Dandelion, pigweed, buckhorn plantain, quack grass and chickweed, if you think these are names of different dipping sauces at a fashionable restaurant you’re sadly mistaken. They are just some of the over 8,000 types of weeds currently in existence. Unfortunately, they are a pretty common sight in gardens and across lawns everywhere. While some people consider them a nuisance others find them attractive and extremely useful. At Workman’s Friend we’ve found the trick is the more you know about weeds the better decision you’ll be able to make as to whether you want to keep or pull them out. If you do decide to get rid of them, try to do so on June 13, National Weed Your Garden Day. But before you do that make sure you apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. It will help the whole weeding process go easier.
What are weeds?
Most experienced gardeners will tell you a weed is a plant in the wrong place. They are known for their undesirable qualities rather than their good ones. They are very competitive with your plants fighting for water, sunlight, nutrients and space. So much so they often suffocate your existing plants and kill them. Weeds grow quickly and will take over the areas in which they grow. Generally, weeds develop in conditions where light, water and good soil is available. But sometimes they can grow anywhere the ground has been disrupted (i.e. between cracked cement).
Types of Weeds
Generally there are three different categories of weeds that are categorized based on the way they grow.
Annual weeds have a lifespan of one year and usually grow either in the winter or spring. They germinate and spread by seed. Summer annuals including lambsquarters germinate in the spring and flourish in the summer but they’re gone by the winter. By comparison, winter annuals such as chickweed germinate later on in the summer or early fall, are dormant in the winter, and return in the spring.
Those with a two-year life cycle are called biennial weeds. Examples include bull thistle and garlic mustard which germinate and form small flowers also known as rosettes their first year and then produce flowers and germinate their second.
Perennial types are truly the weed that keeps on growing. They return every year and usually grow extremely long roots and produce a massive amount of seeds. Examples include dandelions and plantains. This type of weed is usually the most problematic to control.
There are as many weed control methods as there are weeds. How you choose to control them completely depends on personal preference and the type of weed you’re dealing with.
Cultural weed control involves close planting in the garden. The idea is the closer together your plants are the less space is available for weeds to grow. An alternative is to add mulch to your garden. This will prevent light from hitting the weed’s seeds and enabling growth.
Mechanical weed control is done by pulling, hoeing, digging or mowing the weeds away. This is an effective way to deal with weeds but it is often very time consuming.
Chemical weed control is just what it sounds you add an herbicide to eliminate the unwanted plant. It is usually used as a last resort to control plants such as ivy, kudzu, and dodder. These types of weeds are so aggressive they risk taking over your entire garden.
Don’t forget, before you do any kind of weed control to apply a thin layer of Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream. It will protect your hands from the herbicides or the irritating oils weeds often produce.