Helpful resources for identifying weeds in the garden

Several resources for weed identification are available, such as mobile apps and printed pocket guides.

Weeds compete for water, nutrients and light. They can harbor diseases and insect pests. If you are attempting to plant a garden, they can significantly reduce quality and yield and make harvest more difficult. Identifying weeds correctly is a critical step for determining the best management strategies to use.

ID Weed mobile app

There are many applications for mobile phones these days. The Weed ID Guide is produced by the University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Division of Plant Science.  It allows you to search for weeds by their common or Latin name, view a list of weeds, and identify weeds based upon a number of different characteristics. Details about each weed are presented along with photographs of the weed specified. One comment has been that the pictures are on the small side.  Another is that there is no control strategies listed.

This application is free, so it may be worth a try. It is available for iPhones and iPads and Androids.

Pocket guides for weed identification

If you are looking for a convenient, pocket-sized printed guide, don’t forget about Michigan State University Extension’s integrated pest management (IPM) pocket guides for weed identification that are available online at the MSU Extension Bookstore. These handy guides contain high quality color photos and descriptions, weed lifecycle information and how the weed reproduces – important information when you are figuring out a control strategy for a weed.

The following pocket guides are available for purchase. Click on the title below or go to and type in the SKU number in the search box.

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