Summer Weed Week


Well, I’m going from the sublime to the ridiculous–after all those lovely photos of hydrangeas last week, this week I’m focusing on the bane of most folks’ existence, weeds!

But it occurred to me as I was walking the dog (something I do twice a day during the work week and three times a day on the weekend) that as we walk, she’s sniffing and I’m looking at the weeds.  Part of that is defensive–I don’t want her in any poison ivy, or, as the season progresses, those burrs that will get tangled in what little fur she has.

But part of it is just sort of a memory test of see if I can ID what’s there.  If not, I go home and look it up in my “weed bible,” Weeds of the Northeast by Richard H. Uva et al. (photo above).  There are also some great online weed ID sites but they tend to be pretty regional.  For my region, Rutgers University is probably the closest relevant one.

In my yard, the weeds that tend to cause the most problem are the ones that you don’t even see flowering–and I’ll show you a couple of those, with the sneaky little hidden flowers or the seed pods.  These are weeds with delightful names like hairy galinsoga and copperleaf.

I’ll also try to find some virginia creeper seedlings–they look just like poison ivy when very young–as well as mature specimens of both.  I don’t know that I have trouble with those but I see an awful lot of folks covered in poison ivy all the time so perhaps so ID might help alleviate the suffering since it can look so variable.

And there are some great “weeds” too like brambles.  Horrible thorny menaces that you wouldn’t want to have to remove–but if they’re in the right spot and you can leave them, all sorts of wildlife can feed from them.  What’s not to like about that?  A “weed” is a plant in the wrong place–so you just need to manage any seedlings that might sprout.

So there’s a lot to “show and tell” this week–I may have to go over a bit like I did in the spring!

2 thoughts on “Summer Weed Week

  1. Laurrie July 11, 2011 / 8:41 pm

    I rely on this book. It was one of the first I bought when I started to garden. A real standby!

  2. gardendaze July 12, 2011 / 8:54 am

    So you mean I’m not the only nut who owns the weed bible, as I call it? I’m so relieved to hear that. I know one other person in my neighborhood who has it–we feel like weed geeks when we go out weed spotting!


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