A Guide to The Most Common Types of Weeds & How to Handle ThemPublished: 01/05/2023 | Updated: 07/09/2023
Garden weeds, and to a lesser extent lawn weeds, are the most common enemies of any landscape. Most of us have been in a never-ending battle with them; yet, they still show up without an invitation.
And due to their general nuisances, tendencies to take up the space of other wanted plants and general determination, we all put them in the same category: harmful and should be eradicated.
However, it turns out that this is not the best approach to weeds. Not all weed is harmful.
To best take advantage of the good ones, you need to know what types of weeds you're dealing with, and subsequently, how to control them.
Here are the most common weeds and how to control each of them.
Poison sumac is an invasive weed that you should want to get rid of. As it says in the name, it's poisonous to the skin and causes a very irritating rash that could require medical treatment.
It's a shrub type of weed and likes to grow in moist soil and wet areas. It has a red stem and clusters of strangely shaped green berries alongside the green leaves. The berries are poisonous to humans.
How to Control Poison Sumac:
Recognizing it is the first step to successfully controlling it.
There are many post-emergent herbicide types to choose from. Spray the entire shrub with it but be careful about getting near other plants as it's non-selective and will kill whatever it touches.
Another method to try is to dig and pull. Just be careful to wear protective wear all around. You should combine multiple methods for maximum control.
Then monitor your yard every spring and summer for re-emergence and kill the young plants as they appear.
Poison ivy is a woody weed that can grow as a shrub or a vine. It's a little bit more tricky than others on the list because it can grow in both moist soil and dry conditions. Of course, it's also poisonous.
It's famously identifiable by its sets of three leaves. Its flowers are tiny and off-white. And as mature, it has green leaves. Its mature berries vary between yellowish to whitish.
How to Control Poison Ivy:
Poison ivy should be completely eradicated from your yard. Apply the same methods to poison ivy as you would poison sumac.
But take even more precautions with protective wear and clean it afterward as residuals could also poison you.
The "giant" in this summer weed's name isn't metaphorical; this is one of the few types of weeds that can grow as large as 15 ft.
Giant ragweed is an annual weed that's a species of flowering plant. It can cause allergies.
How to Control Giant Ragweed:
The hand-pulling method here works best. Pull weeds out with the root system before they seed and the weed spreads.
The plantain plant, a perennial weed, is one of the annoying and troublesome broadleaf weeds. If you happen to have heavy foot traffic in your lawn or mow often, plantain plant grows.
This happens because it's tolerant of compacted soil, which makes it a troublesome weed. It's an edible weed, so you don't have to worry about any poison or harm.
You can identify it by the large, oval-shaped green leaves and small green flowers.
How to Control Plantain Weed:
Pull plants by hand. It's a persistent perennial weed so you'll need to do that a few times (before it sheds its weed seeds) before you finally fully get rid of it.
Purslane is among the edible plants that are pretty good for you. It's very high in vitamin C and has five times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids as spinach.
It's an annual weed with dark green leaves. It also has tiny yellow flowers that distinguish it. And when left to grow, forms lush green mats.
How to Control Purslane:
As good as it is, you wouldn't want it to take over all your other garden plants. You can pull plants before they seed to limit the broadleaf weeds.
And you could also apply post-emergent herbicide if you want to eliminate it from your garden.
Crabgrass is an annual weed that targets thin, bare strips of your yard. It's a pretty common lawn weed that could easily become a problem.
Identifying crabgrass isn't hard because it looks like a crawling crab, with stems emitting out of the grass clump.
It's a summer weed that grows rapidly in hot, arid conditions. It dies with fall but not before producing weed seeds.
How to Control Crabgrass:
You could use weed killers repeatedly. You could also use hand pulling before they get a chance to produce weed seeds so you can get rid of them entirely.
This common weed spreads quickly and forms carpets of dense foliage. It also has a competitive advantage as it loves cold weather and takes over before any other garden plants get the chance.
It has small white flowers that might be attractive, but it remains a noxious weed as a single plant can produce thousands of seed pods that can last nearly a decade in the ground.
How to Control Chickweed:
Apply weed killer during early spring or late spring when it's growing.
This perennial weed might have the best reputation a garden weed might ever get.
Even those that hate the hard work that comes with controlling dandelions, can't help but be allured by its bright yellow flowers.
A single dandelion plant can produce over a thousand dandelion seeds. These seeds fly with the wind and invade new spaces.
Dandelions are generally not harmful to your lawn and are a good source of nectar for insects. However, it's understandable if you don't want this garden weed taking over. So here are a few tips on how to control and limit them.
How to Control Dandelions:
Mulch garden beds to make sure no dandelion grows there. Otherwise, hand-pulling the extras you don't want is also good.
And if you don't want any dandelion plant as a garden weed at all, get rid of them through pre-emergent herbicide for dandelions
Also known as morning glory, bindweed has a perennial root system. It's a climbing vine with strong twining stems that would quickly take over your landscape.
It's classified as a noxious weed. And is one of the most persistent invasive weed types among garden weeds.
It does have attractive bloom, with white or purple flowers. However, its invasiveness makes sure it's not one of the most desirable plants out there.
How to Control Bindweed:
To completely control it, you better apply multiple methods. You can pull weeds out and tillage the root system. All before it seeds.
And apply post-emergent herbicide, preferably in early spring, when the weed blooms.
White glover is one of the most common weeds out there, especially as a garden weed. The plant grows and spreads aggressively with its creeping stems.
It falls under perennial weeds and has distinct white flowers and dark green leaves.
How to Control White Glover:
You can pull plants of the common weed, and you could also use pre-emergent herbicide repeatedly to ensure it fully goes.
Also known as fleece flower, Japanese knotweed is a rapidly-spreading weed that will take over your entire landscape if you let it.
It has large green leaves and fleece-looking white flowers.
How to Control Japanese Knotweed:
The problem with this type of invasive weed is that it can dormant for long periods. It takes a reasonably long time to completely eradicate it and a multi-methods program.
A suitable post-emergent herbicide would be a good start. It would take you a couple of years of a constant appliance to completely get rid of it though.
Horsetail weed is an invasive, annual weed with fir-looking shoots. This spreading weed is not bothered by any condition, dry or otherwise.
How to control horsetail weed:
This is one of the most persistent garden weeds and lawn weeds out there. To get rid of it, you need to employ multiple methods.
Remove the shoots fully. Then mulch and mown. And lastly, use pre-emergent weed killer.
Creeping buttercups are common garden weeds with attractive yellow flowers.
However, it's one of the most cunningly destructive types of weeds as it can leave potassium deposits in the soil that would kill other plants.
How to Control Creeping Buttercup?
The best way to remove this common weed is through herbicide. Both pre-emergent and post-emergent can work.
Unsurprisingly, stinging nettle stings. Which doesn't make it desirable to have as a garden weed. It's a creeping perennial weed with thin green leaves and stinging hairs.
Despite stinging nettle stinging when you touch it, it's edible.
How to Control Stinging Nettle:
You can control this perennial plant by pulling. Pull plants after wearing protective gloves.
Ground ivy, also known as creeping charlie, is a type of perennial weed that prefers moist, shaded areas.
It has round or kidney-shaped light green leaves and purple flowers in late spring. It has creeping stems that root where they touch nodes.
While the purple flowers are attractive, this plant grows and spreads quickly and is one of the most common weeds that are poisonous to animals.
How to Control Ground Ivy:
One method is to pull plants repeatedly and consistently until the creeping stems are all removed. You could also use a post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds.
Nutsedge is a pretty aggressive and persistent perennial grass. They infest vegetable gardens, lawns, and flower gardens.
They'd be taller than your general lawn grass and have a yellowish color.
How to Control Nutsedge:
This common perennial weed thrives in moist and compacted soil, so make sure you eliminate those conditions. And otherwise, apply post-emergent herbicide repeatedly.
Yellowwood sorrel is an invasive annual and perennial weed. It has green heart-shaped leaves and small yellow flowers.
How to control Yellowweed Sorrel:
Pull plants out as soon as possible before they seed. They are also toxic to ingest by animals, so if you have any pets don't let them near until you've eradicated the plant.
You could also use either pre-emergent or post-emergent herbicides.
This article should help you know the most common types of weeds so that you can identify weeds when they show up in your garden, whether they are annual weeds or perennial plants.
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