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What Makes A Plant A Weed? Characteristics of Weeds and What They Are

plant weeds

There are approximately 250,000 species of plants throughout the world and it is estimated that about 8,000 or so of these species can be considered a weed. Per the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), there are about 312 common weeds that can be found in the U.S. Take a look at the common weeds and their weed identification information.

It is interesting to look through the list to see what plants are considered weeds, but can also be considered desired plants, such as birch, spruce and yews.

What Makes A Plant A Weed?

The definition of a weed is a plant growing where it is not wanted. It can also include plants that were not intentionally sown in a specific location or plants that are more competitive or interfere with the activity of people. Another way to think of it is that the undesirable qualities of the plant are more problematic than the good qualities – based on the opinion of those who are viewing the plant.

It is our decision to make plants weeds based on several criteria or characteristics that we feel may be detrimental to us personally, to others around us, to our pets or livestock or to the economic impact weeds may have to crops or other agricultural endeavors.

Characteristics of Weeds

Weeds have several characteristics that are considered negative and as mentioned previously interfere. Below are some characteristics of weeds:

• Plants that produce an abundant of seed
• Plants that have an extensive root system or other vegetative structures that spread above or below the ground
• Plants that grow quickly
• Plants that can cause bodily harm to humans or animals
• Plants that can harbor diseases or insects that affect desired plants
• Plants that can produce chemicals that are toxic to surrounding plants
• Plants that can reduce crop growth or inhibit harvest

Weeds are plants first before they are determined to be weeds. As plants, they do have attributes that can be considered beneficial to the environment. They can help keep soil in place, provide a place for wildlife to live and to feed, and can be aesthetically pleasing. As they die, they can turn into beneficial organic matter. In some cases, they can also have nutritional benefits. In the case of companies like Spring-Green, weeds can provide business and employment opportunities.

As it is written, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Not all plants are weeds, but all weeds can have negative impacts on ways that food is produced for humans and livestock, to human health and to the overall environment. These negative impacts leads to the need to control many weeds. Remember, you can always count on Spring-Green to take care of your lawn this season and eliminate weeds. Contact your local Spring-Green today!

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