Is that a weed?

I am often asked, is that a weed? And when I reply, maybe, I am met with a look of puzzlement and surprise. 

I go on to further answer the question with my own inquiries.

  • Does it cause any harm?
  • Does it have anything to offer?
  • Is it in harmony with the existing landscape?

Many weeds have evolved to disguise themselves among a bed of desirables long enough to get themselves to flower. It is as if (and it is in the plant world) there is a race to the finish line of reproduction.

And speaking of reproduction, just outside my office is a bed of Aster alive with the buzz of pollination and—up until most recently—not a weed was in sight. Then, after weeks of drought, a rainstorm hit. And behold, out pops a weed that has all the foliage characteristics of the surrounding plants…already flowered and spreading its seed. 

Weeds are evolutionary warriors of the landscape and worrying about them is energy better spent learning about their life cycle and when they out-compete the desirables for water  and light. Once that is understood, a plan of action be taken to pull, burn or smother them before they have a greater impact on your local landscape.