One problem gardeners are constantly struggling with is weeds growing in their flower gardens. A weed is essentially a plant growing where you don’t want it. There are a number of plants that pretty much always fall into the category of weeds, either for thier vigorous growth and ability to take over or the ability to keep regrowing.
Fortunately daylilies are strong vigorous growing plants that compete well with most weeds. That being said, even daylilies can struggle with weeds growing around and even into the clumps.
Weeds can be divided pretty much into Annuals or Perennials. The management of them is based on this growth habit.
Annuals usually seed in heavily and grow quickly. Killing the young plants and preventing them from going to seed is the best approach.
Perennial weeds on the other hand typically are slow to bloom and seed and start growing a bit more slowly. Regular pulling of the plants is the best approach with attention to removal of all the roots.
Tip: All things being equal, most grasses are weeds, if you focus on the grasses, that will most likely be the majority of your weeds.
On Lawn Management
Our lawns are a hodge-podge of plants including grass (of course), Clovers, Dandelions, Plantain, Violets, Vetches and more.
While on one level we are happy to accept that as that is the easiest and simplest approach, we also enjoy the amazing plant diversity that our lawns exhibit.
Additionally a diverse plant ecosystem (even in a lawn) may result in an planting that is more resilient to adverse conditions like drought, flooding or pest problems.
Here is a list of some of the most common weeds you may find
This is the noxious weed variant of Amaranth
There is a couple of wonderful ornamental types, but this Amaranth is a monster.
Even tiny plants can flower and drop seed. It doesn’t run so that makes it a little easier to control.
Bindweed: (Convolvulus arvensis) Perennial
A member of the Morning glory family (Convolvulacea). Bindweed is a climber, and as such it wraps around and “binds” other plants
It produce small Blue or White trumpet shaped Morning Glory-like blooms
Once established it’s hard to eliminate as it will have wrapped itself all around other plants. Small pieces of roots can re-grow too.
Catnip: (Mentha cataria) Annual
Not really weed per se, but can be a frequent volunteer which can become weed-like in the wrong situation
It is a short lived perennial that reseeds but does not run!
Easily controlled and identified but it’s distinctive smell and square stems (which all mints exhibit)
Chickweed: (Stellaria media) Annual
This weed is very low growing and as such will not really bother Daylilies and Iris much.
It is kind of unsightly running rampantly over open ground. Easy to remove as it
just pulls up nicely. It tolerates cool temperatures well and produces thousands of seeds
early control is important to keep it from spreading via seeds.
Potentilla or Cinquefoil: perennial
is easily identified by it’s five part leaf. Growing up to 2 feet tall it
Grows from seed and is slow to multiply compared to many weeds. It has a somewhat
attractive yellow flower and as such might be left ialone in the right spot.
Dandelion (Taraxacum) perennial
is probably the best known weed around. While not particularly invasive, it’s persistence and it’s resilience make it a real problem plant.
Typically if the crown is cut off a new plant will grow. And even flowers that are cut may end up going to seed.
Dandelion does seed in vigorously. The best approach is regular cutting of the crown until the plant wears out (or you do!).
Ground Ivy or Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) perennial
This plant is easily identified by it’s creeping habit and tiny blue flowers. As it is low it is not a major
competitoor to Daylilies and Iris. however it roots regularly from its growing nodes, so though it’s easy to pull out it can re-root from tiny pieces.
regular pulling and hoeing can help control it.
Horsetail (Equisetum) perennial
Horsetail is a tough weed to eliminate. An ancient relic it is well adapted to survive.
It spreads by runners and seems almost impossible to eliminate without regular removal.
It can grow to 2 feet so it does interfere with the daylilies but not so much that it chokes them out.
Lambsquarters (Chenopdium album): Annual
While definately a weed growing over 5 feet tall, Lambsquarters
also know as Goosefoot and Pigweed is considered by many to be a wonderful food
According to Joan Richardson’s Wild Edible Plants of New England, “Lambsquarters
even outclasses spinach as a storehouse of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, vitamin C
, and great amounts of vitamin A, not to mention all the minerals pulled out of the earth
by its strong taproot. It also lacks the puckishness of spinach, although lambsquarters, too, contains oxalic acid.”
It can produce thousands and thousands of seeds so pulling before it blooms and seeds in is crucial!
Lamium (Lamium purpureum) Annual
Dead Nettle as it is called is a low growing, spreading member of the mint family.
Not too competitive with Daylilies and Iris, it will spread in quite vigorously.
the best approach is regular pulling of the plants.
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) Perennial
Mugwort is one of the most pernicious weeds there is! It is a strong spreader that spreads via underground runners.
Tiny pieces of root will regrow and spread quickly. Easily identified by it’s characteristic Marigold smell and silvery undersides, Mugwort is best controlled by constant pulling or ideally smothering with some sort of impermeable material. Grwinf to 3 feet it will grow in amongst your Daylilies and be very hard to eradicate.
Nutsedge (Juncus) Perennial
Nutsedge is another one of those horrible spreading weeds. Growing to 3 feet tall and spreading by tubers, Nutsedge is very difficult to eradicate.
The best approach we have found is to smother it with plastic or some other weed barrier. Easily recognized by it’s 3 sided shape (Sedges have edges)
Pulling will make you feel better but won’t eliminate it.
Evening Primrose: (Oenothera biennis) biennial
Evening Primrose is a biennial weed that grows up to 4 feet tall.
Large and imposing it can compete with Daylilies and Iris a bit
but it is not a rampant grower and as such is relatively easy to live with. Cutting it at the crown will kill it too.
It might be worth leaving as it seems to be a Japanese Beetle magnet drawing them away from other plants.
Creeping Sorrel (Oxalis): Perennial
Sorrell is sometimes called Lemon Grass and is a favorite of kids to munch on because of it’s lemony taste.
Small and not too invasive it is easy to pull but seems to pop up everywhere!
Tip: Using smell is a good way to help identify certain weeds/plants. Catnip, Lamium, Mugwort and Mints all have very distinctive smells
While considered a weed, Purslane is not a bad plant, just misunderstood. It only appears in late summer here in Vermont.
Purslane thrives in hot dry conditions. Very low growing, it is never a problem for Daylilies and Iris.
Purslane is considered good eating and very good for you.
From Mother Earth News
“Purslane may be a common plant, but it is uncommonly good for you.
It tops the list of plants high in vitamin E and an essential omega-3
fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Purslane provides
six times more vitamin E than spinach and seven times more beta carotene
than carrots. It’s also rich in vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin, potassium and phosphorus.”
Probably just letting it be is the best approach.
Queen Annes Lace: (Daucus carrota) biennial
Queen Annes Lace is not considered a weed by many. It has wonderful weed airy flowers.
The ancestor of the Carrot, Queen Annes Lace has a deep taproot. Cutting the taproot should control it.
Not too rambunctious we almost always leave Queen Annes Lace be to grow.
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) perennial
Red Clover is not really a weed. Clovers help add nitrogen to the soil and are excellent bee forage.
But lets face it if it’s growing in the wrong place it’s a weed. Cutting at the crown will control it.
Growing to almost 2 feet tall it could compete with Daylilies and Iris but it is usually not too
overbearing and as such we leave it when we can.
White Clover: (Trifolium pratense) perennial
White Clover is the smaller cousin of Red Clover. We have it in all our lawns and love it!
As a Clover it also adds nitrogen to the soil. Low growing to not compete with Daylilies and Iris we
leave it be most of the time.
Annual Black Eyed Susan: (Rudbeckia annua) annual
Annual Black Eyed Susan is not really a weed either but sometimes it’s in the wrong
place. Easily identified by it’s hairy leaves it starts as a low rosette and then grows to about 2 feet in hieght.
Easily controlled by cutting the crown. In fact trying to transplant it in bloom is a surefire way to kill it!
Smartweed; (Polygonum) Annual
Sometimes called Mile A Minute plant! This low growing weed can really spread and seeds in like crazy.
Pulling the plants early and often is the best approach. Thier shallow root system makes them easy to pull.
Velvet Leaf: (Abutilon theophrasti) Annual
Velvet leaf is an invader from from India! Growing up to 5 feet tall.
It’s characteristic velvety leaves make it easy to identify. Persistent and tall we always pull it out
as it will grow taller than the Daylilies and Iris. The seed capsule are fascinating, with a gear like appearance.
Vetch: (Vicia sativa) perennial
Another legume Vetch will also add Nitrogen to the soil. not really a too terrible weed in our experience,
but because it’s a creeper and climber it’s not much fun finding it growing all over your Daylilies and Iris.
Easily pulled from the tops, Vetch will come back but not particularly strongly.
Violet (Viola odorata) Perennial
Definitely not a weed in our opinion, Violets our low growing with wonderful blue-violet or white flowers.
At least when one is assessing ones flower garden, it’s nice to recognize this as a good “weed”
Wild Lettuce: (Lactuca serriola) Annual
Growing to over 5 feet tall, this weed while not particularly invasive is large and imposing.
Cutting the crown before it seeds is the key to easy control.
Quackgrass or Creeping Quackgrass: (Agropyron repens) perennial
We’ve saved the worst for last. Quackgrass is a horrible pernicious weed that runs like crazy.
We have found it growing right through Daylily roots. Constant pulling of the plants and roots is the best control. We’ve found heavily mulched beds make pulling the Quackgrass much easier.
Nature abhors a vacuum.
Allowing certain low growing weeds to remain can be beneficial as these plants will occupy space and act as a green mulch, helping to prevent certain other less desirable /more invasive weeds from growing.