Weeds

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Rush Skeletonweed

This one is a stumper! Several regional experts have been searching for the perfect ID on this one, and the closest we come to is a rush skeletonwood. Unfortunately many of the plants with basal, rosette style growth such as this are difficult to identify from their juvenile winter growth. Add to that the propensity of many weeds to self hybridize in the wild, and you get some weeds that are impossible to accurately pin down early in the season. Should you be able to return to this area later in the spring or early summer, and take a photo of this plant in flower, we'd love to take another shot at it!

Plants that grow rosettes in this manner are often biennials - they grow one year, stay low to the ground over the winter, and bloom the next season. Many of them also have tap-roots that allow them to be very drought tolerant or grow in rocky, well drained soils. When they seed in an area where the conditions are right for germination many plants can grow in a single year making it look as if they are a ground cover. In dryer seasons when fewer seeds sprout, however, such biennials are more widely scattered.

We'd love to keep looking at this if you can take a photo of a flower. The distinctive edges of these leaves lead us to lean toward a skeletonweed, but once spring hits and the plant continues to fill out and grow it could change in leaf-shape significantly. We hope you can keep us posted!!!

By | 2016-01-23T20:02:37-08:00 January 23rd, 2016|Weeds|0 Comments

Yellow Wood Sorrel

Actually called wood sorrel, this clover looking weed is always looking for a place to take root. This pesky weed pulls out easily, but if you let it go to seed the pods explode and spread the seed far & wide. It is VERY difficult to eradicate.

Here are a couple of options:Hand Weeding - Hand weeding is very effective. It pulls easily and will not re-sprout from roots left behind. Removing the plants before they go to seed reduces the population.


Chemical Control - Pre-emergence herbicides are the most useful, they prevent seed germination - the way oxalis spreads. Check with a reputable local nursery/garden center for advice on the best herbicide for your area. And many herbicides will kill the grass as well, so be sure to apply according to the package directions.

Many post emergent herbicides are not effective. Timing and the use of a spreader/sticker are important. Yellow wood sorrel has a very waxy leaf and stem, water beads and rolls off. A spreader/sticker will break down the waxy layer, allowing the herbicide to penetrate into the leaf and then do its job.

Spot spraying young plants works well.


By | 2017-09-11T15:49:27-07:00 January 16th, 2016|Weeds|0 Comments

Purple Loosestrife

This appears to be purple loosetrife, but we are not certain. Purple loosestrife is a pretty plant that grows best in sun with regular moisture. Purple loose-strife is a wetland perennial that prefers open sunny areas and wet soils and while the flowers are on tall spikes, they exhibit in "whorls" much like this flower is doing. Plants may be found in wet meadows, floodplains, disturbed areas such as roadside ditches, along stream banks and around the edges of ponds, lakes and marshes. When mature (at three to five years) a single plant may be over three meters tall and produce as many as fifty stems. Leaves are blade-shaped, entire and oppositely arranged on the stems. The stems are usually square in cross-section, but may be five or six-sided. Leaves and stems may be (but are not always) covered with soft hairs. Plants form dense, woody rootballs (up to 50 cm in diameter) with a strong taproot. Purple loosestrife blooms during the summer. Its reddish-purple flowers, each with five to seven petals, are closely arranged on tall flower spikes. A mature plant may produce up to 2.5 million seeds per year. Seeds, which remain viable in the ground for at least five years, are as small as a grain of sand and are easily carried by wind, water, and passing animals, and may go undetected on muddy boots.

By | 2016-01-14T13:11:25-08:00 January 14th, 2016|Weeds|0 Comments

Variegated Mugwort Artemisia

This appears to be variegated mugwort, which is related to the plain variety, which is an aggressive weed that grows in sun to shade and tolerates a wide range of soils. The flowers are small and unobtrusive. It's used in herbal medicine and for making smudge sticks. If you dig up this plant, you will likely see a ropey, white root that travels sideways underground. This is how it spreads. Any roots left behind will re-sprout. While the variegated form is attractive, it forms an upright, bushy clump with attractive foliage that has a tendency to quickly spread all over the border. Leaves are medium green, brightly splashed with creamy-yellow to ivory. A great use for this selection is in containers with other perennials, therefore the foliage can be enjoyed from up close but the plant may be easily controlled. For best effect, cut back hard in late June to rejuvenate the plant with new growth. Plants should not be allowed to set seed or you will have a monster on your hands -äóñ trim off flowers heads as they appear. DO NOT unleash this plant in areas where it can invade in roadsides or along forested regions. If concerned about its invasiveness, dig it out immediately.

By | 2016-01-01T20:41:36-08:00 January 1st, 2016|Weeds|0 Comments

Field Burrweed

Soliva sessilis, aka, burr weed, is one of up to nine species of the genus Soliva, is a low-growing herbaceous annual plant. Its common names include lawnweed, common soliva, Onehunga weed, and field burrweed. It is one of several plants known as bindi weed, bindii, or bindi-eye.

A weedy plant known for its tiny sharp-needled seeds. It appears with small feathery leaves reminiscent of parsley, with an exposed upward-pointing rosette of seeds in a pod nestled at the branch junctions. Eventually small bright flowers appear if the plant is allowed to develop. Those familiar with the plant may also know it as "bindi patches", which can't be walked on barefoot. Dogs and cats are no less affected and tend to avoid areas where they have encountered it.

Originally native to South America, the plant is now well established in many places around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, California, and several other states in the United States. It is mainly found in parks and ovals, though it has also become an invasive species in lawns in the southeast USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Bindi weed can be treated with herbicide, or manually removed. Late winter and early spring are the best times to destroy the weed before its seeds germinate. Effective herbicides are typically combinations of MCPA and Dicamba, which target broad-leaved plants but not grasses. These chemicals have similar effects as natural plant auxins, and their increased concentrations cause unnatural plant growth which kill the plant. Mowing grass to a higher level will allow more competitive plants to thrive in the area. Bindi weed also favours compacted ground, so aerating the soil should also reduce the presence of the plant.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:30-07:00 December 7th, 2015|Weeds|0 Comments

Field Burrweed

Soliva sessilis, aka, burr weed, is one of up to nine species of the genus Soliva, is a low-growing herbaceous annual plant. Its common names include lawnweed, common soliva, Onehunga weed, and field burrweed. It is one of several plants known as bindi weed, bindii, or bindi-eye.

A weedy plant known for its tiny sharp-needled seeds. It appears with small feathery leaves reminiscent of parsley, with an exposed upward-pointing rosette of seeds in a pod nestled at the branch junctions. Eventually small bright flowers appear if the plant is allowed to develop. Those familiar with the plant may also know it as "bindi patches", which can't be walked on barefoot. Dogs and cats are no less affected and tend to avoid areas where they have encountered it.

Originally native to South America, the plant is now well established in many places around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, California, Texas and several other states in the United States. It is mainly found in parks and ovals, though it has also become an invasive species in lawns in the southeast USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Bindi weed can be treated with herbicide, or manually removed. Late winter and early spring are the best times to destroy the weed before its seeds germinate. Effective herbicides are typically combinations of MCPA and Dicamba, which target broad-leaved plants but not grasses. These chemicals have similar effects as natural plant auxins, and their increased concentrations cause unnatural plant growth which kill the plant. Mowing grass to a higher level will allow more competitive plants to thrive in the area. Bindi weed also favours compacted ground, so aerating the soil should also reduce the presence of the plant.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:32-07:00 December 3rd, 2015|Weeds|0 Comments

Ground Ivy Or Creeping Charlie

This appears to be a very aggressive ground cover (Glechoma hederacea) that is often seen trying to take over the garden or lawn. Also known as creeping Charlie, though other more desirable plants also have that common name. From Europe. It should be easy to pull out if it hasn't gotten too established but once the roots have taken hold, it's pretty hard to get rid of. Where it can be contained, however, it makes a fine groundcover.

The first thing to understand when working to get rid of creeping charlie is that it, like most lawn weeds, thrive best in an unhealthy lawn. Be sure to use proper mowing, watering and fertilizing practices when caring for your lawn.

Treating your lawn with a broadlead herbicide containing dicamba or triclopyr in the fall and then again in the spring will go a long way towards eradicating this weed. But those herbicides can't be used in Canada.

There is some disagreement about the effectiveness of borax. If you apply it in the right amount, household borax is slightly more toxic to creeping Charlie than to grass, so you can kill the weed but spare the lawn. It does have its limits: It's going to burn the grass if you apply it too heavily, and you can apply it only once a year for 2 years before you exceed the level that will harm grass.

To treat an area of approximately one thousand infested square feet, dissolve 10 ounces of Twenty Mule Team Borax in four ounces of warm water. When you have all the borax in solution, mix this into two and a half gallons of warm water, stir well, and spray directly on the weed with a sprayer that has never held chemicals of any kind! (One that you've used to apply non-toxic things like deer repellant, compost tea, or beneficial nematodes is fine; just remember to always clean your sprayer after every use, including this one—you don't want any residual borax in there.)

You'll get the best results when the weed is dry and rain is not predicted for a few days afterward. And be vigilant when any new runners appear. You need to keep pulling because not every single root will be killed and new plants will germinate from seed. No matter what method you use, you will have to fight over several years.

By | 2017-09-11T15:49:34-07:00 November 17th, 2015|Weeds|0 Comments