Gardening and crop management have been a huge part of maintaining a really nice lawn or backyard. Some even need excellent gardening skills for their living or to support and maintain their income generating sources through agriculture or gardening which make the unwanted growth of different weeds a nuisance. Although some are helpful to the growth of most plants, there are also weeds that are not and can even pester your crops. As they say, prevention will always be the best defense. learn the most common types of weeds and how to control them as you read along!
Top 7 Common Weeds
A Perennial weed which is botanically known as Calystegia sepium or convolvulus arvensis and can grow up to 6.5 feet. Be careful with this weed as it is also known as toxic. Its trumpet-head flower heads make it very attractive. It has the ability to thread or intertwine with other stems, however, it can smother other plants due to too much intertwining. If left unattended, Bindweed can grow into multiples which makes them much harder to eradicate so better to uproot them early or with the help of weed killer which you can apply to the foliage or all throughout the weed.
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Another Perennial weed that is botanically known as Taraxacum officinale and is one of the most. It grows from beautiful yellow flowers up to 18 inches fluffy plants and has a potential to be toxic but only if in large amounts. Dandelions are helpful to Bees due to the pollen they provide. Their seeds can be easily blown away by wind so do not expect to eradicate them completely if you wish to have no dandelions in your backyard because they will keep on growing back. In situations when you really want to control their growth completely, you may use a mulcher.
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Also a Perennial weed, botanically known as Toxicodendron vernix which can grow up to 20 feet, Poison Sumac is can reach its toxicity if in large amounts and similar to Poison Ivy, every part of it is poisonous. Once in contact, it may result in having rashes, but unlike other weeds, it does not trail on the ground and climb towards trees. It grows as a shrub or small tree and can be usually seen in swampy, wet areas. It is very distinct because of its reddish stems, long, V-shaped leaflets and yellow-green flowers. Despite this plant being beautiful, you have to be very careful as it still is very dangerous.
Botanically known as Stellaria media L. or Alsine media, an annual winter plant which spreads very quickly due to its long roots and can grow as tall as 20 inches. Chickweed loves wet areas with Ph neutral soil. This weed is capable of producing many hundreds of seeds thus very hard to eradicate which can take years after years. What makes it dangerous is that it brings viruses affecting other plants resulting in infection.
A Perennial weed botanically known as Pentaglottis sempervirens which can grow up to 23 inches. This plant grows from a pretty plant to a weed that is being pollinated by bees. It loves being in woody and grassy areas where it can multiply. Green Alkanet is capable of self-seeding making it multiply very quickly. If you are planning to uproot Green Alkanet, it would be better to dig deep down the roots and hand pull them. Best results if you put on mulching film to prevent further germination.
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Also a Perennial weed that comes in a botanic name of Oxalis Corniculata, it can grow up to 20 inches and is known to be toxic if in large amounts. They have similar resemblance with clovers but they have little yellow flowers which will help you identify them. Oxalis is very hard to eradicate most especially if they have grown into multiples already. The best way to eradicate them is to find the central point or the origin plant and uproot it immediately. The origin plant can be seen at the very center of the Oxalis population.
Another weed from the Perennial family, the Quackgrass is botanically known as Elytrigia Repens which can grow up to 4 feet. It can be seen as flower spikes with straw-colored underground stems. It can grow on both sunlit and shaded land areas making them very persistent and a little challenging to eradicate. If you wish to uproot them, dig out the grass as soon as possible down to the very root so as to prevent its chance to create new shoots for further growth.
Identifying a Weed
Weeds can be further classified into three categories – their structural features, life cycle and habitat. Below is an overview on how we can better identify them.
|Grasses||Are one seed-leaf (monocotyledons)Leaves are long, narrow with parallel veinsUsually have a lower and upper portion called sheath and bladeStems have well-defined nodes which are arranged at a regular manner where leaves ariseHave fibrous root system|
|Sedges||Have solid, triangular stemsLeaves are arranged with 3 ranks or layersNo distinct upper and lower portions|
|Broadleaved||Have very distinct expanded leaf bladesLeaf veins are either parallel or netted|
|Annuals||Weeds that reproduce only one seed/sMay produce unwanted roots and stemsCapable to form and grow new plants buy just cutting or even damaging the stems accidentally|
|Biennials||Lives at most 2 years|
|Perennials||Lives for more than 2 yearsCan reproduce through seeds, roots, stolons and tubers|
|Aquatic||Weeds that prefer growing in a very wet or submerged soil areas such as puddles and swamps|
|Semi-aquatic||Weeds that usually grow on land but can also adapt to wet environment|
|Terrestrial||Weeds that can only survive dry lands and environment|
Why are some weeds causing agricultural problems?
Weed management and control is very important to ensure a high yield on crop quality. Weeds are known to add stress to the crop environment by competing with the sunlight needed by the crops, the nutrients given by the soil as well as the water. Some weeds are very parasitic to demand more of these factors contributing to a good crop growth resulting in deaths of the crops. Some weeds also produce byproducts that poison other crops and plants growing with them. Drastic growth of unwanted weeds also increases labor cost as gardeners and farmers tend to spend additional hours and resources to control and eradicate them.
Weed Management and Control
Manual Method through hand weeding or uprooting and with the use of hand tools such as hoes and sickles.
|An effective method of eradicating unwanted weeds that has been practiced for many years alreadyMost practical and efficient method||TediousTime consumingNot the most recommended method to be applied to extra large scale gardening or land area|
Mechanical Method through the use of rotary weeder and lithao during land preparation or modification. Two common land preparation techniques are burial and disturbing the roots.
Burial is done by burying the weeds using tools so as to alter and stop the growth of weeds most especially the annual growing types of weeds while disturbing the roots means cutting through the weeds’ root system causing death by desiccation before they can even regrow and re-establish their root system.
|Requires less timeRelatively cheaper, cost-wise, as compared to Manual methods||Cannot guarantee a hundred percent eradicationNot applicable to soils that are too dry and too wetImproper handling through land preparation can also kill or damage healthy crops|
Now, gardening and crop management can go easy with all this new knowledge! In any cases that you wish to advance your skills and knowledge on gardening and agricultural techniques, do not hesitate to consult an expert or a professional gardener and agriculturist as they can provide you with the right tools and discuss with you all the technicalities that will gear you to level up your gardening and crop management experience.