8 Persistent Weeds

Learn how to identify and control troublesome weeds. If you don't want to use herbicides, you can either starve the roots by continually removing new shoots or block out light by covering the ground with black plastic or matting.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything
  • Ground Elder is Very Difficult to Eliminate

    Ground elder

    This perennial forms a low mat of dark green leaves. Dig up young plants before they flower, or cover them with weed matting or carpet. If they persist, treat repeatedly with glyphosate weedkiller.

  • Oxalis is Difficult to Control in Landscaped Lawn


    The cloverlike leaves spread rapidly, and can invade lawns. Annuals have explosive seed pods; perennials have bulbils. Yellow oxalis in lawns resists selective weedkillers, so try scarifying in autumn.

  • Horsetail Plant is Evasive Planted in Ground


    The roots of this perennial are hard to pull out since the stems snap easily. A water-resistant coating on the stems also helps them shake off weedkiller, so crush them before treating with glyphosate in late summer.

  • Dock is a Weed of Low Maintenance Areas


    Treat plants when young: dig the taproot out with a fork, or use a weeding tool in lawns. Don't allow mature plants to flower, and use a glyphosate-based weedkiller to kill their extensive root systems.

  • Nettles Covered with Stinging Hairs


    Perennial stinging nettles form a network of root runners that support a colony of plants. Wear thick gloves to dig out the whole root system, or spray with systemic weedkiller. Or leave large groups for a valuable wildlife refuge.

  • Japanese Knotweed is a Noxious Weed

    Japanese knotweed

    Any root fragments of this bamboolike thug will regrow. Repeatedly dig them out over several seasons; dry and burn the removed roots. If this fails, spray with glyphosate-based weedkiller repeatedly from late spring to early autumn.

  • Bindweed Can Be Persistent Problem


    This pretty but persistent twining perennial disappears in winter, only to resprout from fleshy white roots in spring. Digging it up can spread the roots; instead, train it up canes set away from ornamentals, and spray with glyphosate.

  • Brambles Create Eyesore in Garden


    The thorny stems spread rapidly over other plants and the tips will root wherever they touch any soil. Dig out seedlings and rooted runners. Cut back larger plants and dig out the woody base and roots. Spray unplanted areas with brushwood killer.

Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2010

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