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Want to Identify Native "Weeds" Before Removing

 
Katie Shank
Posts: 13
Location: Southwest Michigan
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We have a very lightly wooded section to our 1 acre micro-farm where the weed population is starting to get out of control. I'd like to remove these before they start encroaching on our garden, but first I need help identifying them so I don't accidentally get rid of something that actually has a beneficial purpose. Also, once I pull the weeds, I'd like to plant some type of purposeful groundcover to take their place. Any suggestions? I'd love for it to be something edible. I'm in southwest Michigan, zone 6a.

Pictures are here: http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2013/05/03/calling-all-weed-experts/

Thanks as always!
 
Rick Roman
pollinator
Posts: 442
Location: Pennsylvania Pocono Mt Neutral-Acidic Elv1024ft AYR41in Zone 5b
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The first weed is first year garlic mustard. To test... crush in hand and smell... garlic. It is a good wild edible. Yummy.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Katie, I guess my reply would be that those "weeds" are serving a beneficial service already!
It looks like they are growing under a canopy of some sort of conifer ? This presents a whole layer of issues in and of itself. You may not get a lot of sun, the soil PH may be different than surrounding pastures/gardens. So it may be that these weeds are telling you something about the location?
I am glad you are trying to identify the plants before removing them. That will give you lots of info about the site all by itself.
 
Katie Shank
Posts: 13
Location: Southwest Michigan
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Thank you both so much! Mystery Weed #1 is definitely Garlic Mustard. I pulled up about a half bushel of them today and also my husband drove over some with the truck and I kept thinking "Why do I smell onions? Are there chives hiding around here somewhere?". Also the photos I found online of Garlic Mustard look exactly like what I have. Cool! Now to find some tips on how to use/cook with them!

And Miles, you're right. They ARE serving a purpose already... I almost amended my original post to state as much but decided not to. All the same, I'd like to figure out what they are for numerous reasons I won't go into for the sake of brevity. (They are growing under conifers - not sure what exact kind of pine tree - with limited shade and soil that hasn't been tested but is undoubtedly somewhat acidic.)

If anyone knows what the other "weeds" are I'd love the help!

Thanks again.
 
Roxanne Sterling-Falkenstein
Posts: 97
Location: Cave Junction, Oregon
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The other two plants I would let them flower so you can identify them. The seedlings could be more garlic mustard.
 
Greta Fields
Posts: 218
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I am curious why you want to replace these beautiful ground covers!!! They look perfectly happy there. When you DO find out what they are, I would suggest replacing with a similar plant. I have been fighting weeds for 25 years, and have learned the weed is there because something ELSE is missing. I think that "waterweed" is taking over the creekbanks all over eastern Kentucky because river cane, which it resembles, was destroyed.
River cane is a bamboo type weed which Cherokee used to build houses and make blowguns, wooden beads etc. Snakes thrive in it.
Greta
 
Brett Andrzejewski
gardener
Posts: 315
Location: Buffalo, NY
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I am not able to identify the weeds, but I would recommend:
Youtube user Eattheweeds
http://www.youtube.com/feed/UCLRDaR2ywG1APiwUzeTwrJw

I would also recommend his website:
http://www.eattheweeds.com/

He is based in Florida so his common edible 'weeds' might be geographically different than yours. Yet! I have found several of his 'weeds' in my high desert backyard in New Mexico.
 
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