AKA: flatweed, catsear
Description: Similar to good-old dandelions, the false dandelion changes up the color scheme, with white petals and yellow center. Both have parachute-type seeds and stubborn taproots, and the greens are edible (but bitter).
Get rid of it naturally: Dig it out with a garden fork (be sure to sever the root).
Chemical attack: Use a pre-emergent herbicide.
Credit: Beau Owens Photography
AKA: rose moss, wild portulaca
Latin: Portulaca oleracea
Description: A low-growing, drought-tolerant weed that forms dense mats. It flourishes in very warm soil, and shows up in late June — making preemergent herbicides useless. This edible weed has more beta-carotene than spinach.
Get rid of it naturally: Don’t let it go to seed; mulch to suppress; pull by hand.
Chemical attack: Use a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide June through September.
Credit: Fork Fingers Chopsticks
Latin: Cyperus rotundus
Description: One of the most invasive weeds in the world, nutsedge grows from underground tubers, so getting rid of it is a pain. Pulling the stalk doesn’t remove the tubers, which also evade herbicides. The thin stalks grow right through landscaping cloth.
Get rid of it naturally: Dig it up, removing all the tubers; drench areas with ½ cup molasses in 1 gallon water.
Chemical attack: Look for herbicides that target nutsedge.
Credit: Gerald Holmes/Valent USA Corporation/Bugwood.org
AKA: mouse ears, star weed
Description: A low-growing weed that likes moist and shaded conditions, such as the bed of ivy shown here. In lawns, it forms dense mats with small, symmetrically placed leaves on stringy stems. It’s sometimes picked as a salad green or topical salve for skin irritations, but pregnant and nursing women should avoid it.
Get rid of it naturally: Pull it by hand or dig up the shallow roots.
Chemical attack: Use a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide.
AKA: spotted spurge
Description: Spurge is a low-growing annual weed that forms a dense mat. It often roots in tiny cracks in sidewalks and driveways.
Get rid of it naturally: Pick it as soon as it appears to prevent it from going to seed.
Chemical attack: Apply a preemergent herbicide in late winter; use a post-emergent herbicide during growing season (2,4-D won’t work on mature plants).
Credit: Richard Old, XID Services, Inc., Bugwood.org
AKA: narrow-leaf plantain, chimney-sweeps, ribgrass
Description: A big, vigorous weed that forms dense clumps and takes over whole portions of lawn.
Get rid of it naturally: Pick it and eat it before it forms seed stalks. WebMD cautions that pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid plantain.
Chemical attack: Use an isoxaben-based, preemergent herbicide.
Credit: Toni Dash
AKA: sticky-willy, catchweed, bedstraw, goosegrass
Latin: Galium aparine
Description: This fast-growing weed can be invasive. The stems and leaves have little hooked bristles so it can attach itself to fencing, posts, and other growing plants. The sticky seeds catch on animal fur.
Get rid of it naturally: Pull it (wear gloves), but be careful not to tear out whatever plant it’s attached itself to.
Chemical attack: Use a general post-emergent herbicide.
Credit: Tina Negus
AKA: shamrock, sour grass
Description: Despite its sweet, clover-like appearance, the wood sorrel is a persistent weed that finds its way into flower boxes, containers, and beds.
Get rid of it naturally: Hand-pick from planters; use proper lawn care to crowd out sorrel.
Chemical attack: Apply a preemergent herbicide in spring; spot treat with a post-emergent broadleaf herbicide.
Credit: Jennifer Martinez/Goldie’s Garden
AKA: shares its “speedwell” name with a garden perennial — Veronica alpina — and other speedwells
Latin: Veronica serpyllifolia
Description: With its thumbtack-size flowers, thyme-leafed speedwell is one of the prettiest weeds. It likes to invade damp, acidic soils, and spreads freely.
Get rid of it naturally: It’s easily pulled, but get it out before it goes to seed.
Chemical attack: Use a post-emergent herbicide.
Credit: Canoe Corner
AKA: Scottish thistle
Latin: Cirsium vulgare
Description: Left alone, bull thistle will grow 3-4 feet tall topped with a bright magenta flower. In your lawn, regular mowing only makes this bristly, spine-covered plant spread out.
Get rid of it naturally: Dig it out with a shovel, taking 2-3 inches of soil.
Chemical attack: Use a selective broadleaf herbicide that targets bull thistle.
Credit: Michael Shephard, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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