As soon as the snow melts, gardeners start checking their gardens for signs of spring. Cheerful yellow and purple crocuses decorate the ground, splashes of bright paint on the garden’s still barren canvas. The green tips of spring Tulips and Daffodils (Narcissus) can be seen emerging from the soil. The tiny flowerettes of the Sedum that will color the fall garden can be seen clustering around the dry stalks of last year’s growth. And spotted between your favorite plants, already green and growing are the first weeds.
The hardiest of garden survivors, weeds sprout earlier, grow faster and die later than any other plant in the garden. The time to attack weeds is now in early spring before their roots get a good grip in the soil and start to spread. Nipping weeds in the bud as soon as they start to appear is the best way to protect your summer garden from an entrenched summer infestation of nettles or garlic mustard. In the spring, rains soak and loosen the soil, making it easier to dig up shallow-rooted weeds now that in the summer when the sun bakes the ground into concrete.
Some of the most invasive weeks are those that look like leafy groundcover. Purple dead nettle and garlic mustard are often mistaken for desirable plants by novice gardeners. Scalloped, heart-shaped, well-veined leaves give purple dead nettle and garlic mustard a charming appearance. However, once established, these invasive plants quickly send out long, thin runners above and below ground, making it very difficult, if not impossible to completely rid your yard of these invaders. If not eliminated before they get a foothold in your garden, these weeds will spread and grow, crowding out desirable plants and turning your summer garden into a weeding war zone. A preemptive spring strike is the best way to rid your garden of these invaders.