My A-Z of Weeds

This is more for my own reference really and so here is my A-Z of common weeds I come across, their characteristics and some pictures so you can recognise your enemy and how to deal with them.

Annual Meadow Grass – Poa annua

Annual Meadow Grass – Poa annua
  • Stem 15-20cm high
  • Annual – produces up to 2,000 seeds from April and September
  • Hand weed or hoe
  • Often found in lawns and so cannot be controlled with weed killer

Chickweed – Stellaria media

  • Low growing, spreads up to 30cm
  • Ephemeral (several generations per year)
  • Can germinate during winter and flowers in early spring.
  • Seeds can remain dormant for up to 40 years
  • Hand weed, hoe, mulch or weed-killer
  • https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=1011

Cleavers (goosegrass) – Galium aparine

  • Likes moist soil and can climb up over 1m
  • Annual – flowering between June and August – germinating in the autumn
  • All parts hairy including seeds and so stick to anything moving
  • Hand weed or weed killer
  • Compost if not flowering otherwise Brown Bin

Couch grass – Elymus repens

Creeping buttercup – Ranunculus repens

  • Common in beds and lawns
  • Perennial – height 15-30cm, spreads up to 1m per year
  • Seeds (germinate from Mar-Nov) and stolons produced during flowering (May-Jun)
  • Hand weed, hoe or weed-killer
  • https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=784

Dandelion – Taraxacum officinalis

Field bindweed – Convolvulus arvensis

  • Coming soon!

Groundsel – Senecio vulgaris

  • Up to 30cm
  • Ephemeral (up to 3 cycles p/year)
  • Wind spread (so far and wide!)
  • Hand weed, hoe, mulch or weed killer

Ground elder – Aegopodium podagraria

  • Clump forming
  • Height up to 45cm, spread up to 1m
  • Perennial
  • Spreads by seeds and rhizomes
  • Weed killer is best solution as roots are brittle

Hairy bittercress – Cardamine hirsute

  • Height 15cm
  • Flowers in March so must be removed before it can set seed.
  • Seeds thrown up to 90cm away
  • Ephemeral (so several generations per year)
  • Seedlings can survive over winter
  • Hand weed, hoe, mulch or weed-killer

Hedge bindweed – Calystegia sepium

  • Large heart shaped leaves and white trumpet flowers
  • Small sections of root can produce growth
  • Produces seeds infrequently but viability is many years
  • Barrier control, digging out, frequent hoeing or weed killer after training up closely placed canes

Ribwort plantain – Plantago lanceolate

  • Often indicates compacted soil and tolerate dry conditions
  • Perennial
  • Rosette of leaves with stems up to 30cm. Shallow roots
  • Seeds
  • Flowers from Jun-Oct so needs dealing with in advance
  • Hand weed or weed killer

Shepherd’s Purse – Capsella bursa-pastoris

  • Height 45cm
  • Ephemeral (several generations per year)
  • Seeds can remain dormant for up to 30 years
  • Hand weed, hoe, mulch or weed-killer

Speedwell – Veronica persica

  • Low growing up to 30cm long
  • Annual – flowers between April and September producing up to 2,000 seeds
  • Can germinate all year round
  • Hand weed, hoe, mulch or weed-killer

Stinging nettle – Urtica dioica

  • Height up to 1m and spreads up to 1m per year
  • Perennial
  • Spreads by seeds and rhizomes
  • Dig out or use weed killer
  • Flowers between June and September so remove before then
  • Seeds can remain dormant for several years

Yarrow – Achillea millefolium

  • Very low growing
  • Perennial
  • Spreads by seeds and rhizomes and out-competes grass
  • Loves drought conditions (so it was very prolific during the 2018 summer) or soil with little by way of nutrients
  • Very difficult to remove once established in a lawn.
  • Hand weed, hoe in beds or use a targeted weedkiller to treat a lawn