what is this weed?

Asked November 19, 2017, 8:15 PM EST

I inherited a community garden plot this spring, and despite 1/4" or more of newspaper covered with landscape fabric carefully laid out from last year, these weeds grew everywhere. They sprouted under the fabric and many forced their way through the fabric. They have an incredibly extensive stolon system. What is this weed and what can I do next year to control/eliminate it? Will tilling the plot destroy the roots or just further spread them? Second question: There is a huge extensive multistemmed fig plant on the plot, probably 10-12 feet wide and easily 10 feet tall, growing quite vigorously. It produced a lot of fruit, but the fruits never completely ripened. 20-40 tall woody stems but none more than an inch or so in diameter. Some internet sites suggested the tree needed fertilizer while others said it had too much fertilizer. I did not feed the tree at all. The tree is old enough that I would think the roots are established enough to carry it through dry periods in the summer. Its leaves stayed green and robust all season. Note there are lots of raspberry canes growing around and under tree, so the soil seems adequately protected by shade.

Montgomery County Maryland

3 Responses

We need more information on the weed. Can you please let us know how tall the weed grows in the garden?

Fig - There may be several reasons why the fig did not ripen. The fig may be a late maturing cultivar, lack of water and sunlight, root competition from the raspberries, the growing season may not have been long enough (winter damage), etc. The A fig does not demand a lot of fertilizer. The fig sounds like it will need some thinning. Ideally you would like to have about ten stems spaced around the plant. You may need to remove the raspberry canes around the root system. Take a look at our website and blog for pruning information https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2017/10/20/the-elusive-fig/


The weed grows to a maximum of about 2-3 feet tall if left unchecked.

Your weed looks and sounds like the invasive and difficult to control Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris).
If so, the leaves would be aromatic when rubbed/crushed, and the undersides would have white to grayish wooly hairs.
It is a challenge to control. Whatever you do, DON'T till it. Every single little piece will make a new plant.
Here is the page from our weed gallery on it: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/mugwort
It will likely be a long, repeated process using the multiple strategies mentioned. A thick grade of weedblock barrier covered with mulch may work for a time, but it may run to the edges and continue.

It is too late in the season to use an herbicide containing glyphosate (like Round-Up and other brands). You will need to check the rules of your community garden to see if using it is acceptable. Read labels and apply carefully- some plants, notably tomatoes, can't be grown well in that same soil for a period of time.