How to Identify Weeds in Your Garden

how to identify weeds

Did you know that a weed is simply a plant that’s in the wrong place? And yet, weeds make us gardeners very frustrated because it’s a never-ending job of removing them from our flowerbeds and vegetable gardens.

You may spend an hour or an entire afternoon pulling weeds. Your back’s sore, you’re profusely sweating because it’s July, and you need iced tea now!

Then, you walk out to your vegetable garden the next day or two to admire your handiwork, only to see more weeds taking the place of the pulled ones.

What in the world happened?

Why It’s Important to Know Your Weeds

It’s essential to know how to identify weeds because these pesky plants have different ways of spreading. Some weeds, such as nutsedge, have three different ways of reproducing: through seed, nutlets (tiny tubers in the root area), and rhizomes (roots).

You also need to know how to identify weeds to understand how to effectively get rid of them from your garden and have a break between weed pulling sessions.

Plus, weed seeds can last for years underground. Give weed seeds a speck of light when they come close to the soil’s surface and these seeds will sprout. So you need to take care while you’re busy digging and yanking weeds.

You also need to know which weed control product will stop weeds from taking over. For example, some brands have a pre-emergent herbicide with mulch that goes into your beds in early spring. And pre-emergent weed control will only stop crabgrass, dallisgrass, and quickgrass seeds from germinating.

Read: How to Keep Weeds Off of Your Lawn

Yes, you can have grassy weeds show up in your garden just like you find on your lawn. Grassy weed seeds don’t discriminate—instead, they find open ground to live in.

How to Identify Weeds in your Garden

If you’ve read any of Brinly’s lawn care blogs, you’ve learned that there are three different types of weeds that grow in both cool- and warm season yards. These same three weeds also thrive in gardens and flowerbeds.

Here are the three types of weeds:

  • Grassy weeds including poa annua, crabgrass, dallisgrass, and quickgrass
  • Broadleaf weeds including bindweed, chickweed, clover, dandelions, and ground ivy
  • Sedge weeds, including nutsedge, the most prolific sedge in lawns and gardens. Some folks refer to nutsedge as nutgrass because it closely resembles lawn grass—but it has distinct characteristics from grassy weeds.

Each type of weed has a unique way of reproducing, the time of year when it germinates, and its identification factors. For example, grassy weeds look similar to the grass you grow on your lawn.

Broadleaf weeds, such as dandelion and common burdock, have broad leaves and stubborn tubers that you need to slice when pulling out the plant from the ground.

Also, common burdock is a tricky one because it looks like rhubarb when it’s young. However, burdock’s leaves are burgundy instead of pinkish-red, and rhubarb has shiny leaves. Common burdock has fuzzy leaves and will grow a thistle-like flower.

As mentioned earlier, sedges have a triple-whammy effect of spreading. They have seedheads, nutlets, and rhizomes to reproduce. Sedges also like poorly drained areas or gardens that have leaking driplines.

However, the sedge is hardy. It’ll adapt to dry conditions if you fix that leaky line or you improve the drainage.

As you know, a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Preen has a handy weed tool that helps you identify what weeds are growing in your garden and flowerbeds.

Getting Rid of Weeds in Your Garden

Now you know how to identify the weeds in your garden. Here are some tips for getting rid of them:

  • When you’re pulling weeds that have tubers, such as dandelion, you need a garden knife or a soil knife to slice the tubers. Once you cut them, you cover that area with mulch to kill the rest of the root.
  • Weed after a soaking rain. There’s less dust, and it makes weeding very easy.
  • In the early spring, put down old newspapers or cardboard (or a garden liner) to suppress weed growth.
  • Don’t forget to add mulch, such as pine needles, wood chips, or bark mulch to help snuff out weeds in your flowerbeds, landscaped areas, and vegetable garden.
  • Use a tarp or a dump cart to throw weeds into to take to the compost bin.
  • Gardening tools that help you pull weeds include:
  • A dandelion weeder
  • A garden fork
  • A pair of suitable gardening gloves that’ll allow you to grip and pull weeds
  • A garden knife
  • A garden sprayer for accurately applying weed control to your landscaped areas and flowerbeds
  • A pruner to deadhead weed seedheads
  • A trowel—especially one that has a serrated edge
  • Various hoes.

Read: 10 Must-Have Gardening Tools You Need

  • Be careful when hoeing or digging in the dirt so you don’t disturb it too much that long-buried weed seeds come up to the surface and germinate.
  • Water only your flowers and garden plants—and allow weeds to dehydrate.
  • Use herbicides carefully and only use products that are designed for flowerbeds, landscapes, and vegetable gardens. Follow all directions on the container.
  •  Install driplines or use soaker hoses that water specific plants and not weeds.

Wrapping It Up for Identifying Weeds in Your Garden

You must know how to identify weeds so you know what tools and methods you should employ to remove each weed type.

Using the right tools to clean out your flowerbeds, landscaped areas, and vegetable gardens make weeding effective and efficient. Then, adding mulch to your garden helps to keep weeds from germinating and sprouting aboveground.

Our Brinly garden attachments make easy work transporting pulled weeds, mulch, and various tools to and from your flower and vegetable gardens.

You can buy your next Brinly lawn care and garden attachment online. If you have any questions about your Brinly lawn care product, contact our customer service today by calling 877-728-8224 or filling out our contact form.

Sources, “Weed Control Techniques: How to Get Rid of Weeds.”, “Six Tips for Effective Weed Control.”, “Burdock: It’s More than Burs.”, “Weed-free Gardening: Learn How to Prevent Weeds before They Start.”, “Nutsedge.”, “7 Ways to Kill Yard Weeds Naturally.”, “The 10 Worst Garden Weeds.”