Weeds

Recently I enrolled on an RHS Level 2 in Practical Horticulture and we have been learning about weeds.  Apart from the Dandelion I haven't really held them in high regard.  However, adjusting my mindset and thinking of them as plants in the wrong place, has helped a bit.  

Learning the Botanical names for these was a challenge as weeds aren't something I've paid too much attention to. (Apart from pulling them out of the ground and fighting a losing battle).  But now that I have learn't them, i've started noticing weeds more and the types of habitats that they grow in. Yes, i've become that irritating person* who can spot a plant a mile off and identify it in Latin. (*sarcasm, i'm actually rather happy about this development)

It's not just the Genus and species i've been paying attention to.  It's been their preferred environment and their life-cycle.  With this knowledge I can (hopefully) learn how to control them more successfully in my own space.  Whilst I do like to steer clear of resorting to chemical control, my new found knowledge should make it easier for me to avoid the back-breaking work of pulling weeds by hand.

Take number 10 below for instance.  This is all over the garden most of the year. I generally ignore it as it's proven challenging to control.  Also, on balance it doesn't irritate me too much.  If I was on top of it using the sporadic pull method I've become accustomed to, I'd have no time for living.  Now, knowing this is an Ephemeral plant, that it reproduces via seed, and not rhizomes or stolons, I can adjust my control measures.  

Instead of pulling it out of the ground or digging over the flower bed, I can mulch with bark or remove the plant from the surface of the soil using a Dutch hoe.  I will then be denying it the perfect reproduction conditions down the road.  Disturbing the soil and turning it was providing the seeds it had dropped during one of its many life-cycles, the ideal growing conditions to reproduce.  I was basically doing everything wrong and making more work for myself!  

Common weeds


No
Botanical name


Common name
Life cycle


Means of spread


Control


Illustration
1
Bellis perennis


Daisy
Perennial
Seeds, Stolons
Dig, selective chemical (2,4-D)



2
Capsella bursa pastoris


Shepherds purse
Ephemeral
Seeds
Hoe, contact chemical (pelargonic acid)

3
Senecio vulgaris


Groundsel


Ephemeral
Seeds


Dig, hoe, systemic chemical (glyphosate)



4
Taraxacum officinale


Dandellion


Perennial


Seeds
Dig, deadhead, systemic chemical (glyphosate)

5
Urtica dioica


Nettle


Perennial


Seeds, Stolons
Dig, hoe, systemic chemical (glyphosate)



6
Poa annua


Annual meadow grass


Annual
Seeds


Dig, selective chemical (2,4-D)



7
Ranunculus repens


Creeping buttercup


Perennial


Seeds, Stolons


Dig, hoe, systemic chemical (glyphosate)



8
Plantago major


Plantain (Ribwort)


Perennial


Seeds


Dig, selective chemical (2,4-D)

9
Aegopodium podagraria


Ground elder


Perennial


Rhizomes


Dig, mulch, systemic chemical (glyphosate), residual chemical (glyphosate/diflufenican)


10
Cardamine hirsuta


Hairy bittercress


Ephemeral


Seeds


Hoe, mulch, contact chemical (acetic acid)



11
Elymus repens


Couch grass


Perennial


Rhizomes


Dig, mulch, systemic chemical (glyphosate)



12
Stellaria media


Chickweed


Ephemeral


Seeds


Hoe, mulch, contact chemical (acetic acid)

13
Veronica persica


Speedwell


Annual


Seeds


Dig, hoe, mulch, selective chemical (2,4-D)



14
Rumex obtusifolius


Dock


Perennial


Seeds


Dig, systemic chemical (glyphosate)



15
Equisetum arvense
Horsetail


Perennial


Spores, Rhizomes


Dig, systemic chemical (glyphosate), residual chemical (glyphosate/diflufenican)

To be honest a nuclear attack isn't going to irradiate this as its roots travel up-to 2 metres below the soil surface.  Bad news for the Allotment.





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