Saturday, May 14, 2011


Weeds! Have you noticed that those little green sprouts are everywhere!  And what's more, they are competing with your plants for not only water, but for nutrients and light as well. I know that ridding your beds of weeds can be a seemingly unending, daunting task--not to mention, hard work!   But, I know from experience, that consistency is the key--and you really can win the war on weeds.  I've found that one of the best ways to rid your self of weeds is to learn their life cycle.  In order to do this, you'll need to  determine the group the weed fits into.  There are FIVE different groups of weeds: 
Some weeds that are growing now are the summer annuals.  They sprout in the spring and mature and reproduce, before dying out in the winter.  Some of the most common of these weeds are PIGWEED, PUNCTURE WEED, ORCHARD GRASS, and RUSSIAN THISTLE.   Winter annuals germinate in the fall or winter, then flower and produce seed and die in the spring.  Common winter annuals are CHICKWEED, MUSTARD and JUNE GRASS.  Biennial weeds require 2 years to complete their life cycles.  These weeds usually grow without producing a flower the first year, but the 2nd year, they flower, produce seed, then die.  Common biennial weeds are MULLEIN, THISTLE, HOUND'S TONGUE.  Perennials live three years or longer.  These plants flower and set seed without dying.  Most of them die back in the winter but start up their growth again in the spring.  These are weeds that I have the most trouble with in my yard:  FIELD BIND WEED, DANDELIONS, AND QUACK GRASS.  Finally, the 5th type, woody weeds, are the plants that live longer than 3 years. These plants DON'T die back, and are awfully hard to control.  If these weeds are allowed to get big, you need to apply a herbicide right into a cut in their bark to effectively take care of them.  I have a rule with weeds that makes it so easy to control them--GET THEM WHEN THEY'RE SMALL!   And, never let them go to seed--one dandelion can have the possibility of up to 100 dandelions if the seed heads are allowed to blow away in the breeze!  Something I read in a gardening book astounded me--"If you let your weeds go to seed in your garden, you can count on those seeds producing weeds for up to twenty-five more years.  And, field bind weed can stay dormant for about fifty years!"  (Temple Square Gardening: Gates, Erickson, Zollinger, Sagers)  Hard to believe, isn't it?  I personally have never used any spray or product to get rid of the weeds in my flower beds (although Terry has used something for dandelions on the lawn)--I just follow my plan for pulling them out when they're small on a regular basis.  Consistency, and KNOWING THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE WEED is the key:  Weekly weeding, raking, or hoeing, and "fluffing" the soil in your beds will pay off with less frustration, fewer weed seeds germinating, less competition for your plants,  and, of course, more beauty in the garden!   If kept up on, the weeding is a breeze and you'll be better able to manage these pesky plants from year to year!  Happy hoeing! 
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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