“Weeds weeds go away, come again another day……or perhaps never.” If you enjoy gardening, you probably already know how much pain weeds can be. Although they may appear benign, these bothersome plants are actually very cancerous.
As summer months approach and we are ready to take those strappy dresses and sandals to beat the heat, so do the weeds pop up their head. So, keeping yourself armed with the essential knowledge of getting rid of weeds becomes part of routine gardening sessions. What if you are unsure whether a plant is merely a plant or a weed? After all, weeds do not naturally sprout with name tags attached.
However, don’t worry; we have got your back. We shall address some important weed(y) questions in this post.
What common (perennial and annual) weeds are there in Minnesota?
What measures can you take to keep weeds from growing in your garden?
So without further ado, let’s begin our exploration of Minnesota’s weeds.
Annual Weeds in Minnesota
Those weeds that have a single growing season are considered annual weeds. In other words, these weeds complete their entire life cycle in one growing season or year.
|Appearance||With compound long leaves and white flower heads, it has a grass-like look|
|Common Location||Undernourished lawns|
The crabgrass is one of the weeds most frequently encountered in Minnesota. It is so common in this region that calling it the king of weeds would be pretty right. A whopping 150000 seeds can be produced by this summer’s annual weed (per plant). Sounds frightening, huh? It is, in fact. It can become impossible to eliminate if you don’t identify this weed when young. Crabgrass seeds have a long latent period before emerging from the ground. Therefore, don’t be fooled by this weed’s apparent elimination.
One of the easiest ways to recognize crabgrass is to look carefully. Crabgrass often has wider leaf blades than other types of grass. They grow in clusters and have white flower heads as well. Regular land mowing and a potent pre-emergence herbicide to inhibit the established seeds from sprouting and producing new seeds are the best ways to stop crabgrass from spreading.
2. Common Purslane
|Appearance||Small flat, oval-shaped, fleshy leaves with bright yellow flowers|
|Common Location||Agricultural areas, vegetable gardens, undernourished lawns, etc|
In Minnesota, common purslane is an annual broadleaf weed that blooms in the spring and summer and reproduces mostly via seeds. Common purslane is a weed that may take over your lawn despite being healthy and high in Omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to calcium, iron, and other minerals, this plant is also a good source of vitamins A and C. In addition, the plant is rather nutrient-dense and is regarded as a traditional food in many parts of the world.
So, there is always a dilemma about whether to weed this plant or reap it. Well, it depends. If you are a regular consumer of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and other vitamins and minerals, consider growing common purslane in a separate high-raised garden bed. But if you just perceive it as a weed, remove it.
The wonderful thing about common purslane is that making a thick mat on the garden soil is not considered very competitive. However, the prevalence of this weed could be problematic for crops grown in rotation.
3. Prostrate Knotweed
|Appearance||Paper thin leaves with a grass-like appearance|
|Common Location||Base fields, wasteland, and lawns|
Prostate knotweed is one of the invasive weeds that are most prevalent in Minnesota. Numerous other names for this species include knotgrass, yard knotweed, wiregrass, and doorweed. This weed will cover the soil surface if you don’t get rid of it when it’s still young. The worst part is that prostate knotweed can also prevent native species from colonizing the area. Additionally, this weed attracts fungus and nematodes like a magnet, which could harm the garden’s healthy plants. This annual weed, which reproduces through seeds, first appears in the summer. Applying selective post-emergent broadleaf herbicides in early April and May is one of the greatest approaches to getting rid of prostate knotweed. However, you might have to apply pesticides again to remove mature plants.
4. Yellow Foxtail
|Appearance||Flower shoots on the blades of grass. Hair at the base of the leaf blades.|
|Common Location||Lawns, Agricultural fields, and disturbed areas|
Yellow foxtail is an annual weed that can reach a height of four feet and is a member of the Poaceae family. This weed can generate a staggering amount of seeds that encourage rapid reproduction, making it hazardous if not removed quickly. If one examines attentively, one can see that the foxtail’s seeds are positioned on the spike in an organized manner. The name of this plant comes from the yellow arms on the seeds. The above image can be referred to as a visual illustration.
The yellow foxtail should not be confused with other foxtails. We say this because it has a reputation for being tougher and more tolerant. In addition, yellow foxtail is easily resistant to several post-emergence herbicides and mowing.
5. Common Chickweed
|Appearance||Low-spreading weed with elliptical-shaped leaves and star-shaped white blossoms|
|Common Location||Occasionally in lawns but commonly in waste and open lands, and meadows|
Common chickweed can be an annual as well as perennial weed. It is perennial in warmer climates and annual in colder ones. Common chickweed is one of the most widespread weeds in Minnesota, and it has both culinary and medicinal uses. This viewpoint allows us to view the plant as useful rather than a horrible weed. However, you can prevent the spread of common chickweed on your lawn if you mulch and use a potent pre-emergence herbicide in the early spring. That being said, the good thing about this weed is that if it is annual, there is less chance of it returning once it has been totally eradicated. The downside is that chickweed can produce up to 800 seeds and take up to 8 years to vanish completely. Therefore, the earlier you begin to get rid of this chickweeds, the better the outcome will be.
Perennial Weeds in Minnesota
Perennial weeds transcend one growing season and primarily have a lifespan of more than two years.
1. White Clover
|Appearance||Three oval-shaped leaflets and white and pink blossoms|
|Common Location||Lawns, bare lands, etc|
Clover’s amusing feature is that it can occasionally be very difficult to determine if it is a plant or a weed. The word “clover” conjures up two ideas in our minds whenever we hear it: good fortune and St. Patrick’s Day. Even though we cannot say for sure whether clover is actually lucky for humans, it is unquestionably a valuable plant in the garden. The plant clover does a great job of fixing nitrogen. It can therefore flourish in nutrient-poor soil and supplement it with nitrogen. On the other side, it is a weed that spreads quickly.
Don’t be fooled by clover’s ability to fix nitrogen; if left unchecked, it can quickly expand and completely supplant the grass. Clover thrives in the summer because of the warm weather. Furthermore, because of its extensive root system, it can be quite difficult to eradicate. So it’s important to start early to prevent clover from taking over your lawn. Having said that, maintaining a lawn with dense vegetation is one of the easiest ways to avoid clover. Avoid cutting your lawn too short as well. Keep in mind that clover spreads quickly in any place that is bare, devoid of flora or grass cover.
|Appearance||Long hollow stems, yellow flower heads with rays of flowers, and puffy white seed heads|
|Common Location||Almost anywhere from fields, lawns, forests, and roadsides to even wastelands|
We frequently find it challenging to categorize dandelion as a weed. Don’t dandelion blooms appear to be too lovely? Imagine a wide area covered in dandelions that are swaying in the gentle breeze. Incredible, isn’t it? But in actuality, it is one of Minnesota’s most pervasive invasive weeds. In other words, it becomes quite challenging to get rid of dandelions once they have set seed. Dandelions are challenging to contain because their seeds are airborne and their taproots can reach deep into the soil.
Herbicide use is the most effective technique to manage dandelions. However, dandelions are generally resistant to herbicides. But you can lessen their proliferation by using a specialized “weed shield” herbicide. But it is advised to take the help of professional weed killers if you have a major dandelion invasion in your garden.
|Appearance||Almost hairless leaves and sheaths. 1-3 feet high erect stems, pointed leaves, and flower spikes|
|Common Location||Roadside, ditches, gardens, crop fields, prairies, etc|
Quackgrass belongs to the Poaceae grass family, just like yellow foxtail. In Minnesota, quackgrass is a weed that grows quickly and can potentially decrease pasture and agricultural output. Because quackgrass is known to be allelopathic—that is, it emits chemicals that prevent the growth of nearby plants—we are saying this. And it is because of this trait that they are better able to quickly establish huge, pure patches by dominating the local vegetation. A patch of quackgrass can be identified by its ash, blue and greenish hue. The easiest approach to stop quackgrass from spreading is to maintain a strong, dense lawn by keeping nitrogen levels appropriate. The spread of the weed on the lawn might also be discouraged by the administration of pre-emergence herbicide.
4. Canada Thistle
|Appearance||Spikey stems that can grow up to 4 feet and large purple blooms|
|Common Location||Lawns and meadows|
The word “thistle” brings to mind several unpleasant adjectives, such as prickly, spikey, and spiny. However, with the exception of its stunning purple blossoms, we can link these terms with the Canada thistle. The flowers are really stunning!
There is nothing good about Canada thistle other than the flowers. In fact, a lawn that this weed has overrun looks so unpleasant that you won’t even want to walk on it in bare feet. Also, please be aware that the plant’s split leaves could be painful. Contacting a specialist is the best action to get rid of this weed. However, if the invasion is still in its early stages, you can try eliminating canada thistle by using an effective weed controller in the spring and fall before it can flower and set seeds.
5. Creeping Charlie
|Appearance||Bright green foliage with kidney-shaped scalloped edges, low-creeping, and small funnel-shaped purple blooms|
|Common Location||Any highly moist and shaded spot, like under a tall tree, shrubs, etc|
Creeping charlie is called so because of its nature to creep on the ground, and it is an invasive weed in Minnesota. These are low-growing weeds that can quickly cover the topsoil in your garden if you don’t stop them from spreading. This weed, known as ground ivy, typically spreads via roots, stems, and leaves. Please remember that creeping charlie may endure practically any environment due to its exceptional hardiness. The worst aspect is that this weed is resilient enough to survive even near mowing. Therefore, take fast action if you see creeping charlie on your lawn to prevent it from turning into a killing machine for other plants nearby. To deal with a creeping Charlie infestation, it is usually advised to contact experts because conventional herbicides might not be effective.
How to Prevent Weeds from Emerging in the Garden?
Once you identify weeds, it’s time to work towards getting rid of them. In this section, we will discuss the ways you can prevent weeds from emerging in your garden. After all, prevention is always better than cure.
The secret to preventing weeds is timely, proper fertilizer. To get the best results, fertilize your grass in the spring or fall. And do not ever fertilize the soil excessively. Remember that Minnesota is renowned for having clay soil that prevents the proper permeation of water and fertilizer into the soil. So take extra care when watering and fertilizing your lawn if it also has thick clay soil.
- Proper Watering
Another technique to keep your lawn thick and healthy is to water it on schedule. This will lessen the opportunity for weeds to grow. You should maintain a regular irrigation system to allow your grass and other vegetation to grow and thrive, especially during the summer. There are fewer opportunities for weeds to spread when the vegetation cover is healthy.
- Grow Healthy Grass
Growing healthy, somewhat erect grass is always a good idea. In fact, letting your grass grow a little taller is a great method to keep weeds out in the summer. The roots will delve deeper into the soil as the grass becomes thicker and healthier, limiting weeds’ growing space.
- Mow High
To cut the grass too short is never a smart idea. A thicker lawn is made possible by taller grass, which leaves almost no room for weeds to grow. Additionally, cutting the grass too short raises the soil temperature, creating the ideal environment for weeds to grow.
Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
Unfortunately, if you spot weeds in your garden, it can create an initial alarm. But don’t worry; there are ways to get rid of these pesky plants.
- Manual Uprooting
This is the best and most hassle-free way to remove the initial spread of weeds. However, remember to make this process a success, you must identify weeds when they are still young and have not set seeds. Besides manual uprooting, you can also use a shovel to dig out the weeds.
- Application of Chemicals
It is advisable to use chemical herbicides once weeds have already established roots. Then, pre and post-emergence herbicides should be used depending on the type of infestation and the weed. However, before applying herbicides to your lawn, determine if a spot treatment or a blanket application is required. We say this because some weeds, like crabgrass, need to be treated throughout the entire lawn, but not all weeds. Therefore, before beginning the task, please educate yourself about weeds and the best treatment technique.
- Home Made Remedies
If the infestation is not that serious and you are not a big fan of chemicals, you can also opt for homemade remedies to treat weeds. For instance, you can apply a concoction of white vinegar, salt, and liquid dish soap to kill weeds. This concoction will dry out and kill the pesky plants. You might need to reapply homemade cures multiple times before seeing a decent outcome, though, as they are not as potent as chemical herbicides.
- Calling the Professionals
This is the last resort for dealing with a severe weed infestation. With common herbicides, getting rid of certain weeds might occasionally become too daunting. For instance, you might need professional weed killers if your lawn is overrun with dandelions or creeping charlie. However, these weeds are fairly hardy and largely withstand the herbicides sold nowadays.
However beautiful they may look (in some cases), weeds are malignant for any lawn. If you are not purposefully growing any of these pesky plants, you must immediately get rid of them on sight. Take action fast to stop weeds from spreading fast. This post was created keeping this idea in mind. The top 10 common weeds to be found in Minnesota are listed above. But this is not an exhaustive list, as there are several other weeds that you can encounter on your lawn. So, please keep a close check on them, read about them, and learn the best way to get rid of them.
Always remember- the earlier you take steps to treat weeds, the better result you will yield.