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About This QuizFor many gardeners, fighting weeds can seem like a never-ending struggle. How much do you know about these leafy green nuisances and how to keep them out of your garden?
What is herbicide?
a substance that kills plants
Herbicides are anything that kills plants -- they can be natural or chemical.
the mass extermination of a huge patch of weeds
a natural way to control weeds
What's an example of an organic herbicide?
The acetic acid in vinegar makes it a useful herbicide -- but you have to use it carefully to avoid harming your plants.
What is allelopathy?
when a plant can chemically prevent other plants from growing and reproducing
Some plants, like walnut trees, produce natural herbicides so other plants can't grow up around them.
a gene mutation in a weed that makes it extremely difficult to kill
a weed's ability to reproduce very quickly and easily
The French word for dandelion is "pissenlit," which means what?
"piss in bed"
Dandelions supposedly have diuretic qualities, hence the charming French name. Strangely, the English word "dandelion" is derived from the French phrase "dente de lion" (lion's tooth).
You can make tea from dandelions. What else can you make?
If you have some extra time (and some raisins, oranges, lemons and yeast) you can make dandelion wine. You also might be able to earn a pretty penny if you package dandelion leaves as organic field greens.
What's the best time to pull weeds?
when the soil is completely dry
a day or two after it rains
It's best to deal with weeds when the soil is a little moist -- not too wet, not too dry.
right after a good rain
After you've pulled up weeds, what should you do with them?
Lay them on top of the grass to dry out and completely die.
Add them to a compost pile, if you have one.
Throw them in the trash.
Weeds can be added to a compost pile or left to dry out, but if conditions aren't exactly right, the seeds might not die. So it's often best to put them in the trash instead.
How should you plant your garden in order to deter weeds from popping up?
Plant everything as close together as possible.
If your plants are close enough that their leaves touch and overlap, weeds won't get as much sunlight.
Space out plants as much as possible.
Do not plant in an area where there has been a weed problem.
Which weed is known as "the vine that ate the South"?
Kudzu is a Japanese plant that was introduced into the United States in 1876. People started planting it because it helps with soil erosion, but it grew out of control in the Southeast because of the region's mild climate. It was officially classified as a weed in 1953.
What is soil solarization?
a method of planting in direct sunlight that discourages weeds from reproducing
the reason that there are no weeds in the desert
a method of using solar power to kill weeds
Soil solarization is a very labor-intensive way to totally destroy the weeds in an area. It involves tilling, digging and "cooking" weeds under plastic in direct sunlight.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images