Weed Identification Guide to Help Maintain a Gorgeous Garden

What is a weed?By definition, weeds are plants found in the wrong place as they take up vulnerable space, sunlight, water, and nutrients that may otherwise by used by important crops. However, what may be a weed to one person may not be to another. Of course, any type of weed regardless of what is it is a blight for all gardeners, but they don’t have to rob your garden of its beauty if you know what to look for and tackle them straight away. We’ve put together a handy list of weeds to watch out for.

1. Dandelion

VIEW IN GALLERYDandelion Flowers in Meadow, very shallow DOF. Captured with 1969 Pentacon Lens 135/2,8

The species of Taraxacum are tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plants, which are native to temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere and will grow anywhere if given the chance.

Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale

Size: 12 inches tall, 6 – 16 inches wide.

Where it grows: Lawns and gardens in sun or shade.

Appearance: This common lawn weed has a strong taproot; leaves are deeply notched. Yellow flowers mature to puffballs.

Lawn Weed Control Tip: Mulch to prevent it in gardens; pull plants by hand or use a post-emergence herbicide in lawns.

For more information, check out Botanical.

2. Plantain

VIEW IN GALLERYPlantain

These weeds can become an unsightly weed that thrive in neglected and compacted soil with each plant producing 15,000 seeds.

Scientific name: Plantago major

Size: To 8 inches tall and 12 inches wide.

Where it grows: Moist lawn and garden areas in sun or shade.

Appearance: Broad, flat leaves around a low rosette.

Control: Mulch to prevent it in gardens; pull plants by hand or use a post-emergence herbicide in lawns.

For more information, check out Gardening Know How.

3. Dock Leaf

VIEW IN GALLERYDock

This handy weed is often used to tackle stinging nettle stings and has the ability to produce up to 40,000 seeds that can wait decades before sprouting.

Scientific name: Rumex obtusifolius

Size: To 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Where it grows: Landscape and garden areas in sun or shade.

Appearance: Produces large, wavy-edge leaves and large seed heads covered with brown seeds.

Control: Mulch to prevent it; pull and dig up plants or treat with a post-emergence herbicide.

For more information, check out Garden Organic.

4. Nettle

VIEW IN GALLERYNettle

This well-known weed can be found growing throughout Europe and North America and is known for its stinging hairs which occur when toxins from the hairs have made contact with the skin.

Scientific name: Urtica dioica

Size: To 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide.

Where it grows: Garden areas with rich, moist soil.

Appearance: Sawtooth-edge leaves and yellowish flower clusters are covered with stinging hairs.

Control: Mulch to prevent it; dig out plants or treat with a post-emergence herbicide.

For more information, check out Kew.

5. Chickweed

VIEW IN GALLERYChickweed

As its common name suggests, Chickweed was used as feed for chickens and cage-birds and is still popular today.

Scientific name: Stellaria media

Size: 6 inches tall, 12 inches wide.

Where it grows: Lawn, garden, and landscape areas with rich, moist soil in sun or shade.

Appearance: Lush green mats studded with small, star-shape flowers.

Control: Mulch to prevent it in gardens or use a pre-emergence herbicide in early spring; pull plants by hand.

For more information, check out Gardener’s World.

6. Knotweed

VIEW IN GALLERYKnotweed

This is a thug in the weed world as it spread rapidly suppressing all other plant growth.

Scientific name: Fallopia japonica

Size: To 8 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

Where it grows: Sunny or partly shaded lawn, landscape, or garden areas.

Appearance: Groundcover with blue-green leaves sparsely appearing on long stems.

Control: Prevent it with a deep layer of mulch or apply a pre-emergence herbicide in spring. Once the plant grows, hand-pull or spot-treat it with an herbicide.

For more information, check our RHS.

7. Purslane

VIEW IN GALLERYPurslane

The purslane plant can be a difficult weed to control due to its multiple survival methods; however, it can be thwarted if you are familiar with it.

Scientific name: Portulaca oleracea

Size: To 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide.

Where it grows: Dry, sunny landscape and garden areas.

Appearance: Groundcover with fleshy, dark green leaves and small yellow flowers at the ends of the stems.

Control: Mulch to prevent it or use a pre-emergence herbicide in the spring; pull plants by hand or spot-treat with a nonselective post-emergence herbicide.

For more information, check out Edible Wild Food.

8. Creeping Charlie

VIEW IN GALLERYCreeping Charlie

This creeping ground ivy can put up a real fight as once established it can become quite difficult to remove.

Scientific name: Glechoma hederacea

Size: 4 inches tall, several feet wide.

Where it grows: Shady lawn, landscape, or garden areas.

Appearance: Groundcover with scalloped leaves and clusters of purple flowers in late spring.

Control: Mulch garden areas in spring to prevent it; pull plants by hand or spray with a post-emergence herbicide in spring or autumn.

For more information, check out Mike’s Backyard Nursery.

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