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In the lush world of plants, not all visitors are welcome. Common UK weeds, those persistent plants that invade our gardens and lawns, can be a source of frustration for many gardeners. But despite their persistence, weeds possess fascinating qualities that have allowed them to survive and thrive.
Below we look at some of the most common UK weeds you’ll likely encounter in your garden. We’ll uncover their characteristics, identifying features, and tips for keeping these uninvited guests under control!
Common UK weeds
Thistles are notorious for their spiky leaves and vibrant purple or pink flowers. Common species include Creeping Thistle and Spear Thistle.
Ceasing thistle’s growth!
While they can be challenging to get rid of, if you dig them out before they flower, you can quickly control these prickly pests!
Common UK Dandelion
With its bright yellow flowers and fluffy white seed heads, the dandelion is an easily recognisable common UK weed. Its deep roots allow it to withstand drought conditions, making it a formidable opponent in the garden.
The dandelion cure
Regularly removing dandelions by hand, ensuring you extract the entire root, can help control their spread. But we recommend you wait and let them flower before removing them because pollinators and our buzzing garden regulars love them.
The charming daisy can quickly form in dense lawn patches across your lawn. With its delicate white petals and yellow centre, daisies are easy for pollinators to land on and are a great source of nectar for bees and butterflies.
Keeping daisies under control
Regular mowing will keep these flowers from getting out of control.
With its distinctive trio of leaves (sometimes they have four if you're lucky) and small, round flower heads, Clover often finds its way into lawns and can quickly take over - this bit is not so lucky! It thrives in nitrogen-rich soil and can easily outcompete grasses if you don't step in to combat it.
In the springtime, you can’t help but feel cheerful when you spot the shiny, buttercup yellow flowers of lesser celandine. It provides an excellent supply of pollen and nectar for buzzing pollinators.
Stopping celandine in its tracks
While it’s not a super aggressive weed that will rarely try and outcompete other plants, its stubborn roots can make it a bit unwelcome when it starts to pop up everywhere. You can either trim it to keep it in check or dig it out of the ground completely.
Dock leaf weed
Dock species like Broadleaf Dock have large, broad leaves and reddish stems. They can be useful when you've been stung by a nettle but they are an eyesore when wanting the perfect lawn! They often thrive in low-nutrient soils and areas with poor drainage - so this makes removing them easier.
How to remove dock from your lawn
If you only have a few, you can dig them out using a trowel, ensuring you remove the roots, and they likely won't return. But, if they are more of a problem, you can use a lawn fertiliser (similar to what you would do to combat clover) to boost your grass, so it can fight them out of your lawn.
Charlock is a member of the mustard family and can grow into a spicy invader if left unattended. It features bright yellow flowers and coarse, deeply lobed leaves.
Stopping charlock from taking over
Regular mowing or cutting before charlock begins to seed can limit its spread while pulling out by hand is effective for smaller infestations.
The gorgeous pink flowers and colourful spikes of rosebay willowherb are frequently seen on railway banks, in woodland areas and your garden. It serves as an important nectar source for pollinators, but it tends to spread easily, and this can be a problem when it's rapidly reproducing around the edges of your lawn!
Eradicating rosebay willowherb
Although this weed can quickly get out of control and start taking over, it can also be dug out easily by the roots and will often not return.
Creeping Buttercup is one of the more common UK weeds. Most people know them instantly by their shiny, yellow flowers and deeply divided, glossy leaves. Recognisable by the buttercup-under-the-chin test, this dainty little weed can spread rapidly across your lawn before you realise it.
Controlling the buttercup
Digging out by the roots, regular mowing and improving drainage can help control this weed. But if buttercups have already gotten out of control, you can use our 3 IN 1 Lawn Rescue will get rid of it and get your emerald green lawn back!
Horsetail (also known as Marestail) is an ancient and resilient weed with jangling stems. It spreads through its elaborate underground root stem system, which makes it challenging to get rid of.
Slowing down horsetail
Regular cutting and digging into its roots can help weaken horsetail over time.
Plantain has broad, ribbed leaves that form in clusters close to the ground. The most common variants you will be likely to see are Broadleaf Plantain and Ribwort Plantain. This weed attracts pollinators and smaller insects, and while it's not an aggressive weed, it can sometimes try and take over your lawn.
How to remove plantain from your garden
Thankfully, you can control this common UK weed by digging it out by hand or using spot weed treatments.
Managing common UK weeds
Weeds may be considered unwelcome guests in our gardens, but understanding their characteristics and employing appropriate weed control measures can help keep them in check. Regular monitoring, proper lawn and garden maintenance, and timely intervention will help ensure your garden remains a healthy and flourishing sanctuary for your desired plants. So, equip yourself with knowledge, roll up your sleeves, and bid farewell to those pesky invaders that threaten to overtake your garden’s beauty.
If you would like further advice or want to discuss a project on your lawn, please get in touch; we are always happy to help.