Pflugerville, TX Homeowners: How to identify and eradicate these 6 common weedsBY EMALEY BAXTER | FEBRUARY 13TH, 2019 | LAWN CARE, PFLUGERVILLE, TEXAS
Living in Pflugerville, Texas certainly has many benefits. Being a suburb of Austin offers Pflugerville residents big city amenities and attractions close to home while still enjoying the charm of a small Texas town. However, a problem that plagues both big city and small town alike are common landscape weeds. Homeowners often find that if a certain garden weed problem is not dealt with quickly and efficiently the once small issue becomes an all-out ordeal to correct.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common weeds that plague central Texas homeowners like those in Pflugerville and discuss ways to properly identify and eradicate the culprits before they cause more chaos to your home and landscape.
First Things First: What is a Weed?
A Plant Out of Place.
Weeds are known by everyone but are not always easily recognized. Let’s start by defining what exactly is a garden weed. Simply put a weed is just any plant that is ‘out of place’. While this definition could include desirable plants that have overgrown their intended boundaries, most commonly it is used to cover any plant that…
- Presents Difficulty In Cultivating Desirable Plants
- Has A Potential For Decreasing The Value Of Plant And Animal Products
- Causes Losses Through Increased Cultivation Or Harvesting Costs
- Presents A Hazard Of Poisoning People Or Animals
- Interferes With The Enjoyment Of Outdoor Recreation
- Destroys The Aesthetic Value Of Turf And Other Ornamental Plantings
What’s in a Name?
In Texas, there are two main types of weeds: broadleaf and grassy. Both of these can be difficult to treat as there are also subcategories: annual and perennial. The perennials are the most difficult to get rid of since they live the longest and keep returning year after year. Left unchecked, the annual varieties will continue to reproduce and spread across your property year after year as well. Additionally, there are often several common names for the same weed so photographic identification is most helpful.
6 Common Weeds Found in Pflugerville, Texas
1. Henbit Deadnettle
It is in fact, a Texas wildflower, but grown in the wrong setting can be a troublesome weed. A winter annual that blooms in early spring, Henbit is very plentiful in Central Texas. Henbit’s leaves are rounded with notched edges. They grow every inch or so on a square stem. The stems are weak so the longer the weed grows, the less stable its foundation is. It has purple flowers that grow at the very top of the plant.
Iconic due to its seed-head, the dandelion is easily recognizable. Coming from the French name dent de lion (lion’s tooth), the flower has a unique look. Children and adults alike enjoy blowing the seeds, so they take root in a lot of lawns. The leaves grow close to the ground in a star-shaped pattern. In bloom, the flower is yellow. You will usually see them in spring to early summer. They are a biennial or perennial bloom.
Thistle has a rapid growth rate and it can get very tall. If you don’t deal with it, it will grow several feet high and about a foot wide, taking up a bit of space in your lawn. When it’s young, it resembles a dandelion except that it’s purplish in color and the leaves have long spines on them. They also have hairy, jagged edges. Butterflies and other insects love this woolly biennial or perennial and will often eat from it.
Chickweed is an annual broadleaf and it germinates in the fall. It grows during the winter, produces seed and dies by early summer. It’s actually an herb and is named as such because it is a favorite food of chickens. Chickweed grows to about 8 inches high and the plant can mat together to about 16 inches. The leaves have smooth edges and are no more than 1 inch long. They also always grow in pairs, directly opposite each other on the stem. The stem has hairs covering the entire length. The flowers are small, about 1/8 inch across, and white with five petals, giving them a star shape.
Purslane tends to appear after the soil warms in late spring or early summer. It’s common in rich, fertile soil, often showing up in garden beds that have been freshly turned over. The succulent stems and leaves stay close to the ground. The tiny flowers at the stem tips quickly give way to seedpods. Purslane seeds can persist in soil for years, making them a perennial. It is heat and drought tolerant. The colors of round the stems are tinted red. The leaves are paddle-shaped, flat and alternately arranged.
6. Cheat Grass
This grass will quickly take over in poor soils that have been left unattended too long. They have a branched base with stems usually displaying red coloration. The leaf blades are flat, and both leaves and sheaths are covered with soft hairs. Seedheads are open and drooping. It will grow rapidly from seed, maturing within 2 months to 2 ft. tall.
Plan of Defense
Now that we’ve identified a few of the most common weedy plants that grow in Pflugerville, Texas let’s talk about the wide option of eradication strategies available to homeowners.
Commercially Available Organic Herbicides
There are many effective organic herbicides on the market and are widely available especially at the home improvement stores and nurseries around Pflugerville and Austin. Look for applications that allow you to control the distribution of the herbicide so that you do not unintentionally damage or kill your desirable plants that may be near the bunch of weeds.
DIY Organic Herbicides
For stubborn weeds use a mixture of white vinegar and orange oil as an organic herbicide.
1. In a large bucket mix 1 gallon 10-20% white vinegar with 2 ounces of orange oil or cleanser containing d-limonene (available at garden centers and some large retailers) and 2 ounces of liquid dishwashing detergent. Stir well to combine.
2. Funnel the weed killer into a plastic spray bottle. Shake it well as you use it, as the orange oil will tend to separate. Drench all surfaces of the weed with the solution during the hottest part of a sunny day. The weed will show signs of distress or die completely within two to four days. Repeat after 2 days and reapply after rain.
3. For year-long protection, give perennial weeds, such as dandelions, a good shot of the mixture in the spring before they have the chance to set seeds. Pick seed heads off and destroy them as they appear throughout the growing season. Don’t add them to your compost heap. Spray perennials with the herbicide in the fall to fully utilize the weed’s life cycle and send the material to the stems and roots to aid in killing the plants.
4. Tightly stored in a glass jar, this weed killing mixture will last indefinitely.
Lawn Care Specialists
Another benefit of living in the suburb of a large city means that homeowners in Pflugerville have easy access to a wide selection of highly specialized and qualified lawn care specialists that can come to your site and directly assess the issues your lawn presents.
Have more questions about lawn care? Visit our WikiLawn Lawn Care of Pflugerville, TX page.
Top Photo: Flickr // Jamie Beveridge
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