It’s time for round two. July brings a new bounty of weeds. Here in the Midwest, you can add heat and mosquitoes to that mix. Yes, it’s a party! If your kids can help, let them (they will need heavy gloves for thistle). If they can’t identify the weeds, here’s a handy guide to the most common. No excuses, no mistakes!
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are hard to pull, because they have taproots that reach far into the soil. They grow in even very hard-packed clay soils. Use a long trowel or weed fork to dig out around the root.
Purslane ( Portulaca oleracea ) is a succulent that begins spreading in late June and early July. Unlike dandelion, purslane has very shallow roots. You may think this is a blessing, but you’ve got to remove every piece of this plant, as any broken pieces left on the soil will quickly re-root and grow again.
Chickweed (Stellaria media) is easy to pull but, like purslane, it is a spreader. Be sure to remove the entire plant. Try to get at it before it spreads it’s multitude of seeds.
Ragweed (A. artemisiifolia) is the real culprit when it comes to fall allergies, though goldenrod is often blamed. Its roots spread out like a carpet. You need to remove all of those fibers to prevent regrowth.
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is a gardener’s nightmare. Not just because it’s prickly, but it spreads by underground runners and wind-dispersed seeds.
You will need to be persistent in pulling it, and remove it before it produces seed.
Crabgrass ( Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.) is an annual, so it dies at the end of the season. Yet, it will spread like crazy if you let it set seed. Pull out its fibrous root as soon as possible. The roots are difficult to remove completely as the plant grows.
Wood sorrel (Oxalis)
This perennial (Oxalis stricta) is easy to spot and pull. It seeds by “popping” seed pods. So, you’ve got to pull it before the seed pods are ready to burst. Otherwise, you’re just helping it reproduce!
Smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) is another easy-to-pull weed, but it seeds prolifically. The sooner you can get to it, the more success you’ll find in eradicating it from your garden.
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