Winter months are a great time to get weeds under control. One way to control them is by hand-weeding. Weed seedlings may look like plant seedlings, and new gardeners may not know how to identify weed seedlings.
Common weed seedlings include:
- Artillery fern
- Asiatic hawksbeard
- Heartleaf drymary
- Spanish needle
- Yellow woodsorrell
A great weed ID resource is the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center’s Weed Identification Guide. This is one of the things I appreciate about UF/IFAS Extension: the cattle and pasture folks make available their weed list with photos, and this is helpful to home gardeners, too!
Other weed ID resources include:
- Weed Management by Dr. Chris Marble
- Weeds of South Florida: An Identification Guide (Photos begin on Page 17) by the Palm Beach State College Horticultural Taxonomy Class, revised Sept. 2013 George Rogers, Ph.D.
- ID of Weeds in Florida Citrus (available for purchase through the UF/IFAS Extension bookstore)
Some weeds are host plants for insect vectors. Check out this UF/IFAS EDIS publication for information on weed hosts and insect vectored viruses. Table 1 lists the weed hosts of these common vegetable viruses, which is a good reason to pull these weeds.
Using these resources, you may become proficient at weed ID. Hand-pulling weeds is an environmentally friendly method of weed control. One of our Hillsborough Master Gardener Volunteers tries to “pull a bucket a day.” However, if you need assistance with identifying weed seedlings, contact your local county Extension office.