Are dandelions weeds? 6 plants you didn’t know were weeds – and how to remove them

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Plants like dandelions and daisies can grow quickly and easily in a range of soils, sprouting across garden lawns and in flowerbeds. Daisies have distinctive white petals and a yellow centre, while dandelions are typically bright yellow with thick flowers. While they may appear pretty, some may be surprised to learn daisies are actually weeds, sprouting where they are not wanted.

Weeds are typically classed as any plant which grows where it is not wanted and can range from daisies to invasive Japanese knotweed.

There is a range of methods to remove weeds, often specific to the plants themselves.

However when it comes to Japanese knotweed, often gardeners best bet is to turn to a professional to remove it.

Read on for the six plants you may not have known were weeds, and how to remove them.

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1. Dandelions

Dandelions are yellow flowers that transform into dandelion clocks, with seedlings that float in the air.

While appearing pretty, these can appear unsightly in lawns and gardens.

Dandelions can be controlled with one or two applications of weedkillers containing 2,4-D, dicamba, clopyralid or fluroxypyr.

You can also use boiling water and vinegar, pouring the mixture over the dandelions, then using a weeding knife to dig up the roots.

You can read more on removing dandelions here.

2. Daisies

Daisies are perennial weeds, one of the most common to grow on lawns around the world.

They spread quickly due to their underground root system – known as rhizomes.

Daisies often cluster together, and while mowing easily removes the head of the flower they can sprout back up again in no time.

If on paving or in flowerbeds, use a spot weeder and apply the chemical to the foliage of daisies.

If on a lawn, use a lawn weedkiller to avoid damaging the lawn itself.

You can also opt to pull daisies by hand, however, this can be time-consuming.

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3. Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed has reddish-purple fleshy shoots in spring, which come from crimson-pink buds at ground level.

These shoots grow quickly, and during the summer turn into dense stands of tall bamboo-like canes which grow to 2.1m (7ft) tall.

They can damage properties and walls, and so is illegal to grow and so professional contractors are typically the way to go, with access to a more powerful weedkiller which can take half the time.

Digging out Japanese knotweed requires professional help as disposing of Japanese knotweed is classed as controlled waste under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If you are wanting to tackle it yourself, the best option according to the RHS is a glyphosate-based weedkiller such as Roundup Tree Stump.

However, getting professional help is recommended.

Follow all of the instructions on the weedkiller, and bear in mind regrowth can happen which will need to be treated.

4. Giant hogweed

Giant hogweed has dense, white, small flowers and can cause nasty burns to the skin if touched.

It can grow to more than three metres high, and with the danger to skin, it is an offence to actively cause giant hogweed to grow.

Local authorities will often take action to remove infestations in public areas.

If handling giant hogweed yourself, make sure you wear gloves, cover your arms and wear a face mask.

The RHS advises: “Giant hogweed is a controlled waste (similar to Japanese knotweed) so, if it is taken off-site, can only be disposed of in licensed landfill sites with the required documentation”.

Calling a professional is recommended, as there are no currently listed weedkillers to tackle this alone.

5. Himalayan basalm

Similar to daisies, Himalayan basalm has pretty pink flowers so could easily be mistaken for a benign plant.

However, once in your garden, Himalayan basalm can grow rapidly and be difficult to control – growing to well over head height.

Himalayan basalm can be cut back, however, this can encourage rapid regrowth which can set seed and cause new sprouts to grow.

Instead, you can control using glyphosate, spraying the foliage in the spring before flowering.

You can also pull out the plants by hand, however, make sure to let them lie on the grass in the sun for a few days to allow them to dry out before composting.

6. Rhododendron ponticum

Rhododendron ponticum is a non-indigenous evergreen shrub belonging to the Ericaceae family and can be invasive.

They are a very attractive dark green-leaved shrub with showy trusses of flowers.

Again professionals can remove rhododendrons with ease, however, there are options to tackle it at home.

This includes stem injection control, where herbicide is injected directly into the stems of large rhododendron.

This can result in the death of rhododendrons within six months.

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