Determing which plants are weeds and which are not can be tricky at best. In order to eliminate weeds, they must first be identified. Then you can determine the best way to proceed with eliminating them from your property.
What are weeds?
First, you must know something about weeds. They can be catergorized by structure, size, shape, and appearance. There are three different kinds of weeds.
Weeds can be classified as grassy weeds, broadleaf weeds, and wood and vining weeds. Weeds may also be annuals or perennials. In order to prevent weeds from growing, you need to know something about the weeds.
A grassy weed is any plant that is not wanted in the lawn. Grassy weeds are hard to identify because they look so similar to the grass in which they grow. Herbicides are the most common way of controlling most grassy weeds.
Broadleaf weeds are on of the easiest weeds to identify. They are physically different from grassy weeds. Their physiological differences allow them to be treated without killing the surrounding plants. Application to each leaf on this weed helps control the spreading and helps kill the weed. These weeds, if not controlled will take over and become a nuisance.
Wood and vining weeds display a vine-like growth. They are usually invasive. They may grow up and on other plants. They sometimes kill other plants. They are considered aggressive but can be very attractive. Some people even use them as ornamental plants.
One of the most common weeds that grows as a vine is ivy, brambles & tree ivy. Wood and vining weeds are usually controlled by cutting them repeatedly. Herbicides can also be used on them.
Be careful when dealing with vining weeds since some of them contain a poison in them that can cause a skin irritation and be painful. Some even require medication and a doctor's visit in order to eliminate. It is also a good idea to use gloves when dealing with some of these weeds.
How to eliminate weeds
To eliminate weeds, professionals agree on several methods. One way to keep weeds away is to practice prevention. In other words, don't let them start. Another strategy that has already been addressed is identify weeds before planning an attack. Each type of week requires unique weed killers or methods of application.
Using the correct amount in application is also important. For perennial weeds, the best method is eliminating them one by one. It can take longer but in the end it will pay off. Some weeds need a pre-emergence controller to prevent germination.
Sometimes using mulch can be your best way to slow down grassy weeds. No sun, very little growth.
People who love a beautiful lawn, labor tirelessly to prevent weeds. Sometimes working with weeds is the best way to learn about them. Each individual working with weeds can find the combination of diligence and herbicides to keep his or her yard looking it's best.
Preventive strategies may eliminate the return of some pesky weeds but there are always new weeds to deal with. Learn your weeds and learn what works best for you and your yard.
Common UK Garden Weeds
White Clover - Trifolium repens
The leaves are a characteristic shape, divided into three leaflets, occasionally found as four which deemed to be lucky!
The flowers are often found above the leaves, generally white in appearance and found throughout the summer. This plant prefers good quality soils and is found less in dry or shady conditions.
Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale
The single yellow flower grows from the centre of the rosette and is a vibrant yellow which can be seen from March to November. The seeds are wind borne and are readily found germinating especially along the edges of paths.
Creeping Buttercup - Ranunculus repens
The bright yellow flowers have 6 to 9 petals each and can be seed from mid spring to late summer.
Birds-Foot Trefoil - Lotus corniculatus
Like clover, the leaf has 3 leaflets on a short stalk with two more leaflets at the base of the stalk which can grow knee high if left alone.
The flowers are bright yellow and pretty and resemble those of the Honeysuckle. They can be seen from late April until late September. Birds-Foot Trefoil can tolerate a wide variety of soil types but prefers non acidic, dry soils.
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium
It spreads by creeping stems which root at intervals. It is generally seen later in the year and the deep root system also gives it the benefit of being able to survive dry conditions. The leaves are fern like in appearance macking it very easy to identify.
Scarlet Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis
The leaves are very similar to Common Chickweed but can be identified by its square stems and red flower. The distinct flowers of Scarlet Pimpernel can be seen from June - September. Each flower has five petals and are an orange - red colour.
Selfheal - Prunella vulgaris
It can quite happily grow in closely mown areas of turf although if left alone, it will grow to a height of 30cm and produce an attractive plant.
This plant can thrive in most conditions, the leaves appear in pars and in closely mown areas, they may have a purple ting. Selfheal flowers from June to October, producing a bright purple flower.
Mouse-ear Chickweed - Cerastium vulgatum
The flowers are very small and upright and white in colour appearing from late spring up to autumn.
Common Chickweed - Stellaria media
The plant has pairs of leaves which are fleshy with a consistency of lettuce. The flowers are small and white with 5 petals although it looks like 10 with the deep lobes. It flowers from February to November.
Creeping Cinquefoil - Potentilla reptans
The leaves are distinctive with five different segments with toothed edges. The flowers are yellow, again with five large fleshy petals which are visible from June to October.
Slender Speedwell - Veronica filiformis
Control can be achieved with current chemicals but this needs correct timing and adjuvants.
Slender Speedwell is more of a problem in closely mown turf than Germander Speedwell.
Germander Speedwell - Veronica chamaedrys
Germander Speedwell can survive in all soil types but it is most common in damper conditions.
Lesser Celandine - Ranunculus ficaria
This is difficult to control in a permanent sense as it needs to be hit early each year to weaken it. More commonly found in darker shady areas.
The leaves are fleshy and dark green, very easily recognised.
Ribwort Plantain - Plantago lanceolata
This plant is very drought tolerant and it can cause unsightly patches, easy however to remove using the correct selective herbicides.
Red Clover - Trifolium pratense
Being larger than white clover, it is more noticeable in lawns as it tends to grow more upright, hence it is more noticeable.
The flowers and leaves are larger than those of white clover. Red Clover flowers from May to October.
Common Ragwort - Senecio jacobaea
It is a biennial weed meaning that it produces lots of leaf in year one with the aim to produce a significant number of flowers in year two.
It is not difficult to control in lawns.
Not ever strategy will work for every weed. Businesses that sell plants and products will be a great resource for you and your problems with weeds.
While each person chooses different paths to eliminate weeds from their lawn, it is important to know what you are dealing with in order to save time and money. It can be very frustrating to work and work and still find weeds in your beautiful lawn. No the facts. Do your research and be knowledgeable so that you can take care of weeds and enjoy your beautiful outdoor space.
There are also many websites and books that are available for your use. One key to fighting weeds is the knowledge of knowing what and how to deal with them. Take time and know what you are dealing with and how to deal with it.