Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds

“Shaggy soldiers are a common problem in gardens. They have been known to cause problems with leaf drop, disease, and insect damage.

Some growers use chemical control methods such as foliar sprays or mounding the plants down. However, these techniques may not always work and may even make things worse. Other farmers try to kill the weeds before they get too big. These methods usually don’t work either. If you want to keep your garden looking its best when it’s full of small, tender plants, then spraying them with chemicals might be the way to go.

When you’re faced with a patch of hairy galinsoga, you probably don’t want to get down on your hands and knees to yank them out. That’s not only time consuming, but also a back breaker.

It can be even more of a problem if the weeds are partially under ground. Not only are they going to be hard to see, but you might miss some of them entirely. Instead, invest in a good glyphosate herbicide. It is non-selective and kills all plants that it comes into contact with.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in popular herbicides such as Round-Up. Not only can you get it at your local garden center, but also a lot of home improvement stores.

If you want to make sure that your plants are getting the proper nutrients needed to keep them healthy, then apply some mulch around the base of the plants. Keep in mind that glyphosate does not have any soil activity, so it won’t harm the roots of your plants.

One of the most important parts of controlling hairy galinsoga is timing. The best time to spray is just before the plants start to bloom.

That way you kill off the flowers so they don’t go to seed and reproduce, but you don’t kill the plant itself. If you are dealing with a large patch of weeds, then spray them as early as possible. If it is just a few plants you can wait until they are at the flowering stage.

Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds - Image

If you’re dealing with a particularly large area of hairy galinsoga, then it might be easier to hire a professional. Not only will they have more experience with the chemical, but they also have the equipment needed to get the job done fast.

You may even be able to get the county to pay for it because of the potential damage the weeds could cause if left unchecked.

Galinsoga parviflora is a type of hairy galinsoga. It is native to the central and southwest United States.

Some people think that it is an attractive plant because of its brightly colored flowers, but they soon find out that looks can be deceiving.

Galinsogas have a long taproot that can grow as deep as 10 feet. This makes hand weeding and rototilling difficult.

Round-up can also be ineffective against this hardy plant. If you do decide to use it, make sure that you apply the herbicide sooner rather than later. Waiting until the plants are in full bloom will lessen the chances of Round-Up working properly. If you prefer to use a chemical free method, then hand pulling the weeds when they are young works well. Mowing the area first also helps.

Galinsogas form a dense carpet that blocks out the sun and chokes out the other plants. They quickly take over an area and can only be stopped if dealt with immediately.

Fortunately, they do not spread very far via seeds. Most of them spread by resprouting from their roots or by underground rhizomes. Each plant can have up to six litters of seeds per year.

Most of the time, hairy galinsogas hide under the shade of other plants. They wait for their prey (in this case, your other plants) to get just close enough then strike.

Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds | igrowplants.net

If you have a large bed of flowers or rows of vegetable patch, always scan the area from different angles. Galinsogas have a tendency to pop up in places that you don’t expect and they will do it at the worst times.

The best way to keep weeds down is to remove them before they set seed. Hand pulling or hoeing is best for small areas, but sometimes you need a little extra help.

If you have the money, rent an electric or ride on mower and go to town. Mow the area at least twice a year to prevent weeds from growing. Since mowing won’t kill the roots, you may have to resort to chemicals or burning if the infestation is bad.

The most important thing is to be persistent. Do not let the weeds get a chance to take root or breed.

The best way to do this is remove them before they bloom. Keep your garden or yard free of dead plants and leaves. If you have grassy areas, keep them mowed at least once a week during the growing season.

If you have allergies or just want a low maintenance garden, the best way to go is with natural looking rock and gravel. Both of these are good insulators so they will reflect heat in the summer and cold in the winter.

You can also use large river rocks if you want a more natural look.

Large rocks work better for a permanent outdoor installation. If you want a temporary installation, then you can use small gravel.

Most nurseries or home improvement stores will have what you need.

When laying down the rocks, make sure that you spread a layer of fabric or weed barrier first. This will keep the weeds from coming up through the rocks or gravel.

Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds - igrowplants.net

You can usually find fabric at outdoor stores or online. If you are installing a lot, you might want to consider buying a roll of landscape fabric. It is cheaper when you do it this way.

When laying down the fabric, make sure that you double layer it or use grommets to attach it to the ground. This will prevent the wind from catching under it and blowing it away.

Once the fabric is down, you are ready to start placing your rocks. Larger rocks should be placed first, then layer the smaller ones on top.

Pouring a layer of sand or gravel on top of the rocks will prevent them from slipping when people walk on them.

You don’t need a lot of plants for a rock garden. A few select ones will do just fine.

Some good choices are:

Sempervivum (Houseleek) – Hairy, colorful leaves.

Sedum – Star like flowers in a variety of colors.

Baby Tears – Soft green grassy leaves.

Stonecrop – Thorned vines.

Fescue – Tiny little grassy leaves.

Moss – Many different kinds. Most are green, but there are brown and red varieties as well.

Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds - Image

After choosing your plants, you can either buy them at a nursery or gather seeds and grow them yourself. If you buy them, then make sure to get enough to fill in the bare patches.

If you grow your own, then gather a lot of seeds so you will have plenty to plant.

Before planting, de-weed the area completely. Weeds will take away nutrients from your new plants and could possibly contain unwanted pests or diseases.

Plant your seeds or plants. If you gathered seeds, remember that they need to be 1 – 2 inches below the surface.

Plant them in clumps to give the appearance of a full garden. If you are buying plants, make sure not to damage their roots when planting them. They should also be placed in clumps for visual effect.

Water everything well and then keep the area wet for at least the first week. After that you should only need to water once a week, unless it is very hot or has not rained.

Things to Consider

Make sure you have the time and energy to dedicate to this. It can take a bit of time looking after something that lives, even if it is just a rock garden.

Rocks are heavy, so you might need help with larger installations. Always make sure you have something to prevent the rocks from falling on your head when they are being lifted into place.

If you are planning on growing food in your rock garden, be careful. Many common foods are toxic if eaten in large quantities.

Most wild plants have a mild toxic property, but in small amounts they are usually harmless.

Bugs and other small animals can infest your garden, especially when it is located in a damp or shaded area. Predatory insects and arachnids can become a serious problem if not dealt with quickly.

Rocks can be sharp, especially if you use natural ones. Careless stepping or kneeling on them can result in nasty cuts and scrapes.

Use caution when working around the area.

Hairy Galinsoga Control: Tips For Controlling Shaggy Soldier Weeds - igrowplants.net

Fake rock gardens can be an unattractive eyesore if not created properly. If you decide to use plastic or resin rocks, make sure they are the proper color and shape to look like real stones.

Natural rock gardens can become very expensive. Stones of different sizes and colors can add up in price.

Building one can also take a lot of time, especially if you do all the work yourself.

The materials you use can be harmful to the environment. Paints, glues, and concrete are harmful to water ways if they get washed into them during a storm.

If you are using real rocks, then the rocks themselves could be contributing to soil erosion. Always consider the consequences of your actions before starting a project.

The Best Time To Do It

Spring is the best time of year to do this project. The ground is not usually to hard yet, but weeds have not started growing yet.

It is also less likely to get a large amount of rain during this time.

If you really want to do it now, then pick a spot that does not get much sun or rain. If you do not pick a spot like this, then the ground will probably be to hard to dig in.

If you want to do it in the late fall, then you will have the opposite problem. The ground will have become soft from the rains and it will be easier to dig in, but there is a good chance you will get more weeds popping up.

Other than these two times of year, the ground is either to frozen or too soft to work in.

Sources & references used in this article:

Biology and Management of Galinsoga (Galinsoga quadriradiata) in Ornamental Crop Production by TP Smith, C Marble, S Steed, N Boyd – EDIS, 2020 – journals.flvc.org

Plant Diseases and Their Management in Organic Agriculture MR Finckh, AHC van Bruggen, and L. Tamm, eds. Copyright© 2015 The American Phytopathological … by B Alirin – plant protection, 2015 – Am Phytopath Society

Ecophysiology of the effect of red to far-red light ratio on selected weed and crop species by L Ma – 2017 – open.library.ubc.ca

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