Weeds are a problem that every gardener has to deal with from time to time. And they are aware that weeds may seriously ruin a lawn or garden if they are not controlled. Recognizing that your garden has a weed problem is the first step in finding a remedy.
However, you must remember that weeds might be found anywhere in this regard. Weeds can still appear anytime, even if you have the most gorgeous and well-kept garden. Therefore, the only method to get rid of it is to be well-equipped with the necessary knowledge about weeds.
Weeds are not any specific type of plant but any plant that spreads vigorously and can choke the neighboring vegetation. Weeds are always unwelcoming garden dwellers that can truly harm plants and wildlife.
Virginia has a wide variety of weed species. So, this page has been devoted to investigating the weeds found in gardens, lawns, roadsides, and other locations throughout Virginia. This post will also cover topics like recognizing weeds, getting rid of them, and other related stuff.
But first, are weeds bad?
Are Weeds Bad?
In short, YES! Weeds are bad if not controlled. These are primarily aggressive spreaders and can take over a garden within a very short span if overlooked. In some cases, you want to cultivate weeds, as some of them produce pretty and nice-hued flowers. So, if you are one of those, we recommend cultivating weeds in a separate container or a garden devoid of any other vegetation.
As we discuss whether weeds are good or bad, it is important to note that there are two types of weeds: noxious weeds and invasive weeds. If weeds have the potential to affect the environment, wildlife, agriculture, or the general people, the USDA classifies them as noxious weeds.
Invasive weed species, on the other hand, are non-native or alien weeds brought into a specific ecosystem and lack any natural competitors that could constrain their growth.
How To Identify Weeds?
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room- how to know the plant I am looking at is a weed?
There are multiple ways to identify what you are looking at as a weed. Let us tell you that one of the best ways to identify a plant is to look at its physical characteristics closely. So, here are the few points you can look for when trying to identify a plant or a weed.
- Leaf size and shape
- Branching patterns of the leaf veins
- The arrangement of leaves on the branch
- Leaf color
- Flower size, color, and shape
- Number of petals of the flowers
- Type- annual, biennial, perennial
- Growth type- erect, trailing, etc.
- Plant height
- Presence of thorns, hairs, etc.
Most Common Weeds Found in Virginia with Pictures
There are numerous types of weeds we can find in Virginia. However, due to the utter constraint of space and the need to oblige a specific number of words, we cannot list out the names of each and every weed to be found in Virginia. So, here are the top 12 weeds that are common to be seen in any Virginian lawn or yard.
|Flower Color||Mostly yellow, but can also be found in white and pink|
“Be like a dandelion; whenever they fall apart, they start again.”
This characteristic of dandelion, however, has a lot to teach us. But because of this trait, they are called garden weeds that spread quickly. You are aware that once dandelion plants establish themselves, it is challenging to eradicate them because “…Whenever they fall apart, they start again.”
This plant has the potential to invade and colonize any garden if it is not contained. Furthermore, dandelions produce wind-borne seeds, which means a strong wind can transport the seeds from the mother plant and disperse them around the yard.
You can get rid of dandelions by following some easy steps which involves, mulching, pulling them by hand, pulling them by weed puller etc.
|Flower Color||White, red, pink, and yellow|
A four-leaf clover is considered rare, and you have to be lucky enough to find them! But this may not be the case always.
If your garden is filled with many white clovers, there may be a potential weed invasion. The weed we’re discussing has three leaves instead of four, and clusters of white flowers mostly distinguish it. If you have a lawn with empty spots without vegetation or grass, clover plants can thrive and spread quickly.
This plant is typically seen in the summer and is difficult to remove because of the dense network of roots. But at the outset, you can use the hand pulling method, or a potent herbicide might be useful to remove them.
|Flower Color||No flowers|
Summer annual crabgrass is an invasive species that colonize easily. It is a kind of low-growing grass that spreads through nodal rhizomes and seeds. Remember that it is an adaptive weed and will readily grow where there is direct sunshine.
Utilizing a pre-emergence herbicide in the late winter or early spring to prevent the germination of crabgrass seeds could be wise. Mulching garden beds can also slow down the rate of crabgrass germination.
Despite being a weed, crabgrass is mostly planted for animal feed. Therefore, if you intend to cultivate crabgrass on your lawn, we advise against growing other plants there. Other plants can, however, be grown in separate planters.
You can get rid of crabgrass by applying post-emergence chemicals to kill crabgrass or by using baking soda etc.
4. Ground Ivy
|Flower Color||Purple/ violet|
Aka “creeping Charlie” or “gill over the ground,” Ground Ivy spreads by creeping along the soil surface. It is a very invasive weed that does well in both sunny and wet environments. Once established, Ground Ivy might be one of the weeds that are hardest to get rid of entirely.
The worst thing about this creeping plant is that it can survive even the closest mowing and will reappear if it is not systematically eradicated. It behaves like a death machine, extending its dominion and eradicating everything plants in its path.
The only method to get rid of creeping charlie or ground ivy is to repeatedly hand-weed it and use herbicides.
5. Common Chickweed
|Edible||Yes, flowers and leaves|
Although a commonly found garden weed across Virginia, it’s also edible and good in salads. It is an annual weed that thrives in rich, moist soil and shade, where it can grow densely and quite well.
However, if you don’t manage chickweed’s spread, it can create a green carpet as it grows close to the ground. Therefore, we encourage you to keep this weed’s spread under control to preserve other garden plants unless you intend to grow it for medicinal purposes.
Fortunately, you can stop the spread of this weed by thoroughly mulching garden beds and using pre-emergence herbicides.
6. Wild onion
|Flower Color||White, pink, red, yellow, and purple|
The distinctive feature of wild onions is their needle-shaped, waxy-surfaced leaves. Wild onions are typically seen in the colder months, while wild garlic may occasionally be seen as well. Both are regarded as weeds in Virginia and several other US states.
If you are not a professional, you can mistake one of these plants for the other because they look similar.
Wild onions, also known as Allium canadense, resemble spring onions very much, except that they are higher and more slender. Wild onions are perennial weeds that thrive in cool climates from underground bulbs.
The most effective way to control these weeds is to use weed killers.
|Flower Color||Pink/ purple|
Although Henbit, also known as Lamium amplexicaule, is a weed, you should be aware that it provides pollinators with food during the spring. Bumblebees and honey bees can find pollen and nectar in the Henbit that blooms in the early spring.
And sure, you can eat Henbit cooked, raw, or as a tea additive. Unfortunately, Henbit can take over your garden despite having many beneficial traits, and once it does, it can be very difficult to remove.
Each Henbit may produce a staggering 2,000 seeds, so it’s important to remember that if you don’t take early action, this weed might easily take root and ruin your life.
8. Hairy Bittercress
Hairy Bittercress is a winter herbaceous weed belonging to the Brassicaceae family member. It grows during the spring months across the USA and is a prolific spreader. Originally a native to European and Asian countries, Bittercress tastes peppery rather than bitter. If you want to recognize this weed, look for its club-shaped leaflets.
One of the best ways to stop Bittercress from spreading is to stop it from maturing and producing seeds. Garden beds benefit from appropriate mulching and hand weeding. In addition, early spring regular mowing eliminates blooms before seeds form, reducing the high pollination rate.
9. Wild Violet
Wild violet is a springtime weed with a strong root system, making it challenging to stop its expansion and eliminate it. With edible leaves and pretty-looking violet flowers, this weed apparently looks benign.
However, because of its remarkable resilience and adaptability, it is a robust plant that can ruin your garden. As spring arrives, wild violet can be found in shady and moist spots like under big trees in the backyard.
However, due to the ease with which the wind can carry its seeds, this weed can grow practically anywhere. So, if you want to eradicate its presence, repeated hand weeding and applying herbicides can be fruitful.
10. Broadleaf Plantain
|Edible||Yes, leaves can be eaten raw or cooked|
The perennial weed known as broadleaf plantain is a typical sight from spring to fall throughout Virginia. Although considered a weed, broadleaf plantains are edible and provide medical benefits for conditions like diarrhea and digestive system diseases.
In addition, there are several nutrients in broadleaf plantains. However, this weed is invasive and can potentially overrun your garden and other plants. Pulling them out is the most effective approach to remove this broadleaf plantain. Mulching and spraying post-emergence herbicides on lawns are further alternatives.
|Flower Color||White, yellow, pink/ purple, and multi-coloured|
Oxalis, a member of the Oxalidaceae family, is also called wood sorrel. Oxalis is edible, but because of its close association with nitrogen-fixing Bacillus endophytes, it has a strong tendency to spread quickly.
In addition, Oxalis is frequently offered in local nurseries as indoor plants. Therefore, if you really want to cultivate Oxalis, we advise against doing so on the garden bed and instead do it in separate planters.
And if this weed is already present in your garden, mulching it in the spring will help you get rid of it. Other methods to eradicate Oxalis include hand pulling and broadleaf herbicide spraying in the spring.
12. Poa Annua
Poa annua is an annual plant that resembles garden grass and can get as tall as 0.30 meters. Low-growing turf, it does well in temperate climates. Poa annua is a ubiquitous plant in the US that is native to Europe but is regrettably regarded as a nuisance in many gardens.
Nevertheless, several poa annua species are cultivated as ornamental plants, feed grasses, and pasture species. Unfortunately, poa annua is a difficult weed to get rid of, and after the plant has established its roots and produced seeds, herbicides may be necessary.
As a result, it is recommended to begin treatments before the seeds sprout.
Here is the list of the most commonly found weeds in Virginia:
• Ground Ivy
• Wild Violet
Weeds are easily recognized by their leaves and flowers. They will have different colors of leaves than grasses unless you have grass weeds. Also, weeds are low-growing plants that tend to create a green carpet across the garden.
One of the common problems that novice gardeners tend to face is failing to distinguish between healthy turf and grass weeds. So, here is a list of weeds that look like grass and need immediate elimination.
• Poa annu
Yes, it is possible to remove weeds non-chemically. Since pesticides and herbicides can be really harmful to the environment and humans, gardeners often resort to using non-chemical methods to uproot weeds. Here are some of the non-chemical ways to remove weeds in Virginia.
• Frequent Mowing
The weeds in the garden must be controlled since they grow quickly and can spread disease. Chances are good that they will eventually take over your garden and transmit diseases and pests if you do not stop their spread. In addition, some weeds have a strong tendency toward invasion and can be viewed as death machines. Consequently, allowing them to develop would imply forcing other plants toward extinction.
Also Read: Weeds in NJ: Identify the 12 Commons Weeds in New Jersey With Pictures
So this was our take on the most common weeds we can find across Virginia. Most weeds on our list are edible, and some are also medically useful. But if you don’t keep an eye on their expansion, all these weeds are invasive and can take over your garden.
To grow these weeds in separate planters, we always advise our readers. And begin taking action right away if you notice any of these weeds sprouting in your garden. These weeds can be taken care of by you before they produce seeds. However, if weeds have already taken over your yard, you might need to hire a professional lawn care service.