You know the old saying, "A weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place." Many plants growing in the wrong places in your garden? Finding out the names and habits of those interlopers will help you decide how to attack.
UC Davis has a dandy new online service with two detectives to assist you
The UC Davis Weed Research & Information Center hosts the Weed ID Tool -- a series of questions to help you figure out the name of the culprit lurking in your garden. The only drawback is that the ID Tool works best when the weed is flowering, but you can make headway even without a flower.
If you're pretty sure you know the scientific or common name already, enter it into their other search option, the Weed Selector Tool, and you will be shown photos of the plant.
Once you know the weed's name, you can find out if you're dealing with:
- Annual grass (like crabgrass)
- Perennial grass (bermuda grass is one)
- Annual broadleaf (such as spotted spurge, the denizen of many gardens)
- Perennial broadleaf (our old friend the dandelion, for instance)
With annuals you want to keep seeds from producing, and with perennials you want to destroy the root system.
Our organic weed control video and our post on organic weed control explain different methods for eradicating annual and perennial weeds.