Some time ago, when inspecting my garden, I noticed a strange-looking plant. At first, I was contemplating if I planted it, then I was sure it couldn’t have been me.
It was a weed.
But what kind of weed is this; I haven’t seen these types of weed before. It took me a while to figure out the weed; I even found out it was a common weed type that look like grass. So how was I just knowing about it?
Many gardeners are only conversant with the weeds they’ve encountered in their yards and would be confused when they see a new weed.
This is why I’ve decided to put together this guide, to show both intending gardeners and old-time gardeners some common weeds they’ll most likely see in their gardens at one time or the other.
I’ll not only show you common weeds, but I’ll also be adding simple tips to control these weeds.
Before we get started, what exactly is a weed?
What is a Weed?
A weed is any plant growing in an undesirable location.
It doesn’t matter the plant; as long as it is growing where it wasn’t planted, it is classified as a weed. This includes both edible plants and lawn grass. Plants that are aggressive and have invasive growth patterns outside their habitat are also classified as weeds.
Pros and Cons of Having Weeds in Your Yard
Does it sound strange? Weeds in your garden do have some advantages
- Tells you your soil condition: The type of weed you find in your garden can tell you your soil condition. Certain soil conditions boost specific weeds’ growth, so whenever you see those weeds growing, you know the exact problem and can combat them easily.
- Some are quite useful: Even though these weeds are growing in areas where they aren’t wanted, they can still be beneficial. Some can be nutritious vegetables you can use in your meals; others can be delicious meals for your livestock.
- They can serve as ground covers: Depending on the type of weed, they can be useful as groundcovers, covering the bare ground and reducing the loss of nutrients and water through evaporation. They can serve as natural mulch in your garden.
- Little or no maintenance needed: One of the reasons they are classified as weeds in the first instance is because they are aggressive growers that can survive on their own. This means you do not even need to allocate scarce human resources to them.
Here are some reasons why you won’t want to have weeds growing in your garden.
- Unhealthy competition with cultivated plants: Since weeds were not initially planted, they would be growing in spaces close to your cultivated plants. This can lead to competition for nutrients, water, sunlight, and even growing space. This competition can limit the growth of your cultivated plants. Even when you fertilizeyour garden, you’ll merely be fertilizing the weed to grow more.
- Carriers of diseases: Weeds are known carriers of diseases, and having them in your garden can spread these diseases all across your garden, leading to the death of your cultivated plants. Some pests are also attracted to the shades weeds create in your garden.
- Stressful gardening experience: Some weeds have sharp edges and thorns that can prick your skin when you’re going through your garden. They can also make harvesting your cultivated plants quite tricky as you may have to spend extra time separating the plant from the weed.
- It makes your garden untidy: Neat rows and flower beds are attractive, but when weeds start growing, they fill up the neat areas and make the garden cumbersome and messy.
Weighing the pros and cons will guide you to choose between eradicating the weeds from your garden or reducing their growth.
9 Types of Weed and How to Control Them
Knowing the common types of weed you’ll most likely find in your garden will help you understand what to do once you find it and not spend a whole lot of time like I did trying to figure out the weed.
Here are common grass weeds to look out for in your yard.
1. Creeping Charlie (Glechoma Hederacea)
This is an aromatic weed that releases its pleasant scent when it is cut. Its smell may seem harmless, but creeping Charlie is an aggressive weed that can easily overshadow your cultivated plant.
It does have a shallow root system, which makes it easy to pull off the ground.
Control tip: although creeping Charlie is a broadleaf weed, it is not affected by any broadleaf herbicide you may buy. This is because of their vining rhizomes underground. The best way to tackle creeping Charlie is by hand pulling, depending on the space covered by the weed.
2. Bindweed (Convolvulus Arvensis)
Bindweed is a hardy perennial weed with white flowers. Although they are sometimes called wild morning glory, they are different from the ornamental annual morning glory.
Bindweed is an invasive plant that is difficult to control once it has gotten a foothold in your garden. They have a deep and extensive root system with one plant capable of spreading several feet.
They can also survive a few years in the soil. Can you see why it is among the persistent weed types?
Control tip: tilling the ground encourages the growth of field bindweed, and even the use of herbicides is hardly effective. Early intervention is the best form of control. Stop the weed when it is still young. You can do this by mulching with polyester or black plastic, as bindweed can break through many mulching materials.
3. Canada Thistle (Cirsium Arvense)
Canada thistle is another creeping perennial with aggressive growth. It has sharp, thorny leaves and brownish rootstock that can quickly cover an area.
Canada thistle reproduces both sexually and asexually with new shoots capable of coming out from any part of its rootstock.
Control tip: because of its extensive root system and long-lasting seeds (seeds can last up to 4 years in the soil); controlling Canada thistle is no small task. Pull Canada thistle from the ground before they form deep roots. If deep roots have already been developed, stress the plant out by cultivating during the flowering stage, which is its weakest stage.
4. Crabgrass Weed
Crabgrass is a common annual warm-season weed that attacks undernourished gardens. Its best growing period is during late spring, once the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Although crabgrass is an annual weed, its seed can remain in the soil for years.
Control tip: overseeding open lawn patches with the help of a drop or broadcast spreader will prevent the growth of more crabgrass and choke out already grown crabgrass. You can also use chemical crabgrass treatment to kill crabgrass.
Although they may have colorful flowers, this weed is not met with glee when gardeners find them in their gardens.
They grow in thin, undernourished patches like the crabgrass. Dandelion seeds float in the air seeking open spaces to grow. They develop deep tap roots that allow them to survive harsh conditions like drought.
Control tip: overseeding open patches and leaving grass clippings on the lawn to serve as mulch will prevent the growth of dandelions. You can also use a biological agent called sarritor to kill dandelions. The use of broadleaf herbicide is also effective.
6. Velvetleaf Weed
Among the Types of Weed, Broadleaf weed can grow up to 7 feet tall. Its heart-shaped leaves are covered in tiny velvety hairs. They produce yellow flowers during the summer.
Velvetleaf likes to grow in sunny and fertile landscapes.
Control tip: mulching will prevent the growth of velvetleaf weed. To control the growth of already grown velvetleaf, pull them off the ground if they are not much or make use of herbicides in spring.
7. Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea)
Purslane likes to grow in dry sandy soil, hugging the ground as it grows. It has tiny fleshy green leaves.
Purslane is said to be one of the most nutritious plants around, so instead of harming it, you can harvest it and use it in stir-fries and salads. Purslane is a juicy succulent that is delicious in meals.
Control tip: digging purslane out of the ground or pulling out by hand is an effective method of tackling this weed.
8. Quackgrass (Elitrigia Repens)
Quackgrass is a perennial grass weed with long, jointed, brownish rhizomes covering the ground. It is persistent and can produce new shoots from any part of its rhizome.
Control tip: pulling up young quackgrass alongside its root is the best way to tackle this weed. Make sure to wet the ground, so it is easy to pull the weed out. Avoid adding quackgrass to your compost pile; dispose of it instead.
Moss is a green weed with a spongy feel and a weak root system. They usually grow in damp shady corners and can be quite persistent since they can produce their food.
Control tip: moss is a persistent weed, but it can be handled by raking the area. Since their root system is weak, you can easily pull them off the ground using a rake. Here is a more comprehensive guide to handling moss in your garden.
Weeds can be disturbing in your garden, but sometimes removing the weeds may not be the best option. Weighing the pros and cons in this guide will tell you which option to take.
If you decide to eradicate certain types of weed or control its spread, there are several ways listed in this guide that can help you.