Finding weeds in the garden from time to time is unavoidable, as any veteran gardener will tell you. The best way to combat them is to start by identifying weeds properly. Knowing what you are dealing with will help you figure out the best course of action to take to eliminate the problem.
Chickweed (Stellaria media), also known as starweed, is one of the most common plants on Earth. It adapts to any climate. It has small, white, star-shaped flowers with hairy stems. These can simply be picked and discarded when you see them, or take advantage of the situation and use them. It is a herbaceous plant with leaves very similar to spinach that can be cooked and eaten. The plant has a number of medicinal uses, or your pet rabbit or guinea pig will love them as a treat.
Field Mouse Ear
Field Mouse Ear (Cerastium arvense) is found in dry, sandy areas and usually grows low to the ground. You’ll first notice hairy leaves, out of which will soon grow stringy stalks with small white flowers that may get as high as 6 inches off the ground. These are best dealt with abruptly as the seed is spread by wind. One of the biggest threats that this weed poses is that it is a carrier of the Melampsora cerastii fungus. It also attracts many moths and beetles that like to feed on it.
Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta), also known as flick weed, is part of the mustard family. It will pop up annually in the early spring and can be difficult to eradicate. They are fairly easy to remove by hand or with a rake or hoe as they have shallow roots. Try removing them before the flowers bloom to help keep them from spreading.
Knotweed (Polygonum arenastrum) is also known as wireweed, doorweed and matweed. It grows prostrate to the ground in spiderweb-like mats and tufts, with very tiny white flowers. It generally grows in compacted soil in neglected yards and fields or between the cracks of paving stones and concrete. Keeping the soil loose and aerated can help prevent the spread of knotweed. Because it has a long tap root, it can be difficult to remove. A covering of mulch or plastic sheeting will prevent growth, or herbicides can be used to destroy the plant.
Meadow sweet (Filipendula ulmaria), is also known as meadwort, bridewort and Queen of the Meadow. It has tiny clusters of white flowers with a fuzzy or fluffy appearance. Meadow sweet has long been considered more of an herb than a weed. Its flavorful leaves are used for salads, flavoring wine, beer, mead or vinegar, and its sweet smelling flowers were once strewn around the room to impart the room with their scent. They can easily be picked and discarded, but they do make a pretty, lovely-smelling border plant.
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