What is that WEED?!?

What is that WEED?!?

In July the weeds explode in most landscapes. Sometimes we recognize that these are weeds, and other times we wonder if what we’re seeing is a valuable or interesting plant. Here is a photo of a random patch in a Cape Cod garden, with the plants that were growing there labeled.

Here is a random area in a Cape Cod garden where several weeds have sprouted and grown. The following photos show what these weeds are called…and shortly after this photo was taken these plants were pulled out of the garden!
This succulent weed is purslane. It is one of the hot-weather weeds. Discourage its growth with an inch or two of mulch. Some choose to pick the leaves and toss them in salads or as a crunchy topping in cold summer soups.
Crabgrass grows in hot dry places as well. Discourage this plant from growing in the lawn by beefing up the turf so that it’s thick and growing in well-amended soil. Mulch in a garden bed will help keep crabgrass away as well.
Vetch is a ferny leaf with a root system that rivals the Verizon network. It’s a hard weed to get rid of because even when you pull it out the roots remain.
Spotted spurge is one of the heat-loving, summer weeds. You’ll frequently see this growing in cracks of patios or walkways, and along driveways. It’s easy to pull since it has a
Lamb’s quarter, also called white goosefoot and Chenopodium album, is a common summer weed. It grows tall, and is cultivated in some pats of the world as an edible plant.
Heath asters are one of the prettier weeds we have on Cape Cod, and they are good to leave as wildflowers in some gardens because they are great pollinator support plants.
Goldenrod is another wildflower/weed that should be left whenever possible. It’s one of the “keystone” plants for pollinator and other insect support. Goldenrod is also a pretty, fall-flowering perennial. It does not cause hay fever, so don’t worry that it will irritate your allergies.
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  1. Debbi K on July 31, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Thank you for these pictures and identification. It really helps to know what the names of the weeds are and what they look like. Great info. Love to see more of this.

  2. Dirty Gertie's Gardening on August 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for the pictures, very helpful! So many weeds so little time! 😉

  3. Chris on August 7, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Thanks for this – I don’t pull up my purslane, but put it in salads and pickle it. I was told that purslane has lots of health benefits – ??

  4. Dianne on August 7, 2014 at 11:21 am

    The weed I hate the most is the spotted spurge. We do all the appropriate applications. We have even done additional spraying “Weed Be Gone”. The only thing that works is pulling it out by hand. Any magic cure? This weed is insidious.

    I love looking at all the tips.

  5. katherine on August 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Ditto Debbie K!

  6. sally b on August 7, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks, it is great to know the names, and I recently was told at an organic farm that purslane is great to saute and is one of the most inclusive proteins out there. I am letting a little patch grow extra large and will try it. hmmmm

  7. Mary on August 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Vinegar works great. Had spurge and other weeds in rock river. Sprayed it with vinegar today looked all shriveled up. Do it on a warm sunny day spray it well

    • CLFornari on August 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Vinegar will only knock down some weeds but doesn’t kill the roots. The vinegar that’s used in commercially prepared herbicides is a different strength than that sold in supermarkets. You will still need to pull most of those vinegar-sprayed weeds.

  8. Naomi Just on August 8, 2014 at 5:42 am

    It’s great to know the names of these little devils so I know what to call them as I pull them out by their persistent bothersome roots!!! Is it just me, or is the crabgrass getting out of hand this season? Maybe what I’m noticing is not crabgrass, but some other wild grass. It’s rampant. I see it everywhere and it’s taking over great areas of what used to be lawn, not just in my yard, but everywhere in Plymouth. Thanks for the commentary, not just on identifying weeds, but living life in the 21st century.

  9. Julie on September 13, 2014 at 9:22 am

    What is the best way to handle all the crabgrass I see this season? Pre-emergent was applied in the early spring. Sometimes I resort to pulling, but then the lawn becomes quite uneven making mowing quite an adventure! Suggestions??

    • CLFornari on September 13, 2014 at 9:38 am

      When was the pre-emergent applied and was it corn gluten? Corn gluten has proven not to provide the crabgrass control that was originally hoped for that organic approach. If you used a chemical pre-emergent it would have worked if applied at the right time of year. Next season come into the store and talk to Chris Stokes, Nan or Craig for the best information on timing.

      This fall, be sure to collect your grass clippings as you mow so fewer seeds will go back into the soil. Other than hand pulling, there isn’t a great way to treat now. But when you pull it, scatter a bit of grass seed in that area to beef up your lawn in the bare spots!

  10. Julie on September 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

    It was corn gluten! Oh well, so much for the organic approach for crabgrass. Thank you for the suggestion of collecting clippings and spreading grass seed. Will talk with Country Garden folks next season.

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