Common Garden Weeds

Many of us have lost many battles with common weeds. Maybe we did not know our enemy enough. Here’s a quick list of 10 of the most common weeds, along with some information on their growth and spread . Knowing a little more about the weeds can help you choose your battles.

1. Dandelion

These common weeds with yellow flowers hardly need an introduction–everybody knows them, and everybody has an opinion. Some people cherish childhood memories of wishing upon dandelion flowers blown in the summer wind, others anticipate the yellow blankets that cover the spring meadows and still others dread the work required to remove these ubiquitous weeds from their lawns.

Dandelions are perennial weeds that spread via seed in the spring and fall. The tap roots are so deep that they must be completely dug up to eliminate the plant. Before you throw away the plants that have been pulled, remember that the entire plant is edible and packed with vitamins and minerals.

2. Purslane

You probably have many annual purslane plants in your garden. It is a low-growing succulent that quickly spreads around any empty space. Purslane spreads by seeds that shoot far away from the mother plant. It can also be propagated from stems and leaves.

The weed should be pulled as soon as possible and the plants disposed of. (Remember that weeds with mature seeds still have the ability to spread seeds as they will continue to fall off the uprooted plant).

3. Chickweed

It is usually the first weed that you will find in your garden. It thrives in cold weather, and can get a foothold before other plants and weeds. Chickweed is spread by thousands of seeds, which can remain in the soil for up to 8 years. This makes this annual a persistent problem for many gardeners .

4. Plantain

The common plantain can be a persistent broadleaf weed. It is difficult to eliminate from your lawn or garden. If left unattended, it will crowd out more desirable plants. Plantains are spread by seeds that are dispersed through their flowers, which are narrow stalks with tiny flowers.

When plantains first appear in spring, dig them out along with their tap roots. Be cautious when you mow your lawn with plantains as the seeds can contaminate your mower and spread weeds all over your grass.

Narrowleaf plantain

The narrowleaf is a perennial weed, like its cousin the common plantain. It spreads rapidly through seed . The common plantain and the narrowleaf are not related to the fruit that is popular in Central American and South American cuisine. The narrowleaf plants leaves are used in folk medicine for many years to treat everything from dysentery, earaches and insect stings.

5. Lambsquarters

The annual weed lambsquarters can be found in gardens all over the world. In one season, several generations of plants can invade your garden. Each plant produces thousands seeds. Although lambsquarters can compete with other plants for nutrients, they are an attractive plant with silver-dusted, purple leaves.

Lambsquarters are edible plants that are grown in India, and around the world. The leaves of lambsquarters can be eaten raw or cooked in stir-fries and sautés. They make a delicious alternative to the cool-weather greens during the summer heat.

6. Crabgrass

Crabgrass, perhaps even dandelions before them, is the most hated garden weed among homeowners. Although crabgrass is an annually occurring plant, it can produce up to 200 000 seeds that can survive in the soil for several years before germinating.

Since crabgrass is grass, both non-chemical and chemical (salt or vinegar) weedkillers will damage the grass in the area around the targeted weed. Crabgrass can be removed by digging it up completely.

7. Nutsedge

Nutsedge is another difficult weed to eradicate from your garden or lawn. It’s a tall, fast-growing grass that can quickly take over. Nutsedge, a perennial sedge, spreads by seeds and roots called rhizomes. Nutsedge can be spread by rhizomes, which grow horizontally beneath the surface of soil. They can produce multiple nutsedge plants down the length of the plant. This can form large colonies that can last years. Digging up the roots is the best way to eliminate this common weed.

8. Creeping Charlie

This perennial weed, also called ground ivy or creeping Charlie is closely related to mint, and shares many of its invasive characteristics. This common lawn weed can spread in shaded and partially shaded areas through roots (or nutsedge rhizomes) and nodes (like crabgrass). A tiny node in lawn clippings can cause a creeping Charlie invasion that can last for years.

9. Yellow Wood Sorrel

Yellow wood sorrel is as prolific as creeping Charlie and will quickly take over any bare space in your garden beds. The sorrel spreads by seeds, hundreds of thousands per plant. These seeds stick to tools, clothes, pets, and mower blades. They also have extensive roots that produce new plants.

If you cannot beat this weed then you may want to eat. Yellow wood sorrel is edible in all parts. Leaves and flowers are a tasty and beautiful addition to salads.

10. Common Ragweed

The common ragweed, a nondescript annual plant that grows in yards, in brush and in empty patches of gardens is an unassuming annual weed. This weed may look like many others that grow along roadsides and in fields but the pollen it produces is what causes most cases of allergies. It’s important to know how to identify this weed so you can pull it out before it blooms and releases seeds.

Mulching is the best method to prevent weeds from returning. Weeds need sunlight to germinate.

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