dandelion weeds
ECO gardener

Weeds may all look alike, but they come in different varieties. Knowing the most common types of weeds growing in your garden helps determine the proper solutions to rid your outdoor space of weeds for longer. In this guide, let’s take a closer look at the different varieties of weeds and how to identify them.

What is a garden weed?

Garden weeds are undesirable plants that grow in the garden. Many weed varieties are fast growers and can take over the entire outdoor space if you don’t remove them. Weeds will steal space and food from crops, and if you don’t control them, they will choke the life out of the garden. Weeds are categorized into three types, common weeds, noxious weeds, and invasive weeds.

Common weeds like crabgrass are weeds that grow in most outdoor spaces. These weeds take up space and take nutrients from the soil, but they pose no harm to local ecosystems.

Noxious weeds are undesirable plants deemed by the federal, state, or local government as likely dangerous to public health, agriculture, wildlife, or property.

Invasive weeds are non-native plants that invade spaces. These plants have no known natural competitors in the region, so they spread fast and overrun native plants. Invasive plants can pose a risk to other plants and may change the local ecosystem.

10 Common Types of Garden Weeds

Wild Violet: Some gardeners do not consider wild violet a weed, more like a wildflower because of its dainty purple flowers. But this perennial bloomer can spread quickly, and without controlling its growth, it will take over the entire garden in no time at all. It’s also incredibly resilient, able to avoid mowing by growing shorter and preventing the mowing blades from reaching the foliage. Wild violets love shady areas with moist soil, and regular weeding is the only way to control their growth without using herbicides.

dandelion weeds

Dandelion: Dandelion is another flowering plant that some do not consider a weed. But just like wild violet, dandelion spreads quickly and takes over blank outdoor spaces if left unchecked. Dandelion is incredibly hard to remove because of its deep tap root, which can grow up to 15 feet long!

Also, the plant spreads quickly because of its puffball seed head, which spreads naturally by the wind. This is why dandelions thrive in windy areas, including meadows and flatlands. Digging is the best way to uproot dandelions entirely and prevent them from sprouting in the same place. Dig at least 2 inches of tap root because if the roots are not removed properly, they will sprout as two plants.

Garlic Mustard: This invasive plant will thrive in sunny and shady growing environments. It’s a survivor, able to grow in dry and wet soils. What’s more, the roots produce a chemical that prevents other plants from growing near them! Because garlic mustard is adaptable, it can spread quickly virtually anywhere, choking gardens, overtaking lawns, and displacing native plants. Uprooting this plant is the best way to eliminate it. Put it out with the trash, and do not put the uprooted garlic mustard anywhere that’s in contact with soil to prevent it from re-growing.

Thistle Weeds

Thistle: This is a prickly, invasive plant that can grow up to 8 feet tall. It is adaptable so that it will spread quickly. And as it grows, a single thistle plant develops a 20-foot-long root system that’s hard to remove altogether. To get rid of this thorny nightmare, you must dig the plant out and do so carefully to remove the horizontal roots. If you’re using herbicides, a single pass won’t kill the plant. You have to spray repeatedly throughout the season to kill the thistle. But it will sprout elsewhere in the garden unless the roots are destroyed.

Crabgrass: This annual weed is one of the hardest to eliminate because a single plant can produce millions of seeds. The key to killing crabgrass is to attack it at a time when it’s most vulnerable – during spring when the plant is freshly sprouted. You can use a herbicide called crabgrass preventer or remove the plant by hand, ensuring to completely uproot every last bit of it. Another strategy is to grow lawn grass, which can gradually displace crabgrass.

Ragweed: Ragweed comes in two types, common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) and giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida). Both varieties are irritants because they produce a lot of pollen. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis or hay fever, rid the garden of ragweeds. Ragweed has thick roots and branches, with the giant variety reaching up to 15 feet tall! The best defense against ragweed is to pull them out, roots and all, while they are young. Mow your lawn regularly, so these do not sprout. Throw pulled or cut ragweed in the trash, and do not add to compost to avoid contamination.

ground ivy in the fields

Ground Ivy: This common lawn weed produces dainty, fragrant flowers. It’s also a medicinal herb for mild respiratory illnesses, including cough and bronchitis. Ground ivy is considered invasive because it can displace other plants. When it grows, it does so aggressively, and few herbicides could wipe this common weed completely. This plant is toxic to small animals.

Stinging Nettle: Similar to thistle, stinging nettle is full of fine needle-like protrusions on its leaves that inject chemicals into the skin, causing itchiness, swelling, and pain. The key to eliminating stinging nettle in your garden is to cut these down early in the summer when they are weakest. Dig near the roots using a weeder or a shovel to eradicate the stinging nettle. Also, habitually use the hoe to get rid of nettle seedlings. If you’re maintaining your lawn, mow regularly so stinging nettles won’t re-grow.

bindweed weeds

Bindweed: AKA morning glory, this invasive plant spreads and creeps with underground stems growing up to 30 feet deep! Once its extensive root system has been established, bindweed is hard to kill. While bindweed is used as ground cover, it tends to overtake the space quickly and choke the plants. Remove one as soon as you see it to get rid of bindweed. If the root system hasn’t been pulled out completely, it will take years before they stop growing back.

Nutsedge: Rounding up our list of common garden weeds to keep an eye on is nutsedge. Nutsedge thrives in compact, moist soils. This plant establishes a colony, with each plant developing seeds and bulbs underneath the soil. You may pull out the entire plant, but the leftover seeds and bulbs will guarantee a comeback faster than you think.

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While herbicides are the most popular solution for removing weeds in the garden, manual pulling and installing landscape fabric are eco-friendly strategies. ECOgardener premium landscape fabric is an effective weed control solution for your lawn and garden!

Also,there are gardening tools that make weeding easier, like a stand-up weeder, a shovel, or even a trowel. Be sure to invest in quality gardening tools to keep your outdoor space free from weeds for a long time!

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