To weed or not to weed is not the question—weeds, like taxes, are inevitable. Those pesky critters feel right at home in your yard, since they normally don’t have diseases, insects or animals to help control them. Because it’s next to impossible to have a weed-free landscape, keeping them in check is the next best thing. Weeds strip the soil of needed water & nutrients; and the more aggressive types can push out desired plants.
So where do weeds come from, and what can you do about these nuisances that mar your beautiful landscape? Weeds can be blown on the wind, deposited by birds, carried along by rain or fall off of animal fur. Some types of weeds can even come from urban sidewalks!
What do we classify as a weed exactly? The New Oxford American Dictionary defines it as a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. Sometimes even grass can be considered a weed if it shows up in unwanted areas.
Common types of weeds found in Los Angeles are: goosefoot or nettle-leaf, knotweed (it grows out of your sidewalk!), spotted spurge (natural enemy of decomposed granite), dandelions and who could forget good old crabgrass?
If you see weeds sprouting up in your yard, priority number one is to get them out early before they have a chance to take over. This is especially true with weeds like dandelions, although it is worth noting if you have a dandelion problem in your lawn it’s probably too thin or undernourished. While spot spraying along walkways or problem areas with a herbicide can be effective, the only surefire way to guarantee weeds won’t return is to pull them before they grow too big and entangle themselves with other plants in your garden. Upside? Some weeds are edible! Goosefoot has tastes similar to lettuce and can be cooked like spinach in a nice saute´.
If one area is overrun with weeds or you want to redo part of your landscape with plants in gravel or mulch, one effective solution is laying down a weed barrier. Artificial turf is another good alternative to lawn troubles.
The saying that nothing grows like weeds is unfortunately true. Since they’re like plants on steroids, it’s no wonder they’re a constant problem.