Monthly Archives: May 2013

Common Garden Weeds and How to Stop Them

Weeds need no introduction. You see them everywhere, especially in places they should not be. Most don’t damage your garden in any unique or interesting ways. With the exception of creeping vines which strangle surrounding plants as they continue to grow, all that most weeds do is take up space. Their roots invade those of neighboring plants, not allowing them to grow as fully as they normally would. Weeds can also make surrounding plants less healthy, taking nutrients and water from the soil that their neighbors would normally consume. If eliminating weeds is a priority for you, read on. With the help of this small guide, you just might be able to get your garden back under your control, for a while anyway.

Crab Grass: One of the most common weeds, crab grass is found all across North America. Basically looking like a very thick, stalky blade of grass, the best way to kill them is to pull them up by the roots. Digging it out is more effective than trying to yank it by hand. Be sure to get as much of the plant as possible, because what little might remain could regenerate in time. You can also try pouring boiling water on the weed, as long as it’s not too close to any plants you actually enjoy.

Bermuda Grass: As far as grasses go, Bermuda is very resilient, requiring little maintenance and enduring the whole year round. Of course, if you’re dealing with it as an unwanted weed these pluses become decidedly less favorable. Once again, digging it up is the way to go, making sure the roots have been pulled out completely. Consider a rototiller or mulching as well. Using either (or both) can rob the Bermuda grass of much needed energy, causing it to die prematurely.

Dandelions: One of the more commonly spotted weeds, some people enjoy the look of dandelions enough to allow them to grow where they wish. If you’re of a different opinion, you’ll be discouraged to learn that the older a dandelion gets the harder it is to kill. With time, they form something called a taproot, which can grow to more than a foot. For this reason, they are harder to dig up than most weeds. Fortunately, a tool has been invented for that very purpose: a dandelion puller. Heavy mulch can also work.

Bindweed: Presenting as small white flowers on green, leafy vines, bindweed is one of the hardest weeds to kill. Its vines can snake around plants, essentially suffocating them. Its roots can extend as far as 30 feet down. Unfortunately, as with all of the weeds described here, pulling them up is the only way to kill this weed. Trying to do so by hand is futile. Use a gardening fork, and get as deep as you can. You probably won’t get the entire weed, but if you keep breaking it down it won’t have a chance to thrive. If you don’t feel like pulling up the weeds just yet, be sure to, at the very least, carefully remove all of those white flowers from the plant. Bindweed seeds can spread quickly and remain viable for as many as fifty years. Like all weeds, bindweed isn’t easy to kill, but doing so is certainly worth it if you want your garden to thrive.