How to deal with weeds in the garden? – Low Calorie Diets Tips

Weeds and weed management are an inescapable aspect of garden life. There are 195 different species in Sonoma County, a large number of which inhabit our various gardens.

Weeds have many faces and shapes. Different weeds grow in each season and are adapted to specific climate zones. There are annual spring weeds like the prolific small grass Poa annua and summer weeds like the vigorous and tall foxtail (amaranth) and perennial weeds like buckhorn. Some onions are weeds like the pesky yellow-flowered oxalis that are so difficult to get rid of.

Weeds also have soil preferences. Some are found in clay soils, while others prefer well-drained and dry soils. Others like it moist or even compact like dock and plantain.

Weeds also take root in a completely different way. While some have extensive shallow fibrous roots from stems that root to the soil surface, like spring henbit (which chickens eagerly eat) and chickweed (which some people eat), others like mallow have very strong taproots.

Weeds spread in different ways. There are species that spread via underground rhizomes, such as B. Bermuda grass, while others travel through ridges that cling to our clothing or dog fur, such as B. the California Burclover. Hairy bittercress has exploding seed pods that propel seeds into our eyes and far away.

Many of us are familiar with seeds floating through the air in much the same way from weeds like dandelion, but there are others with similar airborne but less spectacular seed dispersal mechanisms. These include ragwort, prickly thistle or prickly lettuce. Weeds are not usually native plants and some of our garden plants can be prone to weeding within the borders of our gardens if conditions are right.

Get to know your weed

How can we manage all the different weeds and weed species that are present in the area and in and around our gardens to minimize numbers and prevent further spread?

It can be helpful and even interesting to learn about your garden weeds. A good nationwide resource is the UCANR UC IPM Weed Photo Gallery with the nationwide IPM program. IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, a method of controlling garden and agricultural pests through natural management of insect populations. This resource includes many, but not all, of weed species commonly found in California farms and landscapes.

A handy 630-page reference book is Thomas Wilson’s Weeds of the West, published by the Western Society of Weed Science. Each entry includes color photos, a detailed description, details of where the weedy plant came from, where it grows, and other pertinent information. Some of the plants are native but are considered undesirable in certain locations such as hayfields or pastures. Turning the page will reveal many familiar faces. It is a good book to have on hand for those interested in plants and ecosystems.

There is no such thing as a permanently weed-free garden or environment. While you can keep your garden almost weed-free, there will always be intruders. Seeds from those that sway in the breeze or in the wind, such as dandelion or tree of heaven (Ailianthus), will arrive in your garden over time. If you spend just a few minutes scouring your yard looking for seedlings every few weeks, removing them becomes easy.

There are a number of ways to manage gardens to make weeding easier. Early weeding is crucial. Some weeds like grasses—both annual and perennial—have extensive roots. Pulling them when they are big is a lot more work than removing them when they are small. Large grasses have extensive root systems and take up a lot of soil when removed. Digging up a small patch of Bermuda grass doesn’t take much time, but a large one is a daunting task. Others like mallow, sorrel and prostate knotweed have very strong taproots. Removal becomes extremely difficult as the season progresses, especially when the soil is dry.

Catch bedstraw has sticky, clingy leaves and stems that stick severely to gloves and clothing and are very annoying (but not particularly difficult) to remove. Pulling the plants when they are small makes the task much easier. In contrast, the bristly foxtail, Setaria verticillata, a tall annual summer grass, has highly adhesive seed heads that permanently cling to gloves (and even shoelaces) making them unwearable, and worse, tangle in the fur of dogs, especially those Poodles, crossbreeds and long haired breeds like Golden Retrievers. But the ultimate bad actor when it comes to dog fur is the prickly, prickly, big-seeded common burdock, native to Europe. Seed heads of both must be quickly trimmed from the fur as they effectively tangle the hairs down to the skin in a dense impenetrable mass.

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