There are so many questions surrounding weeds. "Why do I have weeds?" "Why are my weeds back?" "What are weeds good for?" "What is a weed?"
A weed is merely a plant growing where you don't want it to. Technically speaking, bermuda, zoysia, fescue and even rose bushes can be weeds. But crabgrass, dandelions, nutgrass, fireweed, clover, etc. are usually the first to come to mind.
Weeds can muscle out the plants we want to grow by competing for sunlight, water and nutrients. Weeds can also interfere with the look of our lawn or landscape. These are good reasons to get rid of them or, really, to fight them into a managable and acceptable form of submission.
Did you know that weed seeds can remain dormant in the soil and viable for up to 40 years ... 40 years! Just 1,000 square feet of your lawn can contain over 6,000,000 weed seeds! That's over 6,000 weed seeds per square foot!
How do you win the battle ? The answer is you can't. The numbers are just against you and one shot of weed control won't do the job as it takes a consistent and on-going effort to keep weeds at bay. That is why lawn care companies like us (Tri-Hill Turf) have programs so we can try to keep a handle on weeds (weather permitting). Different weeds germinate at different times of the year and in different weather conditions. There will always be a new weed wanting to grow where you don't want it!
Lets look at some good old fashioned bullet point facts about weeds, shall we?
- Many invasive weeds were introduced to the United States from all over the world (i.e. Johnsongrass, Dandelion, Henbit, Crabgrass, etc.).
- Weed seed can stow away on tires, bumpers, underside of vehicles, shipping containers, ornamental plantings from the local lawn and garden store as well as be carried by the wind and animals (especially birds).
- More than 200 weed species have developed resistance to herbicides used to control them.
- More than 240 weed species are allelopathic, meaning they produce chemicals themselves to inhibit the growth of nearby plants so they can steal sunlight, water and nutrients.
- Some weeds are poisonous like hemlock, oleander and even common groundsel.
- Some weeds cause allergies like ragweed, and others can cause severe rashes like poison ivy.
- The tiny seed of horseweed has been found to travel up to 300 miles with the wind.
- Purple nut sedge can produce over 600 plants from a single tuber in a single year and it is allelopathic!
- Weeds are generally prolific seed producers, popping out tens of thousands of seeds a year per plant (and remember they can germinate in the soil for up to 40 years).
So now that you wish all weeds were "outta here," lets look at some cool stuff!
For one, consider velcro. Velco? Yes, velcro. After a walk in the woods with his dog, Swiss engineer George de Mestral observed little burs from common burdock stuck to his dog and his pants. A few years later he invented velcro, inspired by a weed!
Do you have Scottish ancestry? You know the national flower is the Scotch Thistle . "Why," you ask ? It defended the Scots from an invasion by Norseman. When the Norse came on shore, they removed their shoes so as to sneak up on the sleeping Scots in a surprise attack (this was at night). This prickly flower is said to have saved the day! Stickers to the rescue!
Weeds can and are a real eyesore and even a serious problem. The only answer is control as elimination is just not going to happen. This is why a scheduled weed control and fertilization program is necessary for a good lawn and landscape. Nutrients for the plants you want and on-going weed control to continually fight the weeds that just want to grow and live. If you have weeds, we'll be back and if you're not with us then give Tri-Hill Turf & Pest a call. We would love to help you!