-red seed heads. Be sure to dig out the entire taproot to prevent the plant from regenerating. It grows to a height of around 10 inches and spreads to around 16 inches.