So what is a weed? By nearly every gardener’s definition a weed is simply a plant in the wrong place. It could be a flower that self-seeded in an unwanted location but that’s not what most people really consider a problem plant, and true weeds are problem plants. So for Worst Weed Wednesday here are several plants from my gardens that I consider to be true weeds!
From the least-dangerous-but-most-annoying list is Johnson Grass or (Sorghum halepense). This rhizomatic grass spreads like crazy and grows to heights over 5 feet tall. To say that it grows fast is to say that lightning might sting a little. I’ve pulled it from every garden but where it is the most annoying is when it seeds itself underneath another plant like my Russian sages or among my hemlocks. It’s easy to pull up but you have to get all the roots in order to completely be sure it won’t be back and that is a challenge. Herbicides work but I try to avoid chemicals in the garden.
If you have ever tried to pull it without gloves on (or sometimes even with) you have no doubt noticed a dangerous surprise. All long its stem are sharp prickly thorns well suited to protect itself from the errant hand of the gardener. It self seeds everywhere but in the first couple days of growth it doesn’t have any thorns and pops up easily when pulled. If you let it go or you don’t notice it for a few days longer grab the nettle at the base of the plant where there are very few thorns and pull (make sure you are wearing gloves!)