Weeds With White Seeds

White clover is a plant that is either loved or hated by the homeowner. Knowing how to control white clover in lawns and garden beds is helpful. Get more info in this article and get ahead of this weed. Q. Crazy weeds are literally popping seeds at me and my dog as we walk through the grass in our neighborhood. I have never seen them before, but they are everywhere this season! They’re about four inches high, have white flowers and ‘popping seeds’ (no wonder they’re so successful at reproducing!). Any idea what they are? They are difficult to pull because the seeds pop into your face. Thanks. —N. Ivy; Gaithersburg, MDAbout three years ago I noticed a pretty little white flower growing in my lawn. But after a few weeks, it turned into something from a science fiction movie, shooting its spikey seeds every which way if you touched it. My local garden shop identified it as a type of chickweed, and suggested I pull as much out as I could by hand. I spent many hours doing so, and all I got was a sore back. Last year I went online and correctly identified the culprit as Hairy Bitter cress. The recommended control method was to use a spray called Spectracide, which they forgot to mention also kills the lawn. Is there anything you can suggest to rid my lawn of this nuisance? Thank you. —Larry in Audubon, PAA. As you can imagine, a weed that evolves to have its dried seeds sitting on a kind of ‘trigger’ that shoots them into the air when the plant is disturbed has a huge reproductive edge. If a big herbivore comes along to devour the plant, that first touch is going to release a lot of lifeboats carrying the next generation. A number of weeds have developed this explosive ability, with ‘hairy bitter cress’ the most likely culprit at this time of year.Its small white flowers are similar to those of chickweed, another ‘unwanted plant’ that blooms early in the Spring. But chickweed is more of a flat, spreading, mat-like plant. And its seedpods aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. Both weeds are remarkably easy to control in flowerbeds; just pull them, roots and all, out of wet soil. Chickweed comes out in big clumps, while bitter cress has a nice little stalk that gives you a handle to grab onto. Just remember to soak the soil first; all weeds come out of wet soil MUCH easier than dry. But I like to wait until after the little white flowers form to pull these weeds. Their flowers open up right before the blooms on my fruit trees, attracting lots of the pollinators and beneficial insects I’ll need to get a good fruit set and to fight all the pests that want to eat those peaches as much as we do. If I’m paying attention and life cooperates, I’ll pull the weeds while they’re still in flower and before they set seed. Both weeds get composted—mixed into a good amount of shredded leaves hoarded from the previous fall; at least two parts leaves to every part green weed. The bitter cress typically comes up with a good amount of soil attached to its roots, which adds microbial life to the pile; and the chickweed has a lot of water content to help keep the moistness levels right. If I don’t get to them in time, I toast the seedheads with my trusty flame weeder before I pull the plants, just like I do with dandelions that have progressed to the puffball stage. Dandelion seeds burst into little flares of color—like Munchkin fireworks. Bittercress seeds explode with a loud ‘pop’. (Organic gardening is SO much more fun than spraying hormonal disruptor around!) Both weeds are also highly edible, especially when young. Chickweed is more nutritious than the salad greens that many people remove it to plant! And, although hairy bittercress (a member of the mustard family) doesn’t have nearly as many wild food fans as chickweed or purslane (perhaps the most edible ‘weed’), it does have some of the peppery taste of its namesake watercress, and it’s loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients. Pick it before the flower buds form and it won’t have nearly as much of the bitter edge that older plants take on. (Flowering changes the flavor of virtually all herbs and greens for the worse.) In turf, weeds like bittercress are a sure sign of poor lawn care. The answer is not to poison yourself and the environment (and kill your grass) in a futile attempt to remove the weed, but to care for your lawn correctly and deny the weed a place to live. Take good care of your grass and a harmless little plant like this should never have a chance to get established, much less thrive. For a Northern, cool-season lawn (one composed of cool-season grasses like rye, fescue and/or bluegrass) that means never cutting shorter than three inches, never feeding in summer, watering deeply but infrequently, and giving the lawn a big natural feeding in the Fall. If you scalp the lawn, weeds will thrive. If you water it frequently for short periods of time, weeds will thrive. And if you feed the poor heat-stressed thing in summer, weeds will take over. Oh—and don’t use chemical herbicides. We hear they’re murder on the poor grass…. Ask Mike A Question    Mike’s YBYG Archives    Find YBYG Show Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed.

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Killing White Clover – How To Control White Clover In Lawns And Gardens

White clover is a plant that is either loved or hated by the homeowner. For many gardeners who did not intentionally plant white clover, knowing how to control white clover in lawns and garden beds is helpful. Getting rid of white clover once it is established can be tricky, but it can be done if you have the right tools and patience. Let’s take a look at how to identify and how to get rid of white clover.

White Clover Identification

White clover is a perennial weed that grows low to the ground. While it can grow in many different places, it is typically found in lawns, especially sparse lawns where the competition from grass is weak.

The leaves on white clover grow in sets of 3 leaflets. Each leaflet is tear shaped and many have a reddish stripe across it. The flowers on white clover are spiky and white with a brownish green center.

White clover grows in a creeping manner and will develop roots where ever a stem node touches the ground.

How to Get Rid of White Clover

Getting rid of white clover starts with a healthy lawn. Clover will grow in areas of low nitrogen and where competition from other plants is small, so making sure that your lawn (and flower beds) are well fertilized will not only help desirable grass and plants to grow and keep out white clover, but will also make the soil less friendly to white clover.

In flower beds, clover can be kept at bay by using a thick layer of mulch. This will keep the seeds from germinating.

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If white clover is already established in your yard, controlling it can either be done through hand pulling or by using an herbicide. In either case, while killing the white clover already in your lawn is easy, you need to understand that killing white clover seeds is not. The seeds can survive high heat, low temperatures and can stay dormant for years before germinating. Whichever method you choose for getting rid of white clover, you can expect to be doing it once a year to control the white clover plants that emerge from the seeds.

Hand pulling white clover

Hand pulling is an organic and common way to get rid of white clover. White clover frequently grows in clumps, which make hand pulling easy and efficient. When hand pulling white clover, make sure that you pull out as much of the root system as possible to prevent regrowth.

Herbicide for white clover

Killing white clover with herbicide is also a common way to deal with this weed, especially over larger areas. The problem with using herbicides is that the only herbicide effective at controlling white clover is non-selective weed killers. These herbicides will kill the white clover, but will also kill any other plants it comes in contact with.

Herbicides also may not kill the root system of mature clover, which means that they can grow back. If you decide to use herbicides for getting rid of white clover, the best time to do this is on a warm, cloudless and windless day.

Knowing how to get rid of white clover from lawns and flower beds can be a bit tricky, but it can be done. Patience and persistence while getting rid of white clover will pay off.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are safer and much more environmentally friendly.

Weeds That Shoot Their Seeds

Its small white flowers are similar to those of chickweed, another ‘unwanted plant’ that blooms early in the Spring. But chickweed is more of a flat, spreading, mat-like plant. And its seedpods aren’t faster than a speeding bullet. Both weeds are remarkably easy to control in flowerbeds; just pull them, roots and all, out of wet soil. Chickweed comes out in big clumps, while bitter cress has a nice little stalk that gives you a handle to grab onto. Just remember to soak the soil first; all weeds come out of wet soil MUCH easier than dry.

But I like to wait until after the little white flowers form to pull these weeds. Their flowers open up right before the blooms on my fruit trees, attracting lots of the pollinators and beneficial insects I’ll need to get a good fruit set and to fight all the pests that want to eat those peaches as much as we do.

If I’m paying attention and life cooperates, I’ll pull the weeds while they’re still in flower and before they set seed. Both weeds get composted—mixed into a good amount of shredded leaves hoarded from the previous fall; at least two parts leaves to every part green weed. The bitter cress typically comes up with a good amount of soil attached to its roots, which adds microbial life to the pile; and the chickweed has a lot of water content to help keep the moistness levels right.

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If I don’t get to them in time, I toast the seedheads with my trusty flame weeder before I pull the plants, just like I do with dandelions that have progressed to the puffball stage. Dandelion seeds burst into little flares of color—like Munchkin fireworks. Bittercress seeds explode with a loud ‘pop’. (Organic gardening is SO much more fun than spraying hormonal disruptor around!)

Both weeds are also highly edible, especially when young. Chickweed is more nutritious than the salad greens that many people remove it to plant! And, although hairy bittercress (a member of the mustard family) doesn’t have nearly as many wild food fans as chickweed or purslane (perhaps the most edible ‘weed’), it does have some of the peppery taste of its namesake watercress, and it’s loaded with cancer-fighting nutrients. Pick it before the flower buds form and it won’t have nearly as much of the bitter edge that older plants take on. (Flowering changes the flavor of virtually all herbs and greens for the worse.)

In turf, weeds like bittercress are a sure sign of poor lawn care. The answer is not to poison yourself and the environment (and kill your grass) in a futile attempt to remove the weed, but to care for your lawn correctly and deny the weed a place to live. Take good care of your grass and a harmless little plant like this should never have a chance to get established, much less thrive.

For a Northern, cool-season lawn (one composed of cool-season grasses like rye, fescue and/or bluegrass) that means never cutting shorter than three inches, never feeding in summer, watering deeply but infrequently, and giving the lawn a big natural feeding in the Fall.

If you scalp the lawn, weeds will thrive. If you water it frequently for short periods of time, weeds will thrive. And if you feed the poor heat-stressed thing in summer, weeds will take over.

Oh—and don’t use chemical herbicides. We hear they’re murder on the poor grass….

A Guide to Common Weeds in the United States

Identifying a weed is the first step to getting rid of the weed. It is important to know what weeds you are dealing with as different herbicides are formulated for to kill and control different weeds and no product will kill every weed.

Use this guide to learn more about some of the most common weeds across the United States.

What to Look For When Identifying Weeds

When identifying weeds, observe the following:

  • What does the weed look like? Is it tall or short? Does it have flowers?
  • Where is the weed growing on your property? Is the weed in the shade or in the sun?
  • Are there any drainage or runoff issues where the weed is found?
  • When is the weed growing? Is it spring, summer, winter, or fall? What is the local climate?

Knowing the appearance and location of weeds will help narrow down what type of weed(s) you may have.