ID help on evil weeds, and can something be done?

Chicago, IL

Hi -

I have NO idea what happened, or if it's just rain, but we have literally zillions of the same kind of thing sprouting everywhere. It is particularly bad in the new beds where we ripped out some lawn, but we also have a lot that showed up in our containers, all over the lawn, etc.. I've got it a bit under control, but only after having pulled a TON of them. They are even sprouting through the mulch, around and between the main stems of our 'real' plants like the impatiens. Does anyone know what this stuff is (the serrated leafy thing in the foreground)? I believe it grows into a larger plant with the same kind of leaf. Appreciate any help since I'd like to prevent it from happening in future! I don't remember it happening last year.

Thumbnail by scubadoobie
Northeast, IL(Zone 5b)

I live in the same general area as you, and I always get TONS of those. They are either cottonwood or elm seedlings, I think. They even sprout in my mulch. The only way I know to get rid of them safely is to pull them. Fortunately, when they are that small, it isn't hard to do.

Watertown, WI(Zone 5a)

I get those, too. They do look like tree seedlings to me. And yes, I yank them out. They're easy to pull root and all when they're small, so I just round 'em all up each week and that's that. They are persistent, though!

Chicago, IL

Thanks - I've been pulling baby cottonwoods as part of a dune restoration project and these are different, but they do look like elm seedlings I found on Google Images! aaargh.

Glen Ellyn, IL(Zone 5b)

Maple seedlings taking over here. It's a bumper crop of seedlings this year.

Iowa City, IA(Zone 5a)

Look like elm seedlings.

Madison, WI

Yes, they are elms. I have 5 elms that seed all over the place. If I miss one of these, next year they are harder to pull out :(

Downers Grove, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm with enya -- get them out the first year. Had a small, beautiful stand of American Elms that I loved. Except for the millions of seedlings every spring! They sprout everywhere - be sure to check your gutters too. By year two they have a substantial tap root. By year three - forget it :)

South Milwaukee, WI

yep-- you got the elm -- I have tons of maples popping up everywhere, like Ltilton.
It must be a good year for the trees! i agree---pull them while you can. :)

Far Northwest 'burbs, IL(Zone 4b)

I don't have elms anywhere but I have those seedlings. Do you have spirea anywhere? I think they are spirea seedlings, actually.

Milwaukee, WI

They are elm seedlings. I have lost several elms to dutch elm disease and would recognize those saw tooth leaves anywhere. I have the same problem with maple seedlings here in Greenfield, WI. Just keep pulling them up, as previously stated, at least they are easy to pull, but time intensive. I work at a nursery so I have been pulling them out of our pots as well. They will germinate anywhere with the intense moisture we have had this spring into summer. If you want a weed to fight, try campanula rapunculoides. I have been fighting it for years.

Thumbnail by irisboerer
Madison, WI

irisboerer, I am so with your on campanula rapunculoides. The first year I started gardening I thought it was lovely where I did not want to garden, but boy it spreads and is impossible to get rid of. I sifted the soil for root segments and still get some of it to come up in that spot :(

Saint Bonifacius, MN(Zone 4a)

They do look a lot like sprea seedlings, but they are elm.

Milwaukee, WI

I am still pulling up maple seedlings today. Hiding behind the iris fans I am cutting back. Better luck for us all for next year.

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