Lawn Weeds  
Dollarweed, Dollargrass
Dollarweed, or Dollargrass, is my big exception (exception to what will make sense further down the page, bear with me.)

I just can't find a use for it, nor can I get rid of it. This happy healthy Dollar Weed is surrounded by dead plants, and there's no good reason for it to be alive, except that it's virtually un-killable.

It's next to a utility pole that I got tired of weed eating around, so it's one of the few places in my yard where I resort to chemicals; I gleefully douse it with total vegetation killer a couple of times a year.

Whether you're trying to identify a weed, or trying to get rid of one, this  weeds page might help.

 My site has three thumbnail pages of plants that you can scroll through to look for your weed: Nectar Plants, Host Plants and Other Plants, but first, glance through this page to find out which weeds I love, which weeds I still despise, and why.

This weed on the right is Desmodium. It leaves those little flat oval burrs all over your shoes, socks, and pants.

No matter how much weed killer I put down, or how often I mowed {The 'mow often theory' states that by mowing often you remove the seed heads before they mature - I've got news for whomever came up with that one: the plants just grow lower and seed anyway.}, my Desmodium just kept growing.

Cassius Blue Butterfly Nectars On Phyla Nodiflora
I've always been a bit curious about which plants are edible, and which have what use, but it was a distant curiosity that I didn't act on much until I started to butterfly garden. Since then, I've watched my weeds more carefully.

This Desmodium sticks up tiny purple flowers that my smaller butterflies like this Cassius Blue Butterfly use as a nectar source. Adult butterflies live on flower nectar (with a few exceptions such as the Zebra Heliconian Butterfly that eats pollen too.) That makes it a Nectar Plant. Then one day I saw a Long-tailed Skipper Butterfly lay eggs on a bit of Desmodium I'd left mostly out of sight in my garden. Host plants are plants that a butterfly lays eggs on. The eggs hatch into caterpillars that eat the plant for a couple of weeks before they turn into a chrysalis which they emerge from as a butterfly.

That was butterflies 101, the short version. Moving on, this 'weed' is one of my favorite plants now. No, I'm not thrilled to have it mixed in with the front lawn, but I tolerate it better, and I let it grow in the back corners of my garden areas. I've even plucked the burrs that hitched a ride with me, and sprinkled them into areas I've set aside for Desmodium.

Julia Butterfly Nectars On Richardia grandiflora
This Julia Butterfly is sipping nectar from a weed called Richardia grandiflora. It has tiny pink flowers that really stand out in my grass. I've seen so many butterflies nectar on it now that I've started mowing around a patch of it in my back yard, and when I get time I'm going to put edging down and reserve that little spot for just this weed.

It's fun to bring a stool over on a sunny afternoon, sip a cold glass of Iced Tea, and watch all of the butterflies nectar on it while I'm taking a brief break from some other outdoor chore.

 
Spanish Needles:
Zebra Heliconian Butterflies Nectar On Spanish Needles
Spanish Needles, this white and yellow daisy like flower, is another "rose with a thorn." It has long skinny burrs. It's also one of the absolute best nectar plants I have, as you can see in this picture of two Zebra Heliconian Butterflies sipping nectar from Spanish Needles flowers. Rumor has it that it's a host plant too, but I haven't seen that for myself yet.
I think you get the point; most of my weeds are valuable resources for very pretty butterflies and all sorts of other bugs. Butterflies might not be your thing, but there are other excellent reasons to harbor a few weeds.

Honeybees come to mind. Without bees and other bugs, our crops don't get pollinated. Without pollination, we don't eat.

Pollution comes to mind. The fewer chemicals we pour, spray, and spread onto our lawns, the cleaner and healthier our drinking water and environment are.

Money comes to mind. How much do you spend every year on fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides, and bug killers?

Think of how much time, money and effort you'd save!
With energy costs going up, pollution concerns increasing, lakes drying up, and honeybee populations plummeting, it makes sense that the lawn of tomorrow will consist primarily of native plants that withstand local conditions without additional applications of anything, support the local native wildlife, and, with a thoughtful skillful homeowner, still look nice in your yard at a reduced cost. If the edges of most yards were naturalized woods, and a native ground cover were used instead of grass for most of the lawn, we could mow a much smaller area (how much gas would that save?), skip most watering, and completely avoid chemical applications.
Cassius Blue Butterfly Nectars On Tassel flower:
Cassius Blue Butterfly Nectars On Tassel Flower
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly Nectars On Broomweed:
Tropical Checkered Skipper Butterfly Nectars On Broomweed, Sida Acuta
Ruddy Daggerwing Butterfly Nectars On Hempweed:
 
White Peacock Butterfly Nectars On Phyla Nodiflora:
Ruddy Daggerwing Butterfly Nectars On Hempweed
Green Bee Nectars On Wild Poinsettia:
No creature lives in isolation, ourselves included. We're investigating plants and creatures in the rain forests for new medicines, and all the while we're overlooking the plants and creatures we're displacing from our own yards. I wonder how many scientists have fully investigated the many life forms that live right here under our noses, and how many useful secrets they still hold?
A grass lawn is a feast for mole crickets, the ideal home for fire ants, attractive to roaches, expensive, time consuming, bad for our environment, and not good for very much else.

A diverse landscape however, helps ensure that these butterflies, bees, dragonflies, and other wonderful, and sometimes still undiscovered creatures, can continue to exist.

Save the world; reserve a bit of your yard for the plants and creatures that lived there before we plowed and mowed it. We can all take that simple step toward conserving the variety of life on this planet that we all share, and it won't cost us a thing.

Green Bee Nectars On Wild Poinsettia
White Peacock Butterfly Nectars On Phyla Nodiflora, Creeping Charlie
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