Michigan winters can be extremely harsh and most residents look forward to the snow melting and the warmer temperatures that spring will bring. The grass will turn green, the flowering trees will bloom as well as the spring perennial flowers; colors, beautiful landscapes and relaxing scents will be everywhere. However, the peaceful serenity that our vibrant lawns and gardens will bring is always in danger of being overrun by some of the most common weeds found in Michigan and Michigan does seem to have a wide variety of native weeds.
One of the most common and easily identifiable weed found in Michigan is the Dandelion also know as the Taraxacum Officinale. Even the youngest of children can identify the bright yellow flowering weed with the dark green spear like leaves and if you don’t get rid of them properly and as soon as possible your Michigan lawn or garden will become a field of dandelions in no time. Getting rid of this common weed can be a challenge since even a light wind can blow thousands of the seeds quite a distance so if your neighbor has a dandelion problem it can easily become a problem for you as well. As if the spreading of seeds weren’t a big enough problem, they can also spread through the roots and the flower doesn’t need to be pollinated to spread. There are some environmentally kind ways of getting rid of these pesky weeds and one of the most common is to pull them out with a weeding tool. If you decide to use this method you do have to be really careful that you pull the whole root out in one piece because if it breaks, which happens quite easily, it will grow back in no time.
One of the most hated common weeds in Michigan is the thistle and there a several common types native to Michigan’s environment. One is the Bull Thistle and another is the Canadian Thistle both of which have prickly spikes on them that hurt my bare feet when I step on them and make it difficult to pull them out of the ground without causing pain. One big difference between Bull Thistle and Canadian Thistle is that Bull Thistle develops as a rosette and Canadian Thistle does not. Bull Thistle also has little prickly hairs on the surface of the leaves and Canadian Thistle is more like sharp spikes along the edges of the leaves. Although both weeds have oblong shaped leaves the Bull Thistle is a darker green and the Canadian Thistle has more of a spiny leaf, both are a pain to get rid of. Gardenguides.com has lots of great pictures, and helpful tips on how to get rid of them with herbicides or naturally. One method that Gardenguides.com does not mention and this web site does: http://www.moscowfood.coop/archive/VinegarKillsWeeds.html is to use vinegar which is very effective in killing the Canadian Thistle.
One of my favorite native Michigan weed is the Creeping Charlie which is also known as ground ivy. I actually like this because in the spring it gets pretty little purple flowers on its dark green, scalloped shaped leaves which grow on a vine. The big problem with this common weed is that it spreads really fast and will choke out other plants and your lawn if proper environmental conditions exist and that is why you should pull it as soon as you see it. This weed thrives in moist and shady areas and when you pull it out you need to get rid of it by throwing it in a plastic bag and in the garbage, if any vines are left on the ground they will easily replant themselves so this ivy type plant is difficult to kill and it is strongly advised that you don’t put this common weed in the compost bin. If you want to kill it organically instead of using pesticides there is a solution you can make with Borax and this is the URL with the instructions: http://www.gardenguides.com/82787-kill-creeping-charlie-organically.html please keep in mind that the Borax solution will also kill other plants so you will want to be careful with it.
When trying to keep you lawn and garden free of common weeds in Michigan there are actually a few different approaches you can take; one is a chemical spray, powder or granular substance which can be applied through a sprayer or spreader. Bayer Advanced, Preen, Scots, Weed-B-Gone, Round Up and Miracle Gro all have great products which are readily available in home and garden stores such as Home Depot, Hardware Stores and Lowes. Other methods for killing common weeds are to cover them with a piece of cardboard, landscape blanket or black plastic garbage bag to block the light so they can’t grow. You can cover whatever item you choose with mulch if you like to make that area look more pleasant and if you want a weed free, hassle free garden you should do just that.
If you are more concerned with keeping your lawn free of weeds then you must maintain your lawn; that means you need to cut it frequently, which will stress the weeds and you need to water it to keep the grass growing and not the weeds. The theory behind this is that a thick, lush lawn will help to choke out the weeds and frequent mowing will also help prevent the seeds from spreading.
Keeping you Michigan lawn or garden free of native weeds is a project in which you must be consistent because no matter how hard you try they are always going to want to grow back creating an eye sore in your beautiful landscape. Knowing how to kill the weeds and buying or applying the proper weed killer is vital in controlling the growth or spreading of new weeds.