Help me ID these weeds
June 28, 2016 1:40 PM   Subscribe

When I moved in to my flat a few years ago, I inherited a tiny plot that was mostly weeds and managed to develop a nice-ish lawn. Now it's worse than before. How do I fix this on my own?

Somehow over the last few months, some weeds that I don't recognise have completely taken over. I used to be able to trim it but the roots are deep and these plants are now appearing everywhere!

I'm thinking weedkiller and start again. What is this and what do I need?
posted by joboe to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Purging buckthorn, perhaps?

I'd avoid letting them get to tree form. I have a different kind of buckthorn that's shown up at my place. Birds love the berries, which exacerbates the problem (and is probably why you have so many).
posted by tempestuoso at 2:10 PM on June 28, 2016

I'm not sure on the plant ID, but if these are so persistent, I think you'll need to do a proactive application of weed killer at least once a year, probably in spring or whenever these buggers like to start growing.

What have you tried? Do they pull up at all?

Without knowing more, I would try pulling as many as I could (water some the day before to loosen up the earth if necessary). Then I'd apply some kind of weed'n'feed. Grass is tenacious in my experience (try getting rid of it in a garden bed!), and I bet it will come back. On the other hand, this post from Cornell says NOT to use weed'n'feed and why.

It would be helpful to have a firm ID though to determine which weedkiller to apply. Are there any local gardening clubs? Sometimes they have hotlines for this kind of thing, with known remedies.
posted by purple_bird at 2:59 PM on June 28, 2016

Contact your state's Master Gardeners through the University Extension Service for an ID and the most specific and responsible advice:
posted by dancing leaves at 5:05 AM on June 29, 2016

Sorry. I should have specified that I'm in London, England. I haven't been able to find anything/anyone online that will help me ID this. Is it worth experimenting with different types of weedkiller or will that make it worse?
posted by joboe at 12:48 PM on June 29, 2016

I'm pretty sure it's Parietaria, or Pellitory-of-the-Wall, also known as lichwort. Don't experiment, ask your local garden center for a broadleaf weed killer. Herbicides are nothing to mess around with.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:01 PM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Also: If you decide to pull it, wear long sleeves and gloves. It causes sensitivity among some people (me included). I have an easy time pulling the species here in the Bay Area if the soil is loose.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:04 PM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

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