Warm temperatures and moist soil are all it takes to help weeds invade your garden, lawn, and landscape. Fighting weeds is a constant battle, but it is much easier while they are young and vulnerable.
Shakespeare gave some excellent gardening advice in his play Richard II, when he told us, "One year's seeds is seven year's weeds." Once a weed takes hold and start reproducing, your work level will compound exponentially!
Now, before we get started, let’s be clear about what a weed is and what it isn’t. According to Gallagher, “If you pull it out and it grows back, it’s a weed.” I’ve always said, "A weed is a plant that grows after you try to kill it,” and there are only two ways to get rid of weeds: the Hard Way and the Hard Way.
Weeds are some tenacious opponents. They have evolved to go to seed in a matter of only days after emerging from the soil. Their stems and roots are brittle, so part of them is left behind to continue after you try to pull them out.
Why get rid of weeds?
There are many reasons for getting rid of weeds:
• Weeds take up valuable soil nutrients and precious water
• Weeds can carry plant diseases
• Weeds can block sunlight
• Some weeds (foxtail) can harm pets
• Invasive weeds push native plants to extinction
The Hard Way and the Hard Way of weed removal
All too often, we opt for the quick fix. Spray chemicals on it and its gone, right? Well, that’s mostly true. What it also means is that those sprays leave behind a residue that can take years to go away. These chemicals end up in your food and the water supply. Bad plan.
The other Hard Way simply means taking the time to remove every bit of each weed you come across and to check for weeds every single day. The only way to do that is to spend time in the garden and to learn about the most common weeds in your area.
Common Bay Area weeds
More common weeds (click on the picture to learn more)
If you are unsure about a potential weed in your garden, post pictures in the Comments section and we can work together to identify it!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!