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weeds that grow in colorado

Weeds that grow in colorado

Kochia is a member of the goosefoot family (along with lambs quarters, spinach, beets, and chard). Non-native to the U.S., kochia is now found in all western states, except Alaska. It has grey-green leaves and can grow to be 5’ or taller if not controlled. When small, kochia can often have a slight purple color on the underside of its leaves. Luckily, kochia has a shallow taproot and is very easily pulled if you catch it early. Once you get to know what young kochia looks like, it is unmistakable and so you can watch for it during early germination in your raised bed.

The dreaded bindweed! This is a very common, vining weed that has small white, morning glory flowers. It can be difficult to kill because it spreads by both seed and root. If you pull out bindweed and leave a small piece of root in the ground, that root will re-sprout to grow a new plant. However, the best way to get rid of bindweed is indeed to just keep pulling it up! Think of it as a “war of attrition” – starving the bindweed of energy over time. Pull bindweed whenever you see it in your garden and you should be able to eradicate most of it over time. If you have a particularly bad bindweed problem, you can also consider landscape fabric below and/or around your bed to limit its growth. Bindweed is technically edible (but not very enjoyable).

Most of you likely already know what dandelion looks like! There are many different varieties of dandelion and they are all edible, from flower to leaves to roots. Most commonly, people eat their bitter leaves in fresh salads or juices. Dandelion is a perennial plant of the Aster family. It has broad green leaves, a low growth habit, and yellow flowers that form fluffy seed heads that travel by wind when released. Like dock, dandelion has deep tap roots and thus, can be difficult to get rid of in your garden. If you leave any of the root in the ground, dandelion can re-grow. Dandelion is best pulled out by using a trowel or small shovel to dig as much of the root out as possible.

Kochiakochia

Another edible weed, purslane is actually higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other known leafy plant. It is a succulent plant with a lemony flavor. Many people love purslane from the garden, in salads or very lightly cooked. That said, don’t let your purslane grow long enough to go to seed (unless you want a garden FULL of purslane). One purslane plant can produce over 200,000 seeds! And those seeds can continue to germinate for years into the future. Purslane grows prostrate on the ground from one main taproot and is best managed by hand weeding.

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Post a photo on our questions page and we’ll get back to you with an ID.

Related to spinach (in the goosefoot family), lambs quarters is an edible weed very common in Colorado. It will usually pop up in the very early spring and many gardeners harvest and eat their lambs quarters like spinach (great sautéed or in salads)! If you don’t pull it out early, lambs quarters can grow tall enough to take over parts of your garden, shading out your veggies. So even if you harvest and eat your lambs quarters, pull out the whole plant once you’re done harvesting so it does not take over your garden! Best managed by hand weeding or hoeing. Make sure to pull it out before it gets too big or its strong roots will pull out other plants along with it.

Purslanepurslane

A member of the buckwheat family, curly dock is a very common weed in Colorado and is also edible, although less commonly harvested for food. Dock has broad leaves, a bushy habit, and can get very tall if left to grow. With a deep and strong taproot, it can be hard to get the entire plant out by hand weeding and will regrow from roots left in the ground. The best way to kill dock is to use a shovel to dig up the entire plant (with as much of the taproot as possible). However, if pulling out dock risks ripping out your veggies along with the dock, its best to continue to cut the dock back below the soil surface throughout the season to stay on top of it. At the end of the season, dig the dock when the garden is empty.

Wondering what’s in your garden that doesn’t look like the veggies you know so well? It’s probably a weed! Here are seven of the most common Colorado weeds that we see in Urban Farm Co. raised beds…

Weeds that grow in colorado

Preventive:
The first and the most important step in a weed control program. Probably the most cost-effective method of weed control. Methods include: maintaining healthy pastures, using weed-free crop seed, weed-free manure and hay, and clean harvesting and tillage equipment, as well as the elimination of weed infestations in areas bordering cropland, and in irrigation ditches and canals.

Take a look at the Sprayer Calibration Fundamentals factsheet to ensure you are applying your herbicides appropriately.

Effective control depends on persistence and an integrated approach utilizing a combination of all the available methods.

Pocket Guide

Chemical:
Always read the label before using any herbicide! Weed control with herbicides is an effective tool for many target weed species. However, there are several aspects to consider when choosing a chemical program. These include: ID of target weed; herbicide selection; timing of application; desirable crops or plant species near control areas; the number of applications per year, and the number of years for treatment.

We can say that weeds are plants whose undesirable qualities outweigh their good points. In the US, crop losses and weed control programs are in the tens of billions of dollars each year.

How can I control weeds on my property?

Noxious weeds are non-native plants that disrupt native vegetation because they have no natural controls and are able to adapt to varied climate conditions. As a result of the Colorado Noxious Weed Act, noxious weeds have been categorized according to their status: A, B, and C.

Weeds are naturally strong competitors and those weeds that can best compete always tend to dominate. We may breed plants for yield, while nature breeds plants for survival. (D. Ligenfelter)

Weeds that grow in colorado


Mediterranean sage
Salvia aethiopis

Not Known In Colorado


Purple loosestrife
Lythrum salicaria

Fewer Than 10 Known Populations


Common bugloss
Anchusa officinalis