Weeds you can leave
Weeds to avoid
Worst weeds in NJ
1. Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort),
2. Polygonaceae (knotweed),
Weeds are often defined as plants growing where they are unwelcome. What makes these plants so undesirable? What sort of problems can they cause? Can weeds be useful? Beneficial even? Let's take a closer look at the wonderful world of weeds.
Weeds are just plants in unfortunate places. Because these plants use the same nutrients as crop plants, farmers often label them as unwanted. Weeds use resources such as water and space that might have gone to other plants. The more similar these two are, the more they will have to compete for those resources. But if you aren't a farmer growing a crop, these plants can actually be useful in some cases. Although weeds are typically seen as bad, so many of them offer major medicinal, environmental and health benefits that can make them worth keeping around. Below you will find some examples of weeds that you can leave and some that you shouldn't if you come across them in your garden.
Weeds you can leave
Taraxacum, or the dandelion is not just another weed. Even though it is often cursed for its stubbornly long taproots, and has a reputation for invasiveness, the benefits of a dandelion are many. They are edible from root to flower, encourage biodiversity, and protect the soil! In fact, in France, Dandelions are grown in gardens for their leafy greens that are commonly used in soups, salads, and quiches. The flowers can be used to make tea, soaps, and lotions. They are a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C and many studies have shown that they help reduce inflammation, aid in blood sugar management, help reduce cholesterol, promote liver health and lower blood pressure. Whats not to love?! Dandelions also play an important role in the livelihood of many ecosystems. They encourage biodiversity and as they are one of the first plants to bloom in the spring, they are an essential source of food for bees and other pollinating insects in the early months of the year, when other plants have yet to bloom. These little guys have also been found to help create drainage pathways in compact soils, which can help in preventing ground water stagnation and potential puddling in your yard or garden. So especially if you’re growing root vegetables (radishes, carrots, potatoes, etc.) in dense soil in your garden, then you can really benefit by leaving those little yellow flowers to work their magic!
Plantago lanceolata, or the English Plantain, is a flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae. From an agricultural perspective this plant is seen as a weed but it is so much more than that! Like the dandelion, it is edible and has medicinal value! Historically, weeds have been defined from an agricultural perspective but if your goal is to have a beautiful looking yard and not a high yield crop, then you should start thinking about the English Plantain from a gardening perspective. If left to grow in bunches this plant can look really nice and it's benefits definitely outweigh it's downfalls. English Plantain is known to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, help with coughs and insect bites, and promote wound healing. Like many other weeds, this one has edible leaves, flowers that can be used for tea and seeds that have been used medicinally for generations.
Trifolium repensis, or white clover is another plant that is considered a weed in most of the United States, but it's completely edible and has lots of health benefits. A white clover tea, for example, is anti-inflammatory and beneficial for the immune system. One cup can help relieve colds and coughs as well. The leaves can be used as a replacement for spinach and the flowers are sweet and delicious in a salad. One of the best ways to identify white clover is to look for the three-lobe leaves and beautiful, round white flower clusters. You might find it interesting to learn that white clovers actually enrich the soil with nitrogen, rather than deplete it of all nutrients, and their blossoms are food for bees and other pollinators. Some gardeners use white clovers to produce a more eco-friendly lawn rather than eradicating them. So why not keep these little guys around, boost the biodiversity of your yard and get a little sweet treat out of it too!
Weeds to avoid
Wisteria sinensis, or Chinese Wisteria, is an aggressive, fast-growing vine that can quickly take over other plants. Wisteria has become an invasive species in many parts of the eastern United States. It's root system is large and powerful, and can be damaging if it's not properly maintained, so you should be very careful when planting this one near walls or pathways. Wisteria clings to supporting plants or man-made structures using its twining stems. Its shiny, green leaves are 10–30 cm in length, with 9-13 oblong leaflets that are each 2–6 cm long. Its flower are white, purple, or blue, produced on 15–20 cm racemes before the leaves emerge in spring. If you look this plant up online, you'll see that its roots can grow 10-15ft but we've seen first had that they can actually grow much bigger than that! In some cases up to 50 feet! Although this plant is beautiful, all parts of it contain a glycoside called wisterin which is toxic if ingested! Best to avoid this one!
Phyllostachys. Did you know that phyllostachys, or bamboo is actually a grass, not a tree?? This perennial plant is one of the fastest growing grasses of its class. It's self-regenerating plant that reaches maturity in just three years. Bamboo is highly invasive and you should think twice before planting it in your yard! Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Once planted, it's nearly impossible to control. Each bamboo sprout that pops up in spring can grow anywhere from 12 - 36 inches within a 24-hour period! These plants typically grow 20 - 40 ft tall and given the right conditions need little to no maintenance. Phyllostachys aurea (Golden Bamboo) and Phyllostachys aureosulcata (Yellow Groove Bamboo) are especially problematic in the US and if left uncontrolled will quickly displace native species.
Worst weeds in NJ
What are the worst weeds in NJ you might ask? In our opinion those would be
In that order. These will destroy your yard if not dealt with properly so keep an eye out for them.
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