Pigweed is a type of weed that can be found in gardens and lawns all over the world. It is considered an invasive species that can quickly take over any yard and can be difficult to get rid of.
Pigweed is an annual plant, which means it only lives for one year, but if left untreated it will continue to sprout from its root system every year. If you have ever been frustrated by not being able to get rid of this pesky weed, then read on! We’ve got some great tips on how to identify and remove pigweed from your garden or yard once and for all.
What Exactly is Pigweed?
Pigweed is a catch-all name for a number of different types of weeds that are all considered part of the Amaranthus family. The most common pigweed is known as Amaranthus retroflexus, which is also called Redroot Pigweed and Common Amaranth. However, there is also Amaranthus blitoides, which is known as Mat Amaranth or Prostrate Pigweed, as well as Amaranthus spinosus, or Spiny Amaranth.
These all have the name Pigweed due to their resemblance to the common pig. The leaves of the weed look very similar to a pigs ear and often times, you can find this weed in muddy, boggy areas where pigs feed.
All types of pigweed are invasive and difficult to get rid of, but they are especially annoying for gardeners because they will continue to sprout from their roots even if you or someone else has already pulled them out.
Pigweed is also considered an “early successional weed,” which means it thrives in newly disturbed habitats like land that has recently been tilled (either by humans or by erosion), and will quickly take over these areas and crowd out other, more desirable plants.
Pigweed is also one of the most common plants that form tumbleweeds.
Where and How Does Pigweed Grow?
All of the main forms of Pigweed can be found in almost any country and climate, although they were initially native to the Americas. In the United States, pigweed is a common weed in the Southwestern states, but it can also be found in many other parts of the country, so it can show up in your lawn too!
Pigweed tends to grow quickly during hot summer days as well as during periods of wet weather after a dry spell. They also reproduce rapidly—a single plant can produce up to 300,000 seeds each year! Pigweed can also grow to be very high, outcompeting other neighboring plants for sunlight. This type of pigweed tends to grow in damp soil near water sources like creeks, ponds, rivers, or in livestock pastures.
How Can I Identify Pigweed?
Regardless of what type of pigweed you have, these plants are easily identifiable when they show up in your garden or lawn. The first thing to do is identify which type you have, and whether you have pigweed at all.
Amaranthus Retroflexus, or Redroot pigweed, can grow up to 10 feet tall. The leaves can grow up to 6 inches long; the leaves at the top of the plant have the shape of a lance and those at the bottom of the stems are more ovular or diamond in shape. At the very top is a large and dense cluster of flowers with a bunch of green spiny ‘bracts’ interspersed throughout. The root system is also red, so if you pull this weed out of the ground it will have a reddish tint on some or all of its roots.
Prostrate Pigweed, on the other hand, is usually only around a few inches to a foot tall. The leaves are much broader than those of Redroot Pigweed, and the stems are long and prostrate, or lying down on the ground. Its flowers are also very small, and a light red-green color. The leaves are only about an inch long, and the plant itself grows in a radial pattern.
Spiny pigweed has a reddish stem with pointed spikes coming off of it. It can grow up to five feet tall.
Is Pigweed Edible?
In certain parts of the world, pigweed is considered an edible weed. The leaves of the plant are good to use as a cooked green vegetable, although it does contain certain toxins, like oxalic acid, that can irritate your stomach if you eat too much.
The seeds of Redroot pigweed are edible either raw or toasted, and in moderation they can be exceptionally nutritious for livestock such as pigs and cattle. However, in high quantities pigweed seeds can cause temporary digestive discomfort in the animals, or even cause fatal nephrotoxicity.
How Can I Eliminate Pigweed From My Lawn?
If you have pigweed growing on your property, there are several ways to get rid of it so that you don’t have to deal with this problem again next year.
The best way to get rid of pigweed is to pull it out of the ground by its roots. This is the first thing you should try – pull as much of it as you can out. Then, if you can’t get rid of it all or if you want to make sure it’s really gone, turn to some of these other methods.
One method to eradicate pigweed is by using pesticides or herbicides. Chemical-based methods are effective, but they can also be expensive, potentially damaging to surrounding plants, and dangerous for pets and people who might come into contact with them.
First, you should pull up as much of the plant as possible by hand.
Then, spray herbicide with glyphosate on any remaining plants that are not completely dead after pulling them out of the ground. It’s important to make sure all pigweed has been killed before letting livestock graze in an area where pigweed was previously present because even tiny pieces left behind will grow back and cause more problems for years to come if they’re not removed completely!
Weed killers with glyphosate are often non-selective, so if you want to use a slective herbicide with dicamba, that would be easier to use on your whole garden and not worry about killing other plants.
Some natural ways to rid your lawn of pigweed is to use vinegar, salt, boiling water, or even the neurotoxin acetic acid. Because pigweed is plant matter it can be burned or eaten.
Vinegar herbicides are a safe and easy way to kill off all that pesky pigweed in your yard! Mix 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar concentrate with 1 tablespoon of dish soap in 1 gallon of water.
To use, you will need to pour the mixture over the pigweed while it is still in its early growth stages so that it can kill it without affecting surrounding plants.
The vinegar solution works by dehydrating the pigweed plant quickly. It also kills grass and other weeds which it contacts, however, so be careful when you apply it.
Can I Prevent Pigweed From Growing?
Preventing pigweed is the best way to control this weed. Since pigweed is a weed that thrives in compacted soil, there are several ways to ensure your lawn stays as healthy and free of weeds as possible.
To deal with the problem before it even starts, you can aerate your lawn and add fertilizer for grass. This will give your grass more space to grow in between the soil, reducing the chance pigweed will find room to take hold.
Mulching is also a healthy option to keep your lawn full and free of pigweed. Mulch prevents the seeds from germinating by preventing them from receiving sunlight.
Pigweed is a weed that can be difficult to eliminate. The weeds grow in hot, dry weather and are most often found on poorly-maintained lawns or fields. If you want to get rid of pigweed from your lawn there are a few things you can do. You will need to identify where it is growing and how much weed killer or other chemical treatment that would be appropriate for the size of your yard. There are also organic options available if that is what you prefer. By taking time now to prevent future growth, you’ll have an easier time getting rid of this pesky weed in the long run!