Weeds are familiar to anyone with a backyard, lawn, or garden. They are opportunistic plants that will grow wherever the conditions are favorable. Weeds can spread swiftly and widely, and half the reason trying to keep a weed-free lawn is almost impossible.
If you’ve ever had to deal with weeds, you could often wonder why do weeds grow where there appear to be no other weed plants and how they germinate over such long distances.
Weeds come in various shapes and sizes and are found everywhere, from driveways and flowerbeds to veggie patches. Weeds are persistent, so it’s a never-ending battle, but you can keep your lawn and garden weed-free with the knowledge. One secret is to understand where weeds come from.
In our guide, you can learn more about weeds growing and how to identify where they originate. By the end, you’ll have more information on how to tackle lawn weeds, such as the dreaded dandelion ruining your grass. (Read Types Of Sticker Weeds)
What Are Weeds
Plants that grow in an unwelcome location are referred to as weeds. Weeds that grow in lawns and gardens are typically unwelcome and are eradicated.
Weeds are plants that are undesirable because they:
- Plant pathogens use them as hosts.
- Provide animal pests with food or shelter.
- Irritate people’s or animals’ skin or digestive tracts
- Weeds compete with other plants for soil nutrients, land, and water.
- Weeds stifle and reduce crop yield in flower and vegetable gardens.
- Weeds affect the appearance of a well-groomed lawn.
Where Do Weeds Come From
Weeds come from different sources, and while their origin is unknown, they have spread worldwide because of human migration and commerce.
Weeds are flexible and thrive in conditions conducive to their growth, such as precise temperatures, moisture levels, and locations with sparse grass. Unfortunately, weed seeds are a pain to deal with since they spread quickly.
Weeds are known for being opportunistic. This implies they flourish by exploiting certain circumstances, frequently at the expense of other plants.
Weeds thrive in situations that suit them:
- Specific temperatures
- Lawn moisture level
- Thin areas of grass
- Cracks in pavements and roads
Types Of Weeds
Weeds can develop in any lawn, landscape bed, field, or environment, and there are many different weeds. Every lawn and garden bed has three major types of weeds.
All can be controlled, although some are more difficult than others.
These weeds produce seeds, germinate, and grow for one season before dying off on their own at the end of their life cycle. Hairy bittercress, oxalis, groundsel, and chickweed are examples.
Biennial weeds have a two-year life cycle. For example, a seed germinates and creates a leafy plant in the first year, and then the plant flowers the following year, producing seeds, which begin the plant’s new life cycle. (Learn How Soon After Spraying Weeds Can I Mow)
Clover, wild carrot, and prickly lettuce are examples of biennial weeds.
These weeds can live for multiple seasons and spread through various means, including setting seed production and root system spread.
Ground ivy, dandelion, and thistle are examples of perennial weeds.
How Do Weeds Grow
They start here because weeds take root underground. Then, their long veins spread into the soil according to the season and habitat.
Many can go years without growing until their habitat changes. It doesn’t matter if you remove the weed’s top; the roots continue to spread.
Weeds grow based on sun and soil conditions. But they can start growing with just one of these conditions.
So even if you get a little sun, weeds can take over your yard if your soil is nutrient-rich.
Once a weed takes root, it must be completely removed as leaving the weed’s roots or stalk will not kill it.
How Weeds Spread
Most weed species have migrated out of their natural geographic limits. Weeds have spread globally as people and commerce have traveled.
As we trade things worldwide, weed seeds can readily be collected and transported.
Humans are thus both a means of transport and a source of the disturbing surroundings that weeds adore.
Besides humans, weed seeds can spread by:
The wind blows in most new weeds on your lawn. Common garden weeds and dandelions are easily spread because of their look. (Learn What Kills Weeds But Not Flowers)
They’re like tiny parachutes carrying seeds. The windbreaks these apart, scattering the seeds everywhere before landing.
Birds consume seeds and hence help spread seeds. The seeds pass through the bird’s digestive system and are subsequently excreted on your lawn.
This spreads not only the seeds but also a natural fertilizer that helps them take root quickly.
The seeds may be blown into the street or along sidewalks by the wind, where they may become caught in cracks. Weeds can take root and grow in the cracks if there is soil beneath them.
Furthermore, when it rains, these seeds are carried along by the wind and may end up on the borders of sidewalks and paths, where they will take root. Therefore, you’ll often see weeds growing along sidewalks and driveways.
The small barbs on certain seeds allow them to be carried along by animal fur. When an animal scratches itself, seeds fall into your lawn.
Weed seeds remain viable for years, making tracking their arrival on your lawn problematic.
How To Get Rid Of Weeds?
How to control weeds on your lawn? Preventative pre-emergent treatment is one method, but no one product currently covers all broadleaf weeds.
Post-emergent herbicides are often used to manage weeds in lawns or garden landscape.
To get rid of weeds in a lawn, use selective herbicide—the most extensively used selective herbicides act by interrupting weeds’ chemical processes.
Natural plant chemicals drive unrestrained growth. Finally, the weeds outgrow the plant, and it dies.
Other selective herbicides target photosynthesis, in which plants convert sunlight into energy, and by preventing photosynthesis, the weed starves to death.
Non-selective herbicides attack enzymes in plant cells where the herbicide disturbs chemical reactions, causing the plant to die.
Use herbicides that kill weeds. You only must be sure you have the suitable herbicide for your weed. (Read Weeds With White Flowers)
Pull weeds by hand in small gardens and lawns. Pick the annual weeds before you plant your garden. To be sure the weeds are dead, when pulling weeds, remove the entire plant, including the flower, stalk, and most importantly, the roots.
Effective lawn care helps keep your lawn dense to crowd weeds and stop the seed from reaching the soil where it can germinate.
Water appropriately promotes a deeper, stronger root system and, in turn, creates a healthier lawn.
When the pH of the soil is low, lime can increase the availability of nutrients in the soil, making them more accessible to your plants, flowers, and vegetables and keeping them healthy and strong.
Raise the mowing height of your mower. Although homeowners prefer the look of a close-cropped lawn, mowing too short results in a poor turf structure and allows weeds to establish themselves quickly.
Make sure you don’t overdo it with water. Weeds thrive on the ground that comprises loose and moist soil. Therefore, supplementary watering may not be necessary if your area has had consistent rainfall.
Weeds are extremely opportunistic plants that can invade your lawn at any moment and from any location.
The greatest approach to preventing weeds from growing in your yard is to keep your lawn and garden healthy. Herbicides are cost-effective and efficient against a wide range of weeds.