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Diodia virginiana is a mat-forming spreading perennial herb. Leaves are elliptic to lance-shaped and are joined across the stem by a lightly hairy membrane. Leaves are dark green and shiny, with white tubular flowers at each leaf axel. The weed can be found in New Jersey, west to Illinois and Missouri and south into the Gulf Coast states.
What type of weeds?
Lolium perenne is a winter annual or perennial that is often a weed leftover from seeding of these grasses in the fall. These plants can become clumpy and unsightly in appearance. Perennial ryegrass is a low-growing, tufted, hairless grass, lacking stolen or rhizomes. Leaves are dark green, smooth and glossy on the lower surface, with un-toothed parallel sides and prominent parallel veins on the upper surface.
Pyrrhopappus carolinianus is a winter annual or biennial with pale-green erect, branched flowering stems with bright yellow flowers at the ends. Leaves are sharply pointed, with complete or deeply-lobed margins. Carolina False Dandelion can be found in the Southern United States, west to Texas, into Kansas and as far north as Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Medicago lupulina L. is a taprooted summer annual or, less commonly, a winter annual or biennial. Black Medic is dark green in appearance, with leaves composed of three leaflets on long petioles. Black Medic can be found throughout the continental United States and Hawaii – especially in lesser or unmaintained turf.
Even now, they’re lingering along the roadside waiting for you to pick them up and take them wherever you’re going. Some will ride inside your car, others on the chassis and a few lucky ones will find their way into your clothing. Yes, weeds that spread by people, or hitchhiking, have certainly taken advantage of you this year. In fact, the average car carries two to four seeds for hitchhiker plants at any given time!
Once those weeds emerge, digging them out is the only cure. Make sure to get three to four inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) of root when the plant is young, or else it’ll grow back from root fragments. If your problem plant is already flowering or going to seed, you can clip it at the ground and carefully bag it for disposal – composting will not destroy many of these types of weeds.
What are Hitchhiker Weeds?
Although it might sound like all fun and games, the weeds spread by people are not only difficult to contain, they’re costly for everyone. Farmers lose an estimated $7.4 billion each year in productivity to eradicate these pest plants. Humans are spreading these seeds at a rate of 500 million to one billion seeds a year in cars alone!
Weed seeds spread in a variety of ways, whether traveling by water, by air, or on animals. The group of weeds nicknamed the “hitchhikers” are seeds that stick to clothing and fur, making it difficult to dislodge them immediately. Their variously barbed adaptations ensure that the seeds will travel far and wide via animal locomotion, and most can be eventually shaken off down the road somewhere.
Although the weeds within crop stands are annoying, those that appear in fields can be downright dangerous for grazing animals like horses and cattle.
Clover (white) – Trifolium repens
(image source: http://agron-www.agron.iastate.edu/)
Broadleaf Plantain – Plantago rugelii and Plantago major
– Yellow nutsedge has single tubers at root ends
(image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mom-mu/236175868)