America’s Most Wanted: Weeds | Living the Country Life
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America’s Most Wanted: Weeds

Prevent weeds from robbing your garden of its health and beauty. The following mug shots will help you identify plants guilty of trespassing, theft, and other garden crimes.
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Black Medic (Medicago lupulina)

    ANNUAL OR SHORT-LIVED PERENNIAL

    HEIGHT: 1–2 feet (12 inches wide)

    ALIAS: nonesuch

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: dry, infertile sunny soil in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: clovertype leaves and small, yellow flowers

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: humiliates gardeners by pointing out the need to improve soil

    BEST DEFENSE: Enrich soil with fertilizer.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major)

    HARDY PERENNIAL

    HEIGHT: 2–5 inches (3–6 inches wide)

    ALIASES: common plantain, white man’s footprints

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: along sidewalks, roadsides, and gardens in Zones 3–9

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: smooth, oval leaves; thrives on compacted soils

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: dispatches up to 20,000 seeds in an outburst

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull or dig out; eat raw or cooked.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Crabgrass (Digitaria spp.)

    WARM-SEASON ANNUAL

    HEIGHT: up to 18 inches (8–20 inches wide)

    ALIASES: crowfoot grass, fingergrass

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: lawns and gardens throughout Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This bully spreads, growing roots wherever its stems touch unsuspecting soil.

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: Each plant can produce up to 150,000 seeds in its furtive attempts to take over the world.

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull or use preemergent herbicide.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Chickweed (Stellaria media)

    COOL-SEASON ANNUAL

    HEIGHT: 6 inches (12 inches wide)

    ALIASES: starweed, chick wittles

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: rich, moist soil in sun or shade in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: lush green mats; small, star-shape flowers

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: sheds up to 15,000 seeds, which survive composting and live burial 

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull up plants and toss in the garbage.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

    HARDY PERENNIAL

    HEIGHT: 12 inches (6–16 inches wide)

    ALIASES: blowball, lion’s tooth

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: lawns and gardens, Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: strong taproot, yellow flowers mature into blowballs

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: Seeds parachute everywhere; seedlings evade capture.

    BEST DEFENSE: Pry plants out or treat with preemergent herbicide.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Fleabane (Erigeron)

    HARDY ANNUAL

    HEIGHT: up to 2 feet (6–18 inches wide)

    ALIASES: daisy fleabane, white-top

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: fields and gardens in sun to partial shade in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: slender leaves; clusters of white or purplish daisylike blooms

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: Pretty blossoms win favor, then overrun beds with thousands of seedlings.

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull up plants before seeds ripen.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Ragweed (Ambrosia aemisiifolia)

    WARM-SEASON ANNUAL

    HEIGHT: 2–4 feet (18–24 inches wide)

    ALIASES: bitterweed, hayfever weed

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: fields and gardens in sun to partial shade in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: lobed, rough leaves; spiked, yellowish flower heads

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: tortures allergy sufferers with highly irritating pollen; elbows out other plants

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull out young plants or hoe down.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    Lambs-quarter (Chenopodium album)

    WARM-SEASON ANNUAL

    HEIGHT: 3–4 feet (12–18 inches wide)

    ALIAS: fat hen

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: common in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: Leaves have scalloped edges and look powdered.

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: hides until seeds ripen, then sheds by the thousands

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull up; hoe or cut down.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017
  • Photography by Pete Krumhardt

    White Clover (Trifolium repens)

    HARDY PERENNIAL

    HEIGHT: 8–10 inches (12 inches wide)

    ALIASES: Dutch clover, shamrock

    LIKELY HANGOUTS: lawns and gardens in sun to partial shade in Zones 3–10

    DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: threelobe leaves; white flower clusters

    CRIMINAL OFFENSE: hinders lawn texture

    BEST DEFENSE: Pull or use a postemergent herbicide.

    Date Published: May 23, 2017
    Date Updated: May 26, 2017

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