Why is it problematic? – A single plant of Chickweed can produce up to 1300 seeds and it only takes five to six weeks for this weed to go from germination to seed dispersal. Chickweed seeds can be easily distributed through manure, compost, topsoil and even by birds and animals. These seeds can be so hardy that they can even survive passing through a bird’s digestive tract.
Non-weedkiller control – In uncultivated areas it’s possible to fork these weeds out of a lighter type of soil since its underground stem system is on the shallow side. However, this weed can leave behind small parts of the rhizome underground and quickly regrow to its former glory. If couch grass is popping up in a cultivated area, you can weed it out by hand. However, perform this in early spring, as during that time, it’s less likely to damage the roots of surrounding bushes and perennials.
List of annual weeds in the UK
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Non-weedkiller control – Before you do your first mow of the year in spring, use a wire-toothed rake to elevate developing runners. Then run them over with the mower. Also, be sure to aerate your lawn in autumn to improve its drainage.
What’s more, couch grass is a common weed throughout England and Wales, and is even more scattered in Scotland.
It bears small yellow flowers and fluffy seed heads. Its leaves often have orange-brown pustules of rust fungus during summer and autumn. This can spread to cultivated plants if neglected.
Nettle stems are square, and they contain tiny hairs. This weed can grow up to two metres tall.
A great example of an annual weed is Fat Hen (Chenopodium Album) – the fastest-growing one. Another one is Creeping Woodsorrel (Oxalis Corniculata), a low-growing annual plant.
Couch Grass or Skutch Grass Couch or Skutch Grass is very common in most gardens and is very likely to be seen in ground which has been compacted or over cultivated at any stage. If growing through light friable garden soil it is relatively easy to remove by following the roots and gently pulling them out. New grass will grow from any root particles left in the soil so 2 years may be a more realistic time to clear you plot. Skutch grass is also kept under control by applying nurtient rich mulches to the surface of the soil as it prefers a more compact and less fertile soil.
Creeping Thistle Creeping thistle can be relatively easily eradicated by continually pulling up small plants making sure you also remove the long tap root. Loosen the soil around the thistle with a trowel and with gloved hands grasp the fleshy stem and gently pull as much root as you can. You will not be able to extract all the root so keep pulling any new seedlings that may come up which will soon exhaust the parent roots by cutting off its source of sugars. Large patches of creeping thistle can initially be daunting but can be cleared with persistence.
Recognising Common Garden Weeds – Perennial Weeds
Bramble Brambles always look far more difficult than they actually are due to their tangle of long thorny stems. Get a good thorn proof pair of gloves first and remove all the stems, removing the roots is actually relatively easy by forking out. Mulching will help after the ground has been cleared though strong stems can push through. Digging any new stems over a period if a year or two should see a problem patch successfully cleared.
Dandelion Dandelions will take 6 to 9 months to get rid of by digging out small roots with a trowel or removing larger specimens with a spade. Try to remove as much of the parent root as possible so there is little left in the soil to re-grow. Although dandelions are a common weed which spread easily from their root fragments or from their many windblown seeds they are also valued for their medicinal qualities and culinary uses. Dandelion is from the same family (Asteraceae) as lettuce and endive and so share their bitter taste. The leaves are diuretic which cleanse the liver and can be eaten in salads for their rich mineral content.