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lawn weed with red seeds

Weed Name:

How it Spreads:

Broadleaf with many annual and perennial species and seeds that remain viable for many years.



Broadleaf annual that develops thick, multi-branched mats.

Weed Name:

  • Pennington UltraGreen Weed and Feed 30-0-4
  • Pennington UltraGreen Southern Weed and Feed 34-0-4
  • IMAGE All-In-One Weed Killer
  • IMAGE Kills Nutsedge

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

Do you think gardeners are too touchy about weeds — should we be more forgiving?

Jon Peter: All weeds are plants — they're just plants in the wrong location. Weeds are generally classified by their life cycle. Annual weeds are plants that grow from seeds that are dispersed by a parent plant each spring. Biennial weeds are plants that grow marginally in the first year, then flower, produce fruit, then die in the second year, and perennial weeds, such as dandelions, lay dormant in winter and return in spring. Weeds are often classified into general categories including lawn weeds, garden weeds, noxious weeds and invasive weeds, as well as their undesirable qualities, including aggressiveness, low aesthetic value, toxicity, etc.

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Are they definitively different from plants we buy at garden centres?

It really comes down to hard work. Hand pulling is my go-to control method — I like to provide some irrigation or wait until after a good rain to pull weeds while the soil is moist so the pulling is easier. Also, try to find time to pull weeds regularly as the smaller they are, the easier they will be to remove. Timing of pulling some weeds is also critical. You want to ensure you pull them before they set seed so that the problem isn't persistent. Also, remove all pulled weed debris from the garden and do not incorporate it into your compost bin. Other methods of control can be used at the proper time of year (and some with guidance recommended) including: cultivating and tilling the soil, solarisation (using polyethylene sheets laid on the soil surface to cook the weeds and their seeds); adding nutrients (as many weeds prefer nutrient poor soils); and by planting a plethora of desirable plants. By filling the empty spaces with desirable trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers, you will eliminate the soil space and sun exposure available for weeds to germinate and multiply.

Do weeds harm the garden?

What makes a weed, a weed?

Common plantain has a broad leaf, but a relative, Plantago lanceolata, has grass-like foliage and is called buckthorn plantain, or ribgrass.

Purslane is a ground-hugging weed with fleshy leaves. It tends to thrive in dry, sandy soils.

Common Plantain (Plantago major)

The Spruce / David Beaulieu

As a lawn weed, purslane is a prolific seed producer. A chemical control regimen will address the issue at both ends: with a pre-emergent herbicide (such as dithiopyr) and a post-emergent herbicide (such as 2,4-D). Persistence is required.

These annual grasses can produce as many as 150,000 seeds per plant and are very hard to combat. This is not a weed that can be readily pulled, and as a grass, it is not susceptible to broadleaf herbicides. Most of the chemicals that kill crabgrass will also kill all other turf grasses.