According to Answers.com a weed is defined as “a plant considered undesirable, unattractive or troublesome”. According to Ella Wheeler, “a weed is but an unloved flower”.
Both definitions are true, and for many gardeners, weeds are little sprouts that threaten the perfection and beauty of their garden. So what are some common weeds found in the New York area, and how can they be gotten rid of?
Common New York Weeds:
• Asiatic Dayflower
The Asiatic dayflower is an herb that pops up annually, usually in summer. It can grow to anywhere between 12 to 36 inches tall. It is a noxious (or invasive) weed that can cause skin irritation or a possible allergic reaction to those handling it; so handle with caution.
• Japanese Knotwood
Japanese Knotwood is an invasive weed that grows fast and furious, normally during the springtime. They can grow between 3 to 9 inches tall and are ridged, hollow and red in color. They tend to grow in moist areas, being commonly found in wetlands and hillsides.
• Poke, Pokeweed, Pokeberry
Pokeweed can grow up to 10 feet tall, and as it does it sprouts reddish/purplish berries, from July to September. While pokeweed is edible, and has been used as an alternative medicine by the Native Americans, caution should be taken as the plant and berries are poisonous when raw.
• Oriental Bittersweet
Oriental Bittersweet is an invasive weed that commonly develops in the spring and can grow up to 60 feet tall. It is common to find this kind of weed in areas with a mix of sun and shade, like fields, road edges and sometimes forests. It grows widely and quickly, as birds disperse the seeds of the berries from this plant.
Mugwort is an herb that is dark green with a purple tint. Mugwort can grow up to three feet tall or higher. Its pollen is one of the most common causes of hay fever. This weed tends to grow on roadsides and can be used for medical purposes.
Chickweed can be found on lawns and other open, sunny areas, all year long. It can grow anywhere from 3 to 8 inches tall. Chickweed can be eaten, but is commonly confused with spotted surge (euphorbia maculata) which can make it much harder to correctly identify the weed.
• Butterfly Weed
Butterfly weed gets its name because butterflies are attracted to the plants bright orange/reddish color. The plant can grow to be 12 to 24 inches tall, and usually grow in the summertime. The plant is poisonous when raw, so as with pokeweed, caution should be taken.
• Tree of Heaven
The Tree of Heaven is a medium-sized tree that grows rapidly anywhere from 40 to 60 inches tall, and approximately that wide as well. The yellow flowers that grow on the trees branches tend to do so during the summer. Because these trees grow so large, wide and quickly, preventing other plants from growing, that it is considered a noxious weed.
Ways to Eliminate Weeds:
When using chemicals to kill weeds take caution: be sure to follow directions, do not hit the plants that you want to bloom, and make sure you keep pets and children away from the chemical-infused areas for a few days.
2. Organic Methods
Boiling water, mulch, soapy water, alcohol spray and undiluted vinegar are all organic, safe weed killers.
Preen is a company that sells both organic, and non-organic, products that sell weed killers as well as weed preventers. (www.preen.com)
4. Pulling Weeds
Although time-consuming, pulling weeds by hand is one of the most common and effective way to be rid of them.
Roundup is a product by Scott’s Miracle Gro Company that can kill weeds for up to four months. (www.scotts.com)