Weeds In The Garden: Identifying Basic Weeds

Water Droplets On Weeds In The Garden
(Image credit: ErikAgar)

Many gardeners are plagued by weeds. They seem to pop up in the most inconvenient places like cracks in the sidewalk or against the foundation. Garden bed weeds are also frequent annoyances. Identification and control methods are crucial to containing common weeds. 

A common definition of a weed is a plant growing where you don't want it. This oversimplified designation should go further to explain that many garden weeds are actually noxious and invasive. There are many basic weeds familiar to your landscape, many of which are complete nuisances. These common weeds need to be recognized and have their control recognized. Some tips on how to identify and eradicate weeds in the garden will keep your beds free of these pests.

What are Basic Weeds?

If you don't know if something is a weed, it may just depend upon whether you want the plant. Many plants, such as columbine, will volunteer in your garden. If you want these charming, although aggressive, flowers, leave the plant. Other common plants that spring up without planting are violas, ivy, foxglove, and lupine. Using an app or searching online are great ways to decide if seedlings are a useful and wanted plant or a weed. Or, you can opt to wait and see if the adult plant is something you want around your home. Once the seedling is mature it is usually easier to identify it. Unfortunately, by that time the plant may be entrenched, have dispersed seed or stolons, and may be even harder to remove. 

Removing Garden Bed Weeds

If you know that something is a weed, get to it while it is still young. This will prevent further spreading. A case in point is the familiar dandelion. These can grow long tap roots when mature. Even deep digging may leave a piece of root from which the plant will re-grow. But if you get to the weed when it is still tiny, the roots are much more accessible. Some widespread garden weeds are:

Preventing Weeds in the Garden

You can minimize the number of weeds you get in your landscape. Use a thick layer of mulch around beds which will prevent many weeds from taking root and makes those that do, much easier to remove. Be careful when purchasing mulch or other amendments. Make sure you are buying weed-free products.

Water wanted plants directly rather than spraying an entire bed. Keep your garden clogs and tools clean to prevent spreading weed seeds. If you want to use chemicals, apply a pre-emergence spray to prevent weed seed germination. Just be cautious in garden beds, as the product may prevent your veggie seeds from emerging as well. For an eco-friendly weed treatment, spread black plastic over an area in the fall or early spring. Leave it for 6-8 weeks to prevent weed seed germination. 

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.