Sometimes, gardeners can come upon a plant in their garden that looks like strawberry plants but, unfortunately, are actually classified as weeds. These plants also won’t produce strawberries and could even be invasive.
In order to avoid confusion and ensure a healthy garden, it’s important to be able to identify weeds that look like strawberry plants.
Weeds That Look Like Strawberry Plants
Some of the most common weeds that you may come across in your garden that appears to be strawberry plants but are actually weeds include Wild Strawberries, Cinquefoils, Wood Strawberries and Mock Strawberries.
Continue reading to learn more about weeds and strawberry plants, including whether weeds can look like strawberry plants, as well as how to tell the difference between a weed and a strawberry plant, and more.
What is A Weed?
Regardless of how they may appear, weeds are regarded by people as being plants with more bad characteristics than beneficial ones. For example, a plant that is “in the wrong place” or that is growing where it is not intended is referred to as a weed in that scenario.
Plants that are undesirable in human-controlled environments, such as farmland, orchards, gardens, as well as residential, and industrial areas, are all examples of weeds. When plants that are commonly thought of as weeds are grown on purpose in gardens and other developed environments, they are frequently referred to as useful weeds.
Any plant that grows or reproduces invasively outside of its natural environment is also referred to as a weed.
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What Do Strawberry Plants Look Like?
Strawberry plants typically only grow to be approximately six inches tall unless they are growing in the shade. These plants, after all, are ground-huggers. Take note, that the plant’s crown will also rise above the soil line. From this crown, stems, blossoms, and fruits sprout.
After fruiting, strawberry plants will also produce runners. Each runner ends with a little plant that roots when it comes into contact with the soil.
Despite some types having lighter green leaves, strawberry leaves are typically a dark green colour. Shiny, from stem to tip, the leaves have a distinct centre vein.
Each stalk produces three leaves in a cloverleaf pattern with lance-shaped or rounded, serrated edges in most cases. In the case of healthy plants, the surface of the leaves will also appear shiny.
Can Weeds Look Like Strawberry Plants?
The arrival of what appears to be strawberry plants in your yard might thrill you. Sadly, the “berries” can possibly be weeds that seem similar. If your “strawberry plant” is truly a weed, you also won’t receive any berries, and some of these weeds will even become invasive.
The intruders should quickly be identified and removed after rigorous scrutiny. To recognize weeds, you must first be familiar with how genuine weeds appear. True strawberry plants, for instance, have three leaflets per stem for their base leaves. These leaves also have serrated edges.
It’s also crucial to be aware that authentic strawberry plants often have white blooms with five to eight petals and ivory to cream centre. The fruits are also very simple to identify since they are crimson, heart-shaped, and include tiny surface seeds. These plants also spread by runners, which are offshoots.
How To Tell if A Plant Is A Weed or A Strawberry Plant?
While it can be easy to identify the bright red fruits known as strawberries, recognizing the actual plant can be a little more complex. At the end of the day, knowing what the appearance of the leaves and blooms on a strawberry plant appear like will help you identify weeds that may appear identical.
For example, many people find that Cinquefoils and strawberry plants can be the most difficult to distinguish between since they seem so identical. The fruits of a Cinquefoils plant, however, are frequently spherical rather than heart shaped.
Overall, it can be challenging to distinguish between these weeds and genuine strawberries.
What Are the Top 4 Most Common Weeds That Look Like Strawberry Plants?
1. Wild Strawberries
The parent plant of the garden strawberry, wild strawberries do yield edible fruits. However, it is important to note that these fruits aren’t exactly considered particularly pleasant or sweet.
Wild strawberries have the same three-part, round-toothed leaves as domestic strawberries, and they also blossom with white flowers with yellow centres. If you find yourself looking for wild strawberry plants, note that these weeds are most commonly found in fields or on the border of a forest.
Like a true strawberry plant, they may also reach a height of six inches and like dry, somewhat shaded environments.
Cinquefoils resemble strawberries greatly and are also referred to as barren strawberries. These weeds don’t, however, produce fruit, and their blossoms are yellow.
For example, the Strawberry weed is a kind of cinquefoil known as a Norwegian cinquefoil. It spreads over Canada and the United States. This plant has trifoliate, round-toothed leaves that resemble strawberry leaves. They also have yellow blooms in bloom and may reach heights of one to three feet.
Overall, the best time to identify cinquefoils is when they bloom. After all, the golden blossoms are what distinguishes them from strawberries. It is also important to note that if these plants do bear fruit, the berries will be inedible and spherical rather than heart shaped.
3. Wood Strawberries
The invasive plant known as wood strawberries, sometimes known as the California strawberry, is occasionally used as a ground cover. These strawberry-like weeds share the same trifoliate, toothed leaves as the garden strawberry. After all, these two plants are linked and come from the same family.
Wood strawberries often feature white blooms with a golden core. Unfortunately, their berries also aren’t particularly appetizing.
Take note that if you don’t prune or remove these plants, they’ll, unfortunately, spread out of control with their runners, quickly taking over your garden.
4. Mock Strawberries
Another mimic plant, similar to the strawberry plant, is the mock strawberry, which resembles both garden and wild strawberries in appearance. Take note, however, that these weeds have white blooms.
Mock strawberries also have three-part, round-toothed leaves.
Mock strawberries can also often be hard to distinguish from true strawberries seeing as though these weeds produce red, seeded fruit that is safe to eat but lacks flavour and has the potential to be bitter.
Should You Remove Weeds That Look Like Strawberry Plants?
Although many people choose other plant varieties, some individuals employ these plants as ground covers. The issue is that these weeds have the potential to completely take over garden beds.
Strawberry-like weeds often grow across the entire lawn thanks to runners that swiftly take root and produce new plants. They will also smother delicate plants and take over your landscape, dominating it.
In order to keep these “weeds” from spreading, take note that you must either trim them frequently or remove them altogether.
For example, most of these weeds, notably the fake and wood strawberries, are invasive and will quickly take over a flower or garden bed. In lawns, these plants will also grow quickly and easily.
How To Remove Strawberry-Like Looking Weeds?
One of two options must be taken if you wish to get rid of these weeds. Firstly, you can try spraying them with a weed killer before leaving them to die. After a few days, shovel the dead plant out. Then, take a rake to the area where you removed the weed in order to take care of any roots as well.
Another option is to pluck them out by hand immediately, burn the waste, or bag it to throw away. Unfortunately, this method can leave roots behind, only allowing the plant to return a few weeks later.
Fortunately, when you discard these weeds, they won’t decompose in your compost pile since they will probably take root and begin to grow there.
Occasionally, gardeners may find a plant in their yard that appears to be a strawberry plant but more often than not, these plants are, regrettably, a weed. Additionally, these plants won’t yield strawberries and may even become invasive.
The most frequent weeds that resemble strawberry plants but are actually pests include wild strawberries, cinquefoils, wood strawberries, and mock strawberries.
Overall, strawberries are identified by the bright red fruits that grow abundantly on these plants. Take note, however, that without these fruits, it can, unfortunately, be trickier to identify the plant itself.
At the end of the day, understanding how a strawberry plant’s leaves and blossoms look may help you distinguish weeds that would otherwise look the same.
For instance, a lot of individuals find it challenging to tell strawberry and cinquefoil plants apart since they resemble one another so much. But the fruits of a Cinquefoils plant are typically spherical, not heart shaped.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below