Dandelion and thistle on a block paving driveway

Weeds are pesky pests that can take over your garden and lawn if you’re not careful. Weeds are plants that grow in places where they’re not wanted.

If left uncontrolled, weeds can quickly take over your garden or lawn, making it difficult to grow anything healthy.

They can be a problem for homeowners, gardeners, farmers and landlords because they compete with desirable plants for sunlight, water and nutrients. Weeds also make it difficult to walk through the area or tend to the area’s plants without accidentally uprooting them.

Our Concise Guide to Understanding Weeds is the perfect solution for anyone looking to get a better understanding of these pesky weeds. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about identifying and controlling weeds in your landscape.

What are weeds?

Weeds can be found in nearly every environment on Earth. They are plants growing in locations where they are unwanted. While many weeds serve as valuable food and habitat for wildlife, most homeowners want to keep them out of their yards. They can ruin landscaping, choke crops, hurt livestock, clog waterways and overtake native plants if not managed properly.

Weeds can be a nuisance and can take over an area very quickly. Many people think of weeds as simply plants that are growing in the wrong place, but there is more to it than that. Weeds are actually very resilient plants and they have some unique properties that allow them to thrive in difficult environments. In order to effectively control weeds, you need to know a little more about what they are and how they grow.

Weeds have been around for a very long time, and because of this, there are several different types. In general, you can divide them into two categories:

  • broad leaf
  • grassy weeds

Broadleaf weeds tend to be larger plants while grassy weeds are much smaller. Many of the grassy types are actually considered to be annuals, which means they grow up from seed each spring and last only one year. Annual weeds can be very difficult to control because they have a new crop every single year. Some examples of these types of weeds include crabgrass, dandelions, amaranth, and pigweed.

Broadleaf weeds

Broadleaf weeds can be annuals or perennials. Perennial weeds live for three or more years and produce seeds each year to start a new crop. Like annuals, they can grow from seed as well as underground root structures. Some examples of perennial broad leaf weeds include poison ivy, thistle, ground ivy, and many others.

Grassy weeds

Grassy weeds are small plants that often have thin leaf blades. They tend to be less woody in nature than broad leaves and generally do not produce a thick root or underground structure. There are several different types of grassy weeds including annuals and perennials, but one thing they all have in common is that they are very small. Some examples of grass weeds include crabgrass, foxtails, lamb’s quarter, and Johnson grass.   

Spraying <a href=
Spraying weed killer herbicide to control unwanted plants and grass in a garden

Different types of weeds

Perennial weeds need to be dealt with each year because even if you get rid of them one season, they will grow back in the next season unless you take precautions against new seed formation. There are two types of perennial weed:

  • those that produce flowers (annuals)
  • those that do not flower (perennials)

Annuals must be killed every year because the plant lives for just one growing season. Perennials are more difficult to deal with because they live for several seasons, and the root system is still alive even if you cut all of the vegetation off.

How to identify common types of weeds

There are several types of common weeds found in yards and other landscaped areas. The most common are broadleaf plants like dandelions, plantains, chickweed and clover. Grassy weeds include crabgrass, Bermuda grass and orchard grass. There are also several invasive species that grow in water or along shorelines including Japanese knotweed.

Weeds are plants that grow in the wrong place. They compete with crops for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Quite simply, weeds can ruin your garden, farm, small-holding or yard. Getting rid of them is important for maintaining healthy soil and a bountiful harvest.

Crabgrass

Crabgrass is a summer annual grass that has just recently germinated and is making its first leaves. It grows in clumps and crowds out more desirable turf grasses such as fescue, bermudagrass, and zoysia. The seeds can survive even long periods of drought. To stop crabgrass from growing, make sure your lawn gets enough water.

Bindweed

Bindweed has white flowers that open during the day and then close up at night. Bindweed can injure or kill by wrapping tightly around the bare stems of other plants. It also produces underground shoots that you often don’t notice until they are 6 to 8 inches long. The disease is difficult to control. Pulling out the plants as soon as they are noticed is the only way to kill bindweed.

Buttercup

Buttercups, with their yellow flowers, spread rapidly by underground stems. It’s best to pull these weeds out as soon as you see them because they grow quickly and form dense mats of vegetation that compete with long-term lawn grasses. The best time to pull buttercups is when they are young before they send out their long creeping underground stems. They should be pulled while the soil is moist so the roots don’t break off and leave an unappealing brown stub on your lawn. If you use a glyphosate-based herbicide on the buttercups, it’s likely they will be more resistant to it in subsequent years.

Dandelions

Dandelions, with their iconic yellowish-white flowers, are common weeds that most often grow on lawns and fields. They usually thrive after applications of nitrogen fertilizer, which gives them more nutrients to spread through their seeds. The best time to dig out dandelions is in early spring, while they are still small. They can be pulled out by their taproots or cut off at the base of their stems. For best results, do it before the flower buds appear.

Chickweeds

Chickweeds spread quickly by seed-like fruits called achenes. It’s difficult to get rid of because it often grows well in compacted soils, but it doesn’t stick up as tall as dandelions or buttercups. You can use a mower to cut the grass down to about half an inch and then pull out the weed by hand. If you’re not able to remove them all, glyphosate herbicides will usually kill those that remain.

Using a hand tool to remove an unwanted weeds
Using a hand tool to remove unwanted weeds

General Characteristics of weeds

Weeds are usually characterized by aggressive growth, rapid reproduction and competitive ability for resources. They produce an abundance of seeds easily spread by the wind or water. The more sunlight weeds get, the faster they grow. As long as they have adequate moisture, weeds will continue growing even when other plants go dormant due to lack of water.

Prevention and Control Preventing weeds from growing in your yard or garden is the best way to control them. Keep lawns short for maximum sunlight, which helps kill weed seeds. Remove leaves left over from autumn that can harbour dormant seeds. Make sure all flowerbeds are completely covered with mulch or solid material to prevent weed seeds from taking root. Weeds growing in gardens or flower beds can be pulled by hand, dug up with a shovel or hoe, or sprayed with herbicide.

The benefits of removing weeds from your property

One of the benefits of removing weeds from your property is that it can make you more mindful.

When weeding, our attention must be on the work at hand. We have to watch closely for buried roots and other hazards below ground level. We also have to pay close attention to what’s going on around us: a child could wander into a field where they might get hurt or an animal might appear out of nowhere and cause us harm.

This kind of focused awareness has been shown in studies to activate parts of the brain associated with happiness, such as the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus, which are involved in feelings such as empathy and compassion.

And when we’re happy or even just happier than usual, we tend to take better care of ourselves. In other words, weeding can make you a healthier and happier person!

In conclusion

Weeds are a part of life. They can be pesky and frustrating, but they also have their place in the world. By understanding weeds and their role in nature, we can better manage them and keep them from taking over our gardens and landscapes.

If you’re looking for more information on how to deal with these plants, check out some of the resources we have listed on this website, such as the Weeds A to Z.

Want to know more about weeds?

Knotweed Removal aims to provide the most up-to-date information, help and advice for YOU to make informed decisions. If you are unsure or uncertain about how to proceed, please reach out to us and we will gladly come back and advise you as best we can.

Governmental advice can be found here and the UK law covering the removal of Japanese Knotweed as stated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 can be found here.

The best means to contact us is via our email – hello@knotweedremoval.tips

Do not forget we have a library of blogs covering many areas relevant to Japanese Knotweed, our free downloadable How-to Guides and Product Reviews on the latest methods being employed to eradicate or remove Japanese Knotweed.

Knotweed Removal, UK

Bestseller No. 1
Walensee Weed Puller, Stand Up Weeder Hand Tool, Long Handle Garden Weeding Tool with 3 Claws, Hand Weed Hound Weed Puller for Dandelion, Standup Weed Root Pulling Tool and Picker, Grabber (1 Pack)
  • ☘ Standup Weeding Tool For A Better Gardening Experience: Get rid of weeds without risking your back with this long handled lawn weeding tool. The 39” tall handle lets you uproot the weeds without having to bend over or go down to your knees. The foot pedal lets you put enough force on the gardening weed extractor to penetrate the ground and grab the whole weed, including the roots, so it doesn’t grow back. It is good tools for your garden, backyard, frontyard landscaping
  • ☘ Pointed 3 Claw Design Suitable For Different Soil Types: Three 2.75” Steel teeth are long enough to efficiently uproot grass roots. Please keep stand-up, simply push the tines into the roots of the weeds/flower/grass, let the tine grasps grass roots, tilt to one side and pull out the weed and release the grass. The tool is workable for crabgrass, thistle, tap root, crab grass, taproot, plantain, clover, burdock, bush etc
  • ☘ Durable And High Strength Materials: This weed removing tool is made from durable stainless high strength steel. This is a durable stainless steel garden weed puller, so you don't have to buy another weeder.
  • ☘ Labor Saving: Effortlessly pull weeds from your garden without having to bend down or kneel. When you use the weeder to uproot grass/flower which can assure minimum fatigue. It is really a good gift for grandfather, grandmother, grandpa, grandma, father, Mother, husband and wife,
  • ☘ 100% Money Back Guarantee: If you are not completely satisfied with our weeder tool, you'll get every penny refunded to you, no questions asked. Walensee is 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.
Bestseller No. 2
Weed Brush Long Handle for Cleaning Patios, Block Paving and Driveway − Patio Weed Remover Tool with Angled Paving Brush Wire Bristles, 120cm Handle and Blade Scraper to Remove Weeds and Moss Build-Up
  • Effective Block Paving Weeding Tool – Clean up your patios, garden, block paving and driveway with this sturdy patio brush wire. The combination of weed brush wire bristles, steel blade scraper and long handle makes this ideal driveway cleaning tool. The angled bristles of the block paving brush perfectly fit in the cracks and spaces in between the patio paving stones to remove all unwanted moss and weeds.
  • Patio Cleaner Brush with Angled Brass Bristles −The patio weed brush head has 3 rows of triangle-shaped brass bristles that are strongly attached to the wooden body. The great and sturdy design of this patio scrubbing brush will stand up to the most demanding jobs even with the heavy growth of weeds. The slanted metal bristles of this patio wire brush allow a targeted cleaning for corners and gaps in between driveways and paving slabs.
  • Comes with Metal Blade Weed Scraper – This patio cleaning brush comes with a metal blade scraper that supports removing deep-rooted weeds without the need to use additional tools. Loosen up the stubborn build-up of weeds using this blade scraper then use the block paving cleaner brush to finish the job.
  • Long and Strong Wooden Handle − No more backache when cleaning your patios, gardens and driveways with this pavement weeding tool. The weed remover tool long handle measures 120cm and is made from high-quality of wood. The handle is sturdy enough so you can apply pressure when cleaning. This long handled wire brush can also be used access hard to reach places like roofing or walls.
  • Eco-friendly Weed Remover Tool for Block Paving – Aside from the wooden materials used, this patio brush with handle promotes traditional cleaning and 100% environment friendly. No need for high-pressure hoses and pesticides that harm nature. This weed brush is indeed a resource-saving, effective, chemical-free and safe weeding method.
Bestseller No. 3
Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Stainless Steel Handle/Plastic Handle, Black/Orange, 1020126
  • Weed puller for weed control with a diameter of max. 4 cm, For a sustainable and environmentally friendly weed control, Ideal for the extraction of dandelions, thistles, nettles and other root crops in loose soils, vegetable garden or garden
  • Traps the roots of the weeds between the claws of the weed puller (up to 10 cm underground), Extracts the plant along with its roots thanks to a patented mechanism of claws, With a little pressure on the handle the claws open and the weeds are released straight into a waiting wheelbarrow and off the lawn
  • Work in an upright position: No strain on the muscles and shoulders thanks to the long handle, Practical non-slip handle for a better hold
  • Handy foot pedal to push down the weed puller, Long life thanks to stainless steel claws and sturdy plastic handle (fiberglass), Easy to clean with water, Finnish design
  • Contents: 1x Fiskars Xact Weed Puller, Length: 1 m, Diameter: 3 cm, Weight: 950 g, Material: Stainless Steel/Plastic, Colour: Black/Orange, 1020126
Bestseller No. 4
Colwelt Garden Weed Puller and Root Removal Tool, Stand Up Weeder with Foot Pedal, Step and Twist Manual Weeder 102cm(Combo Pack - Stand Up Weeder & Hand Weeder& Garden Gloves)
  • CHEMICAL FREE WEEDING: Combo Pack- 102cm Stand Up Weeder + 36cm Hand Weed Puller + Garden Gloves. This fantastic Root Removal Tool set gives you the power to take back your lawn without back-breaking labor or harmful chemicals. It is effective, efficient, and best of all cost-effective!
  • DURABLE STRONG-STEEL DESIGN: This stand up weed puller tool is made from durable high strength carbon steel, weather and rust resistant, make sure it is super strong and durable for long years use. The foot pedal is also steel, unlike plastic pedal, is more strong and durable.
  • SAVES YOUR BACK & KNEES: 102cm weeder puller with long handle, lets you effortlessly uproot the weeds without having to bend over or go down to your knees, eliminates sore knees from kneeling and back ache from bending and stooping. It is really a manual weeder for grandpa, grandma, father, mother, husband and wife or any one needed.
  • GET TO THE ROOTS: Long(10cm) and sharp stainless steel prongs can firmly grab weeds and roots from all soil types. The weeder puller is effective on dandelions, crabgrass, thistle, tap root, crab grass, taproot, plantain, clover, burdock, etc.
  • EASY TO USE: Just keep you upright, center over weed, simply push prongs into the root system of a weed with your foot, rotate handle 180-degrees, and extract the weed, roots and all! Then simply push on the thumb release to pop the weed plug from the tines. This is great for composting and eliminates cleanup.
SaleBestseller No. 5
2PC PATIO WEED MOSS REMOVER Garden Paving Brick Drive Clean Tools HEAVY DUTY SET
  • 2 patio weed remover set.
  • Easy to use
  • Ideal for the removal of grass, moss and weeds
  • Ensure a efficient work
  • Specially shaped blades

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