I suspect that each gardener has a particular weed that is most bothersome, and in this garden the most prolific is nutgrass (nut sedge, below). There are three sections of lawn in the garden, all relatively small in comparison to the area devoted to planting beds and ponds. The section farthest from the house is the lowest in elevation, and following construction years ago of a storm water retention pond just beyond the rear border of the garden, the soil ranges from saturated in winter and spring to damp through the rest of the year. This is so perfect an environment for nutgrass that by mid summer this section of lawn seems nothing but, and so rather than battle a hopeless fight, I’ve given up. Thus, nutgrass is the least of my worries, even when it encroaches into the planting beds where clumps are easily pulled compared to other weeds.
Most bothersome in this garden is prostrate spurge (below), which in hours goes from nothing to a carpet covering any open, sunny space. The plant itself is not overly objectionable. It’s flat, so it takes little space, and its color does not stand out so that if the gardener is not looking out for it, spurge could easily blend in with mulch or whatever else covers the ground. Since spurge grows prostrate, it does not overwhelm neighboring plants, though it often becomes intertwined with other low growers to become nearly impossible to extricate.
Stiltgrass (below) is becoming more of a problem in the garden, and fortunately, it is easily pulled. I hope to get most of it before it goes to seed, and of course this is the problem with spurge. Weeds are weeds for a reason, and usually the reason is that they are tolerant of a wide range of conditions, or that they seed prolifically. If stiltgrass or spurge are not kept up with, there’s trouble ahead.
For better or worse, I am a fast weeder, and thus not often careful to remove weeds roots and all. In pulling quickly I often snap the top off a clover or spurge, with roots left behind, which I know will quickly regrow. But, as I analyze speed versus quality, the end result of clearing an area of weeds quickly substantiates the few that quickly regrow. Many gardeners will argue that this is a waste of time, and I won’t argue that some weeds must be pulled more than once, but this takes care of the largest area in the shortest time.