Is This A Weed? Part 2

Is This A Weed? Part 2

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the garden… here are a few more weeds to be on the lookout for in your garden.

Here are two more common weeds seen in Cape Cod Gardens. The large leaves on top are Phytolacca americana, or American pokeweed. Pokeweed is actually grown as a dramatic perennial in gardens elsewhere, but in the Northeast it’s considered a weed. Pokeweed can grow to seven or eight feet tall and six feet wide given enough moisture. Birds love the berries, and the pink stems, black berries and white flowers make a stunning display if you leave them in the landscape. If you don’t want the plant, however, pull it when it’s young because the tap root is difficult to dig! Black nightshade is also ubiquitous in most areas. You can easily recognize this plant, Solanum americanum, because it is usually filled with holes from insect damage.
Horseweed, also called marestail (Conyza canadensis), is a common weed throughout much of the United States. The young foliage is so attractive that many assume it must be a desirable perennial.

Prompt hand pulling is the fastest way to get rid of these weeds if you need them gone, so keep a sharp eye out and snatch them from the garden when they appear. They are good in wild areas, however, and many of them feed the birds and shelter insects.

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  1. Melody Masi on August 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

    I loved reading about these weeds that I’ve known as familiar friends for years. Smartweed can be used like a soil health barometer. The bigger and lusher it looks, the better your soil. I leave mine because the lovely deep pink seeds are cherished by my chickens.

    I wonder if the black nightshade might not be red root pigweed. I have lots of that in my garden, too.


  2. Priscilla on August 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I found your pictures of weeds very informative. Thanks!

  3. Anne Mazzola on August 22, 2014 at 10:53 am

    What is the name of the best weed killer,
    especially the ones that come up through a brick walk?

    • CLFornari on August 22, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      It depends on what weed you’re killing, and what else is growing around it. If you come into the store and bring a photo of the weeds you have in your brick wall we’re happy to help you find the best product for your situation.

  4. Jane on August 22, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Thank you for your quick guide to common weeds with interesting & quotable facts. Who knew that there was actually a thumb smudge on the “Smartweed” leaf (aka Lady’s Thumb??

    Besides my rock labels by herbs & flowers, trees…perhaps I ought to label the weeds.
    The weeds OUTSIDE the garden which someone once accused me of “cultivating.”
    I do this for the birds & wildlife who belong to the gardenscape.

    With A Gardenful of Thanks, Jane

  5. doug miller on August 2, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Prickly lettuce or Pilewort?

    • CLFornari on August 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

      Right you are, Doug! Thanks for picking that up. I’ve changed the photo’s caption.

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