Weed Survery

I’ve been paying attention to the weeds in my yard, even looking them up when I don’t know what they are. It started in the fall and has progressed in the summer to now. I’ve found 39 different weeds in my own yard…there might be a few more that  I’m missing as well.

I’m actually happy over the fact that I have 39 species of weeds in my yard. It’s good biodiverstiy, and I haven’t done a thing about it. Some of the weeds are edible or environmentally beneficial: I’ve got milkweed for butterflies, dandelions for bees and greens, and the chickens eat nearly everything. Most of my weeds are annuals and not widespread, so when I don’t want them it isn’t going to be a horrible task to get rid of them. For instance, the clover I seeded in the backyard has happily overtaken all of the weed species out there. The biggest problems I see in the future are bindweed and bulbous bluegrass.

My weed list (using common names from Weeds of the West):
Spring 2014
Shepherd’s Purse
Common Mallow
Dandelion
Bindweed
Puncturevine
Downy brome
Scotch Thistle
Dyer’s Woad
Redstem filaree
Annual sowthistle
Prickly lettuce
Henbit
Bur Buttercup
Catchweed bedstraw
Fernleaf Biscuitroot
Siberian Elm
Bulbous Bluegrass

Summer 2014
Black Medic
Creeping woodsorrel
Prostrate Knotweed
Prostrate Pigweed
Redroot pigweed
Showy Milkweed
Musk thistle
Horseweed
Annual sowthistle
Western Salsify
Flixweed
Lambsquarters
Kochia
Prostrate spurge
Crabgrass
Green foxtail
Bristly foxtail
Wild buckwheat
Curly dock
Common purslande
Virginia groundcherry
Bittersweet nightshade

One weed problem I’ve come across is purslane. It started overtaking my parkstrip bed I planted. Purslane is a hard weed to eliminate: it reseeds easilyand grows from small leaves left behind. In truth, my efforts to weed it out have been fruitless, it just comes back. Getting the mulch deeper has helped, and just continued hand pulling. But the truth is, I’m conflicted about this weed. I knew it was edible, and one day I started snacking on it. And I kept snacking on it. My neighbor came out and talked to me, and found me perusing my weed bucket for the delicious new shoots of purslane. I kept snacking in front of her, and actually offered her some explaining what it was. She declined and probably thought I was very strange.

puslane

I wouldn’t mind just keeping the purslane there…but this is in the parkstip bed that is mostly on the neighbor’s yard, a traditional and highly manicured landscape. I don’t think my elderly neighbors would quite appreciate the benefit of allowing a weed to take over. Good thing is, purslane is hard to eliminate and the young shoots taste the best anyway. So I can keep weeding it back harvesting heavily, and I will keep having my supply while not allowing the bed to look weedy.

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