Flowers in Disguise
Some of the most annoying and troublesome weeds are actually disguised as beautiful flowers. But don't let their alluring petals mislead you. Some of these plants are very aggressive in nature, making them hard to control. One in particular is even illegal to grow in many states!
Morning glories (right) are a prime example. These flowers are gorgeous, but the plant can often become aggressive in the garden. Even though these aggressive plants are sometimes planted on purpose, keep in mind that while they may look nice, they can quickly get out of control! Here are a few common plants to watch out for...
- What: Summer annual; reseeds in gardens and lawns.
- Where: Most troublesome in southern and central U.S. Less of a problem in colder regions. Adapts to a wide range of conditions.
- Control strategies: Mulching and cultivation work in the garden. Not a problem in lawns; mowing and broadleaf weed killers will prevent any strays from taking over. Do not confuse this with perennial bindweed, wich looks similar and is a problem in lawns.
- What: Summer annual. Toxic to livestock and humans.
- Where: Throughout most of U.S. except the Northwest and northern Great Plains. Tolerates a wide range of conditions.
- Control strategies: Pull plants from the garden as soon as they appear, before they set seed, and mulch. Not a problem in lawns, as it doesn't tolerate mowing. Poisonous.
- What: Tall perennial with spiky purple flowers. Has escaped cultivation and is invading wetlands, ruining wildlife habitat.
- Where: Northeast through Midwest. More than 20 states are implementing control measures. In many states, it's illegal to grow this invasive plant.
- Control strategies: Remove plants from the garden. Even sterile cultivars have been found to set seed. Moving prevents problems in the lawn.
- What: Perennial spread by roots and seeds that shoot across the landscape when ripe.
- Where: Northern, southeast and western U.S.; southern Canada.
- Control strategies: Pull existing plants from gardens and mulch to reduce seeding. Spot treat problem areas with total vegetation killer. For lawns, treat twice in fall, about 6 weeks apart, with a broadleaf weed killer label for controlling difficult weeds.