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All About Weeds: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Weeds can be so obnoxious, they take over our gardens and leave us plucking them all out. Weeding is a part of our daily gardening routine, going outside and removing all the unwanted weeds. Unfortunately it has become a large aspect of planting in our gardens. However, not all weeds are necessarily bad for our gardens, here is everything you need to know about weeds.

What is a weed?

Weeds are technically just wild plants that happen to show up in the wrong location at the wrong time.

Are all weeds bad?

It is important to remember that not all weeds are bad. Queen Anne’s Lace for example is also considered a wildflower and can be inviting to bees in your garden. Bee’s are very important and it is crucial to protect them and help create a bee friendly environment for them to live peacefully.

There are three different categories of weeds:

1. Annual Weeds

These plants germinate from seeds that are dispersed by a parent plant every spring.

Ex: chickweed, and crabgrass

Chickweed

2. Biennial Weeds

These plants grow marginally in the first year, then flower, and produce fruit, then die in the second year.

Ex: Queen Anne’s lace

Queen Annes Lace

3. Perennial Weeds

These plants lay dormant in the winter and then will return in the spring.

Ex: Dandelions

Dandelions

Most common weeds you can find in your garden:

  • Canada thistle: Pull them out before they become deeply rooted.
  • Bindweed: Try to prevent it, as once it spreads it is difficult to remove.
  • Buckhorn plantain: Prevent it before it spreads or you can try a herbicide.
  • Crabgrass: Control it before it sets seeds.
  • Pig weed: Pull it out before it flowers.

How to remove weeds:

In order to remove weeds it is important to figure out what weed it is before trying to remove it. Learning about what category of weed it is and learning its lifecycle will help you deal with removing it.

Why are weeds harmful to my garden?

Weeds can be very harmful to your garden. They can take over your garden space and can take the nutrients, water and sunlight meant for your plants. This can add stress to your plants and can leave them weak and prone to diseases, which can kill them.

Dangerous and invasive weeds to avoid:

These weeds can threaten surrounding biodiversity:

  • Dog-Strangling Vine
  • Buckthorn
  • Japanese Knotweed

Weeds that can be dangerous or harmful to humans:

  • Giant Hogweed
  • Poison hemlock
  • Poison ivy

Weeds that affect bodies of water, recreational water activities and aquatic animals (fish, turtles and birds):

  • European Water Chestnut
  • Common Reed
  • Water Soldier

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