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Weed or plant: What's the difference?

Our gardens are full of weeds, and keeping on top of them is no easy task. When untreated, weeds can grow back easily, so it’s worth doing your homework on the best ways to tackle them. Some weeds are often mistaken for plants, and can sit for years in your garden without you knowing, potentially causing harm to other plants. For clarity, a weed is commonly known as an unwanted plant or a plant growing in the wrong place. Our guide will help you to identify which plants sit on the weed side of the plant spectrum.


The first weed is bindweed. Bindweed is a vine that can be difficult to get under control, as it often wraps itself around plants. The vines grow leaves and pink or white trumpet-shaped flowers. People can spend a large chunk of time trying to destroy this weed, and with several different methods. You can try cutting the vine off at the ground after pruning the vines back repeatedly - the plant will use lots of energy in the process, and will eventually be killed. Other people target the root directly, using boiling water.


Fat hen is a common, annual garden weed and produces several different kinds of seed on the same plant, with each plant producing up to 20,000 seeds in its lifetime. Although it’s one of the slower growing annual garden weeds, it one of the most troublesome, as it can appear anywhere in the garden. It has long stems and jagged grey-green leaves. Not only will the fat hen be competing with your plants for space and nutrients, it also plays host to other pests such as blackflies. Aim to remove plants before they flower and seed to slow its spread, and use glyphosate weedkiller to attack the weed from the root up.


Clovers are wildflowers and perennial weeds with shamrock-like leaves and white flowers that tend to take over lawns and other areas of the garden if left untreated. Although they are classed as weeds, their roots do improve soil because of their nitrogen fixing nodules, not to mention the four-leafed varieties can supposedly bring good fortune. To control them, you can either dig up the affected area, or apply weedkiller and repeat where necessary. If you are using weedkiller, make sure you use it when it’s not windy, so your other plants aren’t affected.


Couch grass is known for its annoying underground stems and, as a perennial weed, targeting the roots is necessary. This common weed looks like any old tuft of grass, which is why it’s difficult to identify, and appears in flower beds, lawns and borders. Luckily, this weed doesn’t produce seeds that often and you can dig out the areas which have been affected, as well as using a glyphosate-based weedkiller.


Docks are easily recognised with their large leaves and distinctive seedheads. They generally grow in borders and lawns. Their seedheads tend to appear in winter and the leaves persist in springtime. Seeds are produced en masse and can survive in soil for up to 50 years, their deep tap root can regrow from the top section. Docks are especially vulnerable in spring so aim to dig them out around this time to improve your chances of killing them and use weedkiller to prevent them from growing back.

B33 B
Cylinder displacement 33 cm³
Cutting width 42 cm
Grass blade Grass 255-3
CS 410/450
Cylinder displacement 40.9 cm³
Bar length (inch) 13 in
Weight (excl. cutting equipment) 4.7 kg