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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Weeds: Friends or foes?

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Joyce Friels

Local Gardening


What is a weed? The dictionary definition of a weed: ‘a plant that tends to grow thickly where it is not wanted and chokes out more desirable plants’. A weed can be considered any plant that grows rampantly and not desired in the yard. There are annual weeds and perennial weeds. Annual weeds survive one year and die but they reseed themselves to grow the next year. Perennial weeds survive from year to year much like perennial flowers, in the spring and in the fall.

There are two types of weeds: grassy weeds which are more difficult to identify and broadleaf weeds. Grassy weeds are actually true grasses. They have long narrow leaves such as Johnson grass, crabgrass and nut grass. Broadleaf weeds are plants from different families. Many are annuals but some are perennials. These are easier to identify because of their showy blooms.

One type of grassy weeds is Dallisgrass, a low-growing clumpy grass. Crabgrass and grass burs (sandburs) are warm season annual grasses. Winter grasses are annuals. Johnson grass and nut grass are perennial weeds. Broad leaf weeds are not grasses, they are from other families. Most have broad leaves and many have showy flowers. Types of broad leaf weeds are clover, dandelions, henbit and chickweed. Broad leafs thrive in disturbed soil and cover bare ground quickly.

Some annual weeds that reseed to bloom again are considered annual flowers by some gardeners, such as the cornflower (bachelor’s button) and oxeye daisy. These are members of the sunflower family. One member of the sunflower family, the Maximillian Sunflower, is welcomed in some gardens but not in others. This sunflower grows profusely and is considered a wildflower in Central Texas.

Weeds grow faster than lawn grasses and can make lawns look untidy and unhealthy. Weeds can spread plant diseases as insects move from one plant to another. Learn about the weeds in your yard. When you know which weeds are unwanted, you can find the proper tool to eliminate them. Be selective when purchasing any herbicide to remove the unwanted weeds. You don’t want to wipe out your lawn grass or any other plants you want in your yard. The best time to apply a product to get rid of spring growing weeds is during October and November. For weeds that emerge in the fall apply the product in the spring months.


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