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Common Weeds in Maryland

flower-and-weeds

The weather might be cold, but that doesn't mean that all the weeds in your lawn have been killed off. Watch out for these common weeds in Maryland.

Jump to one of these common weeds in Maryland to learn more:

Chickweed

Chickweed is an edible variety of weed. One can use chickweed in salads (wash thoroughly!!) Chickweed is very common and very easy to recognize. It appears in the spring, however, so far this winter we have seen chickweed on numerous properties that we manage. If we have a cool and wet early spring followed by rain in early summer we will have additional seasons of chickweed in Maryland. If you look very closely you will discover that there are five petals on each of the flowers...

Each petal has a very deep lobe and it makes it look like the chickweed flower has ten petals.

Our friend, chickweed, prefers poorly drained, wet, and acid areas to germinate upon. The weed has a very shallow root system and will pull up rather easily. The weed can be controlled in the lawn with the use of a select herbicide, correct mowing practices and cultural management practices with appropriate fertilization programs for the lawn.

Simply put: healthy, thick lawns are a great defense to combat the presence of chickweed. Another thing to consider: chickweed, nettle and henbit are all edible herbs.

Chickweed has a fairly high concentration of Vitamin C and has the property of soothing skin afflicted with acne, eczema, rashes, burns and minor abrasions. Most frequently chickweed is used as an herbal tea and has astringent and diuretic properties. All three of these "weeds" are available in most nutrition shops. Like anything else check with your doctor first.

Now, just what should you do with the chickweed in your lawn: simply put: get rid of it! If you wish to try chickweed in a salad, go ahead, but be sure you wash the chickweed. During the early spring or mid winter there nothing that we can do to eliminate chickweed. A comprehensive program, year round, will control chickweed, nettle and henbit. Call Blades of Green; we will be happy to visit and set up a plan for you.

Shepherd's Purse

Two additional winter weeds; are Shepherd's Purse and Bittercress, we have seen quite a bit of each this winter.

Interestingly enough both of these winter weeds are edible. We often will find these in salads especially bittercress. It not unusual to find varieties of Shepherd's more than 12" across. This winter has so far been a perfect environment for Shepherd's purse. Usually we only find Shepherd purse in the spring..but this winter has been a bit different. SP is a variety of mustard green. It only takes about 10 minutes and there is a 75% shrinkage rate. Most people do not find SP to be very tasty. Try the leaves in a salad. There are plenty of stories about SP but very few of the stories have be proven. One would think that proving that SP acts as an astringent as well as a reducer of fertility.

Well, however you look at Shepherd's Purse, a weed is a weed is a weed! Patience is the key as this weed will die off in the heat of the summer. Best solution: cut it off at the ground with a hoe or simply pull it up!

Bittercress

Part of the family of the cresses, bittercress is also edible. Actually, if you cut the cress before it has a chance to flower it is very tasty cooked as a green with seasonings. Bittercress is an annual weed and often grows in wet poorly drained areas. Most people find bittercress to be tasty as an additional green in a salad.

Unfortunately for a lawn, bittercress is an eyesore. If left alone it is not unusual for this weed to get rather tall. Plants will generally have 4 to 10 stem leaves. As the flower pods mature the plant will become very bitter and is not tasty at all. Control usually is simply to pull the weed from the ground.

Try not to allow the bittercress reach full maturity as the seed pods will actually "explode" and seed the seeds away from the plant thus assuring more plants for the next year.

Our area has had an abnormally high amount of water this year. The excess water, poor soils and drainage has resulted in more winter weeds than we have seen for many years. If you are over urn with any of the winter weeds: henbit, chickweed, Shepherd's Purse, bittercress or Nettle, give Blades of Green a call. We will be happy to come out and help you develop a comprehensive approach to weed management on your property.

Purple Dead Nettle

This is a noxious weed that germinates in late fall and continues to grow all winter. Generally, it is difficult to treat. This weed will die off in late spring but will return the following winter as it is a winter perennial. Nettle is easy to pull up It is sometimes misidentified as Henbit.

Henbit has deeper purple flowers, more rounded leaves and the leaves have no stems ( leaves grow out of main stem, nettle leaves are on a stem). Both are winter weeds that will die back when warm weather arrives. The most likely place you will find Nettle is in you flower beds and along the driveway, patio and walk ways.

When you see nettle your first inclination is to call the office. Our answer, in the winter, is patience, Nearly all the winter weeds will die back as soon as warm weather arrives, If you really find the presence of nettle to be an eyesore (as I do) you can take a warm winter day and use a hoe to cut off the weeds.

Henbit

The similarities between purple nettle and henbit are striking. However, a weed is a weed. Both of these weeds are perennial or bi-annual and will return to your flower beds in decreasing quantity if you are on a tree and shrub program.

Weed seeds are always present in the soil and whenever the soil is disturbed some of the seeds will germinate in your yard or flower beds.

Now that you know more about the types of weeds in Maryland, it’s time to learn about how to control them.

How to Take Care of Weeds in Maryland

Weed control is always a primary concern for many local Maryland gardeners and homeowners, especially now as the spring season is finally here. Roundup and other chemical substances may appear to be the weapon of choice against weeds, but many experts have spoken out against the use of chemicals by homeowners since they can seep into produce. Even worse, many of these substances eventually make their way into the local water supply. There are less expensive and more effective methods homeowners can utilize for effective weed control in Maryland than Roundup. 

A Thick Lawn Will Crowd Out Weeds

Keeping your lawn thick and healthy will keep the weeds from overrunning your lawn. Adding ground cover plants is a great method for crowding out weeds in decorative beds. Reseeding and overseeding is also a great way to keep weeds at bay. Weeds take advantage of open areas and available resources; eliminate these, and you’re well on your way to rolling up that weed welcome mat for good.

Ensure Your Soil is Nutrient-Laden

You can make sure that your existing plants continue to crowd out weeds by keeping the plants you want healthy. Aerated soil that is well-drained will ensure this happens. You can also test your soil and talk to a local specialist in Maryland to develop an optimal fertilization plan. Although weeds can grow in any soil, soil improvements can help level the playing field between the plants you want and the weeds you don’t.

Use Organic Mulch for Garden Beds

Mulch is probably the most important factor in controlling weeds. Bark and other decorative mulches work to prevent weed growth by blocking light. Most professionals agree that organic mulches are the way to go. These types of mulch help improve soil structure and add nutrients to the soil. Mulch can also keep the soil cool and reduce water loss due to evaporation!

The Blades of Green Solution to Weeds

Several years ago Blades of Green began the development of a program to deal with weeds that was effective and as safe as we could make the process.

We have discovered that an application of a weed preventer, along with monthly applications of an herbicide designed for the majority of weeds can eliminate as much as 80-90% of the weeds. I can tell you that there are happy campers knowing that a job that could take as much as 10-15 hours per week is now an every other week chore for an hour or two.

Blades of Green will come out for a spring spruce up of your property (you know: give the shrubs a "haircut", get rid of winter debris, add some fresh mulch). You really don't want the shrubs getting out of control as you will end up with what we call creeping, encroaching bed: the bed is re-edged each year and each year the bed can literally grow further out into the yard (more mulch and more cost!). This is the time we will apply the weed preventer. After the preventer is applied, we arrive at your home every 30 days to spray any visible weeds through October.

 

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