tall growing weeds uk

If you’re happy to use chemical controls, then this RHS list shows you the range available. Each RHS profile for these perennial weeds will tell you how to chemically eradicate them in more detail. Links can be followed by simply clicking on the weed’s common name .

Latin name: Ranunculus repens.

Latin name: Aegopodium podagraria.

Couch grass.

Latin name: Chamaenerion angustifolium.

Latin name: Urtica dioica.

Latin name: either Rumex obtusifolius or R. crispus.

Our gardens are under constant threat of invasion. The enemy? Several common British perennial weeds (not to mention the annuals we’ll see in a later article). As these are perennial, they have the nasty habit of hanging around whatever happens. It also renders their removal more difficult.

Latin name: Calystegia sepium.

Insight: It has a branching, thick tap root delving up to 90cm deep. Its seeds can survive in the soil for up to 50 years. Digging out at least the top 12-15cm of the tap root should however prevent the individual weed’s regrowth.


Insight: This is invaluable to wildlife and has some uses, but it can smother both horizontal and vertical surfaces if uncontrolled. It’s self-clinging, and when creeping over the ground, it can root at frequent intervals.

Insight: Its white trumpet-like flowers are pretty, but this is a major pest. Its rhizomes can spread up to 2m a year and the smallest segment of rhizome will regrow.

Insight: Spreading rhizomes which can tangle around the roots of other plants, making removal trickier.

If you’re gardening in an eco-friendly way, persistence and patience are key .

Ground elder.

Latin name: Rubus fruticosis agg.

By User:Gerhard Elsner – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1747136.

Insight: Runners develop from each leaf node, each forming a strong root network when touching the ground. Seeds and severed nodes also aid its spread.

Latin name: Cirsium arvense.

Other common names: Scutch grass, twitch grass.

Lawn weeds are very robust and if left unattended, they can suffocate the lawn’s grass. The most common weeds that fall under this category are plantain, daisies and dandelions.

Non-weedkiller control – Dandelions can be pulled out by hand, however, if even a small part of the roots remain, the plant will regenerate. So, if you’re planning to weed out dandelions, do it while the soil is moist and use a small garden fork. Gently lift the weed and the area around it with the fork, while making sure to remove the whole plant including its roots.

Appearance – Bittercress is a weed, which is a member of the mustard family of plants. It has tiny white flowers and pinnate leaves. It’s a very common annual plant in the UK and can be seen growing on the surface of containers, in gardening centres and even nurseries.

List of annual weeds in the UK.

Non-weedkiller control – The best way to prevent this weed from growing in your garden is by keeping your turf healthy and thick. Daisies prefer to grow in neglected areas where the grass has weakened and has lost its vigour. If you notice daisies growing in your garden, remove them as soon as you spot them. For this, use a small knife or a daisy grubber.

Why is it problematic? – Japanese knotweed is a deeply penetrating plant that is almost impossible to get rid of on your own. No matter what you try, chances are the weed will persevere. If this weed grows close to your home, it can send its rhizomes underneath your property and destroy the foundation.

We offer manual weeding, as well as chemical weed control!

Appearance – Japanese knotweed is a quick-growing perennial weed, whose stems are tall and dense. It has invasive rhizomes, which can dig deep into any turf. During spring, purple-red shoots emerge at ground level. They then grow rapidly and by summer, produce dense bamboo-like canes, which can reach up to 2 metres in length. Japanese knotweed has heart- or shovel-shaped leaves, which can sometimes grow along the plant’s stems. This weed blooms between late summer and early autumn and its flowers resemble creamy-white tassels.

Why is it problematic? – Herb Robert is a weed that grows very quickly and has explosive seed pods, which if left unattended, flower and spread rapidly throughout the garden.

Why is it problematic? – Dandelions are vigorous weeds that quickly kill the grass above which they grow. This weed is extremely difficult to remove, as its roots penetrate deep into the soil and if the whole thing isn’t pulled out at once, the roots generate a new plant. Dandelions tend to camouflage themselves as they adapt to mowing regimes. Meaning that if a lawn is well maintained, they won’t grow above grass level, while if it’s neglected, they will grow tall.

Common lawn weeds in the UK.

Non-weedkiller control – Remove Chickweed plants by hand or hoe before they begin flowering and setting their seeds. To prevent this weed’s seeds from germinating, you can place opaque plastic sheeting or mulch made out of wood chips over your beds. Just make sure the depth of the mulch is at least eight centimetres.

Non-weedkiller control – Firstly, work on your lawn. Encourage healthy grass growth with the help of nutrients. Well-looked after and vigorous grass can prevent Yarrow from setting roots in your garden. Mow the lawn regularly, in order to prevent seed heads from forming. If Yarrow has already started to pop up, try hand-weeding it, just make sure to remove the roots, as well.

Why is it problematic? – This weed’s root system is fibrous and consists of multiple underground runners. Thanks to these runners, Yarrow is able to establish itself well on turf and can even withstand droughts.

Why is it problematic? – Having this weed in your garden might mean that your soil needs structure and drainage improvement, as this weed grows best in moist soil, rich in clay. It spreads quickly with the help of long runners.

Annual Weeds.

Why is it problematic? – Bittercress is a weed with an explosive seed mechanism and can disperse its seed up to one meter away from its base. This plant has a short life cycle but can appear at pretty much any time of the year. However, most commonly, Bittercress weeds pop up during summer or early spring. Being a hardy plant, it can withstand harsh winter temperatures.

Why is it problematic? – Daisies are weeds with a fibrous root system, which allows them to spread either by seed or through underground runners. Since daisies grow very close to the ground, they can be a bit hard to mow.

Non-weedkiller control – In order to get rid of green alkanet from your turf, you will need to dig deep to remove its roots. Seedlings can be weeded out either by hand or with the use of a hoe. Just remember to put some gloves if you will be pulling on the stems directly. Since this weed’s seeds can stay underground, dormant for quite some time, this weeding operation will be an on-going one. You can prevent green alkanet from germinating by spreading opaque mulching film over it at a minimum depth of 8 cm.

Appearance – Dandelions are fast spreading perennial weeds that form a large, flat rosette. This weed can germinate through any season. Due to their long stout tap roots, dandelions can be a pain to pull out. This weed’s leaves are long and fleshy and are usually between 5 and 25 cm long. Its single yellow flower grows throughout March till November.

Appearance – Daisies are amongst the most recognised weeds out there, with their oval to spoon-shaped leaves. Every daisy plant produces a circle of white flowers surrounding a yellow pistil in the middle. These flowers close during the night and open up during the day when there’s sunlight. They normally flower between March and October.

This weed can easily be recognised because it features blades of grass that grow in clumps. A perennial weed, it has narrow and wiry roots that are usually banded. It can be controlled by cultural or chemical means.

An annual plant that’s very hardy and thrives in the cool season, Chickweed is a small, widespread weed. It thrives on moist soil and it has fine hairs that grow on one of its sides. However, this weed can be easily killed if you pull it with a table fork. You can also mulch over free areas on your lawn to stop it from spreading.

Also known as wood sorrel or shamrock, oxalis has some clover-like leaves and yellow flowers. It’s a perennial weed, with fleshy roots that spreads via bulbs, rooting stems or seeds.

Unlike grassy weeds, broadleaf weeds boast leaves that are wider rather than long. These bladelike leaves have a primary vein from which other, smaller veins emerge. As such, you can easily identify them because they look nothing like grass.

This weed has long, thin leaves, which is why it’s also called Narrow Leaf Plantain. It grows all year long and gets to medium height. You can find it in both moist and dry environments, in most types of weather and reemerges fast after you removed it. However, it’s easy to remove this weed, albeit not comprehensively. That’s why you need selected herbicides or repeated hand weeding. Otherwise, it will quickly spread in big patches that will make your garden lose its good looks.


This perennial boasts some hairy leaves and blue flowers that bloom in clusters in early summer. It can get up to 80 cm in height and his tap roots make it quite resistant.

This perennial weed resembles a miniature fir tree and can grow up to 60 cm tall. It has deep roots, and it reproduces via root fragments or spores that emerge in springtime. It’s also known as Marsetail.

Also known as Bishop’s weed or Goutweed, this is a perennial weed. It has lacy flowers that bloom in summer, 45-cm stems and spring-emerging leaves.

These are very aggressive weeds that take advantage of any weak areas in lawns. There are both annual and perennial broadleaf weeds, with the same reproduction characteristics as in the case of grassy weeds.

Also known as Red Robin, this annual weed gets to a height of 30 cm. It spreads with seeds and has a strong, mouldy smell. You can identify it by its lacy leaves that form a rosette, its pink flowers and reddish stems.

With that in mind, here are the most common weeds you can find in your garden or lawn:

With pink buds from which tiny, white flowers emerge, this grassy weed can grow up to 60 cm. It spreads via its roots, which are brittle and white. The Enchanter’s nightshade is a perennial plant.

A perennial turf weed, this one can grow up to 12 cm tall. It can even survive in inclement weather, but it really thrives in moist environments. You can see its blue, kidney-shaped flowers mostly in early summer.

Perennial weeds can be:


Broadleaf weeds have fibrous roots of different types: either a root system, one big taproot, or both of these. Their stems can be round or square. Broadleaf weeds grow in different ways, either upright or spreading very close to the ground.

Who doesn’t love weeds? They’re so colourful and friendly, allowing your beautiful flowers to thrive…not!

A perennial weed with yellow flowers similar to those of Honeysuckle, this weed is part of the Clover family. It one of the tallest weeds in the bunch, considering it can grow to knee-height easily. It can spread in gardens and lawns alike and on most soil types, though it prefers acidic and dry soils. The Birds-foot trefoil grows in huge patches and has a deep root system. It spreads via underground stems like rhizomes or above-the-ground stems like stolons.

With round leaf tips that form a rosette above the ground, this weed features yellow flowers that resemble those of a buttercup. It can grow up to 60 cm and reproduces by making seeds or via root fragments.

This perennial weed can grow up to 20 cm in height, and its hairy dark-green leaves look like true mouse ears. It has small, white flowers that can bloom anytime between spring and autumn. These weeds are experts in skipping mowing sessions, so you need controlled and selective herbicides to get rid of them.

Annual weeds can be:


Another commonly found annual vine, Morning Glory is a weed with heart-shaped leaves and purple flowers. It grows in different sizes, from small to medium and it can be found throughout the world, in different weather and environment conditions. Morning Glory has flowers that bloom soon after sunrise. You can pull them out when they’re young or use an organic, oil-based herbicide when mature.

The main enemy of grassy weeds is autumn’s first frost. However, each of these noxious weeds produces thousands of seeds, so they’re very likely to sprout stronger in springtime.

Weeds must be stopped, but you need to identify them accurately in order to choose the right weed killer.

Also known as Fireweed, this invasive perennial looks pretty good for a weed. You can recognise it thanks to its ornamental spires from which purple flowers bloom in mid-summer. It can spread via stolons on the ground surface, as well as from seeds that grow in long pods.

In Conclusion.

Perennial weeds live for over two years and don’t reproduce from seeds, but from their stems, which can be either underground or above-ground. However, some perennial weeds produce seeds too, which increases their chances of survival.

This perennial weed boasts a wide network of rhizomes, also known as creeping runners. It can get up to 30 cm, and it infests most English lawns. It’s a weed with purple flowers that bloom from early summer to mid-autumn. You can find it in closely mown lawns.