It's time to get on top of your weeds. Annual weeds, such as lamb's quarters and pigweed, are easy to control by shallow weeding with a sharp hoe or a tug on larger plants. But perennial weeds only have one control option -- your tenacity.
Japanese knotweed, quack grass, horsetail, and gout weed are just some of the perennial weeds that plague gardens. These weeds are adapted to survive. They have the ability to form new plants along their roots, so what's left behind after weeding will eventually send up a new plant. Herbicides may set them back, but really the only way to control these weeds is to be tenacious.
The first step is evaluation. If these perennial weeds have overrun your flower garden, it might be better to transplant the flowers and start over. If there are only a few weeds in the bed or they're just starting to invade, frequent weeding, especially after a rain when the ground is soft and roots come up easily, is best.
For areas you want to reclaim, draw a line in the sand or in the clay. Decide where they can grow and where your garden starts. Cover the garden spot with black plastic, old rugs or some other heavy material. You can also mow every few weeks instead to weaken the plants. After a season, pull out the weaken plants, and as much root system as possible.
Weed thoroughly every year to catch any strays. Dig a one-foot-deep trench and install metal, wooden, or plastic edge between your garden and the wild weed patch to prevent it from reinvading.
Next week on the Connecticut Garden Journal, I'll be talking about bean problems. Until then, I'll be seeing you in the garden.