Weeds plague even the most experienced gardener. The seeds of these unwanted guests can be carried by the wind, introduced via a new load of soil or compost and spread by animals. They can even hitch a ride on your clothing. Weeds can be very sneaky.
Some common examples are:
- Colts Foot
- Golden RocketGoosegrass
- Ground Ivy
- Stinging Nettles
- Queen Anne's Lace
- Wild Strawberries
I won't even mention the hundreds of varieties of grass that seem to grow everywhere but in the lawn.
Ground Ivy or Creeping CharlieGlechoma hederacea
Creeping Charlie is the one weed that I loathe above all others. It is a member of the mint family. Normally I like mint and its family members. I like mint flavor ice cream and Andes Mints. Monarda is in the mint family & I really like it. Creeping Charlie is the member of the mint family that no one wants to sit next to at family functions. This is mint's evil cousin.
This weed is an aggressive perennial that is ideally suited to many landscapes. It prefers moist, well-fertilized, shaded areas. Guess where I have moist, well-fertilized shaded areas? Around the raised beds and in the shade gardens on the north side of the house. Not that it is limited to those spots.
It is all through my lawn and just loves to take over any area that I mulch. It spreads by sending out runners that root themselves and send out runners of their own. Similar to wild strawberries. It can quickly colonize and overtake large areas.
Apparently the deer do not eat it. Oooh somebody write that down. Alert the media. Call TV-13. We have found a plant that deer do not like to eat!
My number one complaint about it is that when the plants come up against an obstacle, they grow around it, hugging the profile. They do not grow vertically up the face of it. Hence the name Ground Ivy. This means that when it runs into your foundation, it turns left or right and continues to grow. Thats fine. But when it runs into a tree or large stem of any plant it grows around it. And around, and around, and around. It will strangle soft stemed plants. It wound its way around a young poplar tree and there are grooves in the bark now.
You may have already read that I do not use non-organic means of weed, insect or critter repellant. With the exception of the mothballs in the greenhouse. The smell keeps the neighborhood cats from sleeping in there. So we are at a stalemate. I have will pull out any plants that are in the garden beds or damaging another plant. But I leave the rest alone. It runs all through my lawn and around the treeline. If I spent the time necessary to remove it all, we would never have time for anything else.
Sometimes, as I am ripping it out, I feel bad for the Bumblebees who seem to love it so much. It is one of the first weeds to bloom in the Poconos. The Bumblebees are so happy, buzzing around in the patches of little lavendar flowers.
Common purslane is a mat-forming summer annual that thrives in all soil types. Common purslane has multi-branched red stems with fleshy almost succulent leaves cluster at the end of it's branches. It commonly grows on newly disturbed soil, mulched garden beds and around new seedlings. There are many different type of Purslane, they are their own family group.
It is fairly easy to remove. Just grasp the center of the mat and the whole thing comes out. I typically find this weed growing under the tomato plants each summer. It also sprouts up in the sunny, annual flower beds.
Some people use Purslane in salads. I have never taken a bite while weeding but if I ever do I'll let you know what I think of it.
Yellow RocketBarbarea vulgaris
Yellow Rocket is a member of the mustard family. Once again, I like mustard but not this rosette-forming winter annual that is usually associated with bare, disturbed soil like the topsoil mounds at new construction sites. It prefers nutrient-rich, medium-textured soils.
Yellow rocket leaves have a distinct lobe pattern that develops on mature leaves. The margins of the leaves are entire-to-wavy. Unlike many annual weeds, yellow rocket can tolerate routine mowing. Flowers are most often formed in the spring and look like yellow broccoli stalks.
Yellow Rocket reoccurs each year in my sunny, annual flower beds. Make sure that you remove it before it flowers. If you let it go, it will die back after flowering and you may think that it is gone. It is not.
Yellow Rocket frequently dies back after flowering but its seeds have already been developed. If you do remove it late, do it gently so as not to shake the seeds out.
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