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How to Identify Most Common UK Weeds

Unwanted plants can bring serious threats to British backyards. This is especially true when we fail to manage and discard them properly. To be able to prevent the growth of unwanted weeds, we also need to recognise each type and how to best deal with them.

9 Most Common UK Weeds and How to Identify Them

Generally speaking, there are three major types of weeds: annual, lawn, and perennial or woody weeds.

Annual weeds lasts for only a year or merely during the growing season, but they produce a lot of seeds for the following year, and years afterwards.

Lawn weeds are the type that grows so vigorously that they are able to ‘suffocate’ the grass. Plantains, dandelions, and daisies fall under this category.

Perennial and woody weeds, meanwhile, have larger or deeper roots and they keep on coming back year after year. These weeds can re-grow from even the smallest left-over segment, so digging them up can often worsen the problem.

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Here are nine of the most common types you need to be able to recognise and watch out for:

1. Broad-leaved dock

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This weed species can be highly variable, making it hard to identify at times. It can grow in a wide range of soils, but its seedlings are poor competitors. They can only develop effectively in open or disturbed patches.

You can determine Broad-leaved dock through its large and oval-shaped leaves. It blooms between May and October, producing small green/white flowers. These blooms will turn brown after pollination.

2. Couch grass

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Couch grass weed can reach up to a height of two metres within one season. It can also flourish in any soil.

To identify couch grass, remember that it looks like a tougher, thicker and longer version of regular grass. It also grows spikey shoots in more varied directions.

3. Hedge bindweed

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Similar to a vine. Hedge bindweeds also twists and turns around other plants, fences and objects. They are common in riverbanks and woodlands.

It can be identified through its white trumpet-shaped flowers growing from the stem. They usually bloom between June and September.

4. Lamb’s quarter

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This weed can be identified with its scalloped leaves with a grey underside, growing mostly in
landscape and garden areas under the sun or in the shade.

Lamb’s quarter can grow up to four feet tall, and 18 inches wide.

5. Nettle

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This weed must have stung most people at least once in their lives with its leaves. It has green, oval-shaped leaves with teeth lining the edge.

Nettle stems are square, and they contain tiny hairs. This weed can grow up to two metres tall.

Trivia: Nettles, despite being known to sting, are one of the edible garden plants you can add to your meal!

6. Dandelion

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One of the most popular and easy to identify weed species, dandelions have a large rosette with a long stout taproot. Its yellow flowers or fluffy white blooms are also distinctive, with the latter containing seedlings that are distributed by the wind.

7. Daisy

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Most of us might not realise this: but daisies are in fact weeds. Nevertheless, they are one of the most recognisable lawn weeds in the UK.

Daisies can grow in a wide variety of soil conditions and locations. They can also out-compete the growth of other weeds, causing them to weaken and die.

If you are not yet familiar with daisies, know that they are small white-flowered weeds with a yellow centre. It also has a small rosette at the base from which the flower sprouts.

8. Chickweed

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One of the most common UK weeds, chickweeds vary in size and weight.

You can identify one by its small white star-shaped flowers and tiny white line of weaved hair that grows along the stem. The texture of a chickweed’s leaves can vary from smooth to slightly furry.

If you spot some growing in your yard, you are advised to immediately get rid of it as it attracts Spider Mite and Greenfly. These pests can ruin any edibles you are growing in the garden.

9. Groundsel

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This weed’s leaves vary from lightly hairy with cotton-like hairs to smooth. Groundsel can grow up to two feet tall.

In terms of its stems, they branch out into little clusters with small yellow flower heads. They contain evenly-placed leaves which have toothed edges.

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