Weeds!

I just returned from Maine, the land of no humidity, warm fleeces, blue skies, mountains and hiking trails. Stepping from the plane onto the tarmac, I was slammed by the Tidewater humidity and heat, followed by an all-night thunderstorm. It was a shocking contrast in weather, but, truth be known, there’s no place I’d rather be than hot and humid Virginia.

Besides our menagerie of excited animals, I was greeted by an unwelcome sight… borders full of mature weeds. How could this be?  Was I gone that long?  Those sneaky opportunists! Here are just a few of the most bothersome weedy vexations in my borders today.

crabgrassCrabgrass is my main challenge and I will attempt to pull it by hand without leaving any roots which is truly impossible. Root fragments left in the ground will re-sprout. Crabgrass germinates each spring and one plant can spread thousands of seeds. Master gardeners say corn gluten applied in early spring will kill seedlings.

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Bermuda GrassIt’s so fast-growing, I can almost watch bermuda grass or wire grass progress.  It spreads by underground rhizomes, above ground runners and by seed.  If I don’t get these runners early, I’m in real trouble. Deep edging around your border can be helpful.

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nutsedge

Nutsedge is a sneaky little weed that seems to appear overnight disguised as grass or hidden beneath the daylilies until the seed head identifies it.  It spreads by rhizomes, tubers and seeds and my gardens will never be rid of it.

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chickweedChickweed, an annual, is easy to pull out but be sure to get the whole root or beware…  it will sprout again.

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spotted spurgeSpotted spurge likes my borders. It pulls out easily but the milky secretions can be irritating. Wear gloves.

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common yellow wood sorrel oxalis

Common Yellow Wood Sorrel or sour grass (did you ever taste the sour leaves as a youngster?) can survive just about anywhere.  Get it early or it can develop a thick root system and it can shoot seeds up to 6 feet away.  Impossible to eradicate but I’ll give it a good try.

Remember: Early intervention is the best medicine for weed problems.  But a good layer of mulch helps to keep those seeds from spouting.

See more on chickweed  by clicking here.

Read about another INVINCIBLE weed, Creeping Charlie or Ground Ivy,  by clicking here.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

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