Weeds With Heart Shaped Leaves: What Are They?
Did you find some weeds with heart shaped leaves in your garden or around your home? Not sure what they are or if you should get rid of them? Generally speaking, weeds are an unwelcome sight in just about every garden. In this article, hobby gardener Jason White looks at what these weeds are all about, with pictures for identification.
Weeds are unwanted plants that grow in your yard, garden, or farm. Some weeds can be particularly aggressive and can choke out the plants that want to grow. Weeds create a messy garden, and many can be difficult to remove. So if you’ve found some weeds with heart shaped leaves in your garden, you may be wondering what they are.
Before you can effectively remove weeds, it’s helpful to know what they are. Some weeds can damage more crops than others, so knowing what is popping up gives you more knowledge about how and when to treat the weeds you see.
Weeds also react differently to control tactics, especially when they are reproducing. If you don’t treat them early enough, you could be too late, as some release thousands of seeds that could pop up next year. Let’s take a look at some of the most common weeds that have leaves with a heart-like shape.
If you have weeds with heart-shaped leaves, it’s helpful to know what kind of plants they are so you can remove them. Weeds can be categorized as grasses and broadleaf plants. Grasses will not have leaves, while broadleaf weeds can have several types of leaves. Those that are heart-shaped are technically butterfly-shaped.
To better understand the type of weed you have, check how the leaves attach to the stem. They can either be opposite or alternating. Pay attention to the texture and color, as well as the base of the leaf where it attaches to the stem. Several weeds with heart-shaped leaves appear all over the United States.
Bermuda buttercup is an Oxalis that looks like clover or shamrock. The plant lives in agricultural areas, especially in irrigated farms. The plant can be toxic to livestock. Despite occasionally being ornamental, the plant can become a nuisance. The plant is ubiquitous in urban, suburban, and rural locations.
It is easy to identify by its small yellow flowers and clusters of heart-like leaves. The plant prefers full sun, while the creeping wood sorrel prefers shady conditions.
Removing Bermuda buttercup is challenging, especially when the weed grows in ornamental landscape areas. To avoid spreading the weed, do not move soil to other areas of the garden. The plant has bulbs, so the best way to remove them is by removing the bulbs. They typically grow in zones 8-11, so if you live in this area, keep your eyes open for them.
Creeping Wood Sorrel
Creeping wood sorrel is a low-growing perennial. It has clover-like leaves, and this weed is identifiable by its yellow flowers. It prefers shady conditions. Creeping wood sorrel prefers yards and gardens along with agricultural areas. Since it is an Oxalis, it can be difficult to remove. The little yellow flowers have five separate petals.
Removing wood sorrel involves controlling the seeds and hand-weeding mature plants. Once established, it can take years to remove creeping wood sorrel. Some people treat established wood sorrel by covering it with mulch to prevent light from helping it germinate. It’s best to remove these plants manually by the root.
Henbit is a biennial plant that grows in agricultural areas, gardens, landscapes, and roadsides. The plants can grow to 1.3 feet tall, and they are readily identifiable by their heart-shaped leaves and square-shaped stems. They have hairy leaves with rounded tips and toothed edges. Henbit weeds are also identifiable by their purple flowers.
Between March and August, henbits flower in red or purple whorls. They can self-pollinate, making them especially resilient. Some of the small flowers on the lower leaves do not open. Henbit can grow in lawns and sidewalk cracks.
The best way to control henbit is to grow a thick, healthy yard so it can not find a place to take root. Using weed killer for lawns will protect your lawn and kill unwanted weeds like henbit.
Japanese Morning Glory
The Japanese Morning Glory is a broadleaf plant that has heart-shaped leaves. While some people grow it by choice, the plant has become a weed in the San Joaquin Valley in California, especially in cotton farms. This weed needs moisture and does not survive hard freezes.
The best time to control morning glories is when they are seedlings before they begin climbing stems and choking crops. Once they’ve wrapped their leaves around crops, it is too difficult to remove them without damaging crops.
Japanese Morning Glory seeds survive for a long time, and they can release alkaloid compounds that can be toxic to animals and people. They tend to become problematic in gardens, vineyards, orchards, and unmanaged locations.
The seedlings are easy to identify, especially since they emerge when the ground offers substantial moisture. The seed leaves are glossy and butter-fly shaped. They are hairless where the connection is purplish-red. By the time the plant becomes mature, the leaves reach up to three inches in length and they alternate on the stem.
Japanese Morning Glory flowers between June and November. The funnel-shaped flowers are pale purple with white at the base.
Removing any morning glory weeds can take time. Removing the plant at the root does not work, as the remaining plants send out more tendrils to stay alive. Repeated removal and mowing will generally produce results, but it will take time.
Oxalis is a tenacious weed that looks like a clover. It resembles a groundcover and has small yellow flowers. There is no good time to remove Oxalis because it regrows quickly and only needs a fragment of a stem. Animals can move the plant, and it grows successfully in most soil conditions. Oxalis comes in a variety of colors, including orange.
It is possible to control Oxalis. Pulling the weed can be difficult, as the fragments can continue to establish new plants. We do not recommend using a herbicide as they can kill other local native plants. Plan on it taking some time to remove this weed by hand.
Tall Annual Morning Glory
Tall Morning Glory can also be a weed, especially on farms. This plant likes moisture and does not survive hard freezes. The best time to destroy them is at their seedling stage before they grow vines that can damage host plants. Like Japanese Morning Glory, the Annual Morning Glory seed has toxins that are dangerous for people and animals.
Tall Morning Glory flowers June to November with dark purple, blue, or pink flowers, and some can be bi-colored. Morning Glory seeds look like wedges removed from a sphere. They are between ⅖ to ⅕ of an inch with a dull, grainy surface. They need to be planted about four inches into the ground.
Velvetleaf is a troublesome weed in gardens and farms, especially in soybean and cornfields. The tall plant can reduce the amount of light that gets to plants that gardeners and farmers want to succeed. Velvetleaf can also bring diseases and pests to crops. The seeds can last in the ground for up to 50 years, making them problematic.
Velvetleaf is a tall weed that can grow up to five feet. The stems are coarse and have leaves covered in short hairs. The stalks are four to eight inches long and alternate. The plant has an unpleasant odor when broken. It has a toxic chemical that can kill nearby plants, as the toxin gets into the soil and deters nearby plants from drawing water and creating chlorophyll.
Along with being tall, it is easy to identify the velvetleaf by its flowers that bloom between July and August. The small flowers have five distinctive yellow petals stalked near the stem.
Controlling velvetleaf is challenging. The best way to control the plant is to weed it by hand before it spreads seeds.
Recognizing weeds with heart-shaped leaves helps you better control their growth. Some plants, like velvetleaf and Oxalis species, can be harmful to garden plants and crops. Learning to control them effectively can make your gardening and farming experience more successful. When it comes to controlling weeds, identifying them gives you power over them.