by Tina Sottolano-Cain
Weeds, weeds weeds, popping up in the most obscure places: garden, lawn, the cracks of pavements, and inbetween pavers on our patios.
As we watch them take over our world during the summer months, we ponder. Where do they come from? Why are there so many? What type of weeds are they and how do we get rid of the them?
By definition a weed is a plant that grows in places you don’t want it to grow. They reproduce by seed and can be spread far and wide in a variety of ways, like wind and birds. They can even hitch a ride on shoes and pets. Weed seeds can catch onto your pets fur and carried throughout the garden.
Weeds can also be warning signs in the lawn or garden that you should not ignore. Soil infertility can be a big concern. The right soil pH is essential to grow a healthy lawn and plants. If you have a wide range of weeds in the lawn or just one pesky weed you may want to test your soil. Common lawn weeds like white clover are nitrogen fixers can indicate that the soil is low in nitrogen. Some commonly found weeds that indicate low fertility in the garden are thistle, Mullein, crabgrass, ragweed and dandelions. In poor drainage areas you may see moss, Creeping Charlie (ground ivy), or Wild Violas. Overly dry areas, especially raised beds usually have an abundance of mustard and flick weed. Poison ivy on the other hand is usually found in brush or fields and show up in the garden when you least expect it.
Removal of these weeds can be tedious, especially without chemicals and herbicides, but not impossible. You can remove weeds and their roots from the garden manually. Make sure you mulch immediately following. I recommend adding compost, then the mulch. By adding compost you are increasing the nutrients in the soil. Helping to smother any seeds left dormant in the soil. You can also use a vinegar and epsom salts as an organic method. This works well on patios and areas away from other plants you don’t want to spray. Household vinegar works but you may need to spray multiple times for total removal. Spray in full sun for optimum effect and in 24 hours the tops should completely die back. It also leaves no residuals in the soil. For tough weeds like Canadian Thistle you need to cut the tips off then spray directing in the tubular stem. Again this process needs to be repeated until area clears up.
I recommend using a commercial herbicide for the best results on the toughest weeds, especially Poison Ivy. Be sure to read all labels and follow directions recommended before using any product in the garden. Another practice you may want to consider is plant more annuals and perennials.