Monday, May 23, 2011

Georgia's 10 Most Noxious Weeds

Weeds have little or no worth. They are usually aggressive, overcome native plants in the area, and offer no benefits to the land. Weeds in this list should be removed from your landscape, and never planted. Some of these are sorta cute, but remember just because that Love-in-a-puff looks nice doesn’t mean that it plays nice in nature. Below are profiles of the 10 most noxious weeds in the Georgia landscape. For more information you can use the Georgia Native Plant Guide by Mercer University Press to make sure that your garden is a haven for plants that will complement and not constrict your landscape.
 
Calystegia sepium (a.k.a. Hedge bindweed) Classified as a climber vine, the hedge bindweed is found in fields, in borders, and wide open woody areas. It aggressively grows at a fast rate and will choke out other plants around it if not watched carefully. It will flower from July to September. 
 
Cardiospermum halicacabum (a.k.a Love-in-a-puff or Balloonvine) A delicate vine this climber has tiny white flowers from late summer to early fall. It gets its common name from the balloon like fruit that shows up containing stark black seeds. This vine is commonly found in various locations. 
 
Convolvulus arvensis (a.k.a. Field Bindweed) This vine will flower from April to October and is found in fields, pastures, and cultivated land. Its seeds can live 30-50 years in ground before germinating, which makes wiping out an infestation of the plant difficult at best. 
 
Crotalaria (a.k.a. Crotalaria or Rattlebox) this annual is fast growing till it reaches its maximum height of 5 feet. It has green foliage offset by yellow flowers, and will fruit from summer till fall. 
 
Cyperus esculentus (a.k.a. Yellow nutsedge or Chufa Flatsedge) this perennial grass has green foliage and flowers, with yellow fruit. It grows very fast and can take over an area quickly. It will bloom starting in mid-summer and fruit from summer till fall. 
 
Cyperus rotundus (a.k.a. Purple nutsedge or nutgrass) this grass is perennial with dark green foliage, purple spikes, and will rarely fruit. Its extracts have been known to be a fever reducer and pain remedy. Its tuber extracts can be used as a muscle relaxer. 
 
Ipomoea turbinata (a.k.a. Purple moonflower or lilacbell) this moonflower can have you seeing stars as ingestion will cause hallucinations. It is an annual herb in the morning-glory family. In China its leaves are used to treat stomach ailments and its seeds are used in trauma cases. 
 
Nassella trichotoma (a.k.a. Serrated tussock) this drought tolerant perennial grass grows up to 18 inches tall. It is characterized by brownish green leaves which turn yellow in winter. Infestation began in 1988 when corrupted fescue seed came over from Argentina. 
 
Solanum viarum (a.k.a. Tropical soda apple or Tropical nightshade) this aggressive perennial is host to numerous pathogens like the tomato mosaic virus. Vegetable gardens will perish quickly with soda apple near. It can produce 200 fruits a year on average per plant. It has fine white flowers during bloom periods.
 
Xanthium (a.k.a. cocklebur) this annual grows 2-4 feet tall in a wide variety of locations. Its burs are football shaped and covered with prickly spines. Care should be taken as its seeds are toxic to livestock. It will decrease wool value if sheep graze near fields with them. In fact, it was a major concern in the cotton and soybean trade, causing up to a 75% loss when fields are infested.

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