In the world of weeds, there are weeds that are around all the time such as perennials, and then there are weeds that only show up for a short time, also called annuals. Both life cycles can be frustrating when trying to control them and perennials are usually more difficult to eliminate.
Many perennials have deep or extensive root systems that make hand pulling an almost futile effort. Annuals, since they only live a short time, can usually be pulled out and disposed of, but they often leave behind hundreds if not thousands of seeds, waiting for the right temperature and moisture levels to start growing again.
Types of Annuals in your Lawn and Landscape
There are two types of annuals: winter and summer. Winter annuals germinate in the fall, over winter in a vegetative state and then start growing again in the spring. In the warmer parts of the country, winter annuals continue to grow throughout the cooler winter months. At the end of their life cycle, winter annuals will flower, produce seeds and die with the heat of the summer. Summer annuals germinate in the spring, grow leaves, produce a flower, seed head and then die with the cooler weather of fall. We are amid the summer annual season.
All soils contain seeds of various plants, which are mostly weeds. Weed seeds can germinate even after being underground for many years. If you have ever weeded your garden and removed all the weeds that were growing there, in just a few days, a whole new crop will begin to emerge. Keeping weeds under control in a garden is an unending chore.
Using mulch is a great way to keep weeds under check, but even it must be maintained on an annual basis. This means adding fresh mulch every year. A three-inch layer of mulch will keep weeds down and provide nutrients to the plants growing in the garden as the mulch decomposes. If not maintained, in a year or so, the mulch will be covered in all types of weeds.
Summer Annual Weeds
Probably the most notorious summer annual is crabgrass. This hated summer annual grass type weed will germinate as early as February in the South and as late as July in the North. Each crabgrass plant can produce several thousand seeds that are left in the soil to germinate again next year. There are weed control materials that help to prevent crabgrass from germinating. There are newer weed control products that will selectively control crabgrass without damaging the desired turf grass. Crabgrass can be hand-pulled, but often, the population is so great that this would be a daunting task.
There are many broadleaf weeds that are summer annuals. Some are mainly in the South, such as Chamberbitter, while others are more universal, such as Oxalis, Spurge and Knotweed. For the most, these weeds can be easily controlled with most commercially available weed control products. Be sure to read the product label before using and make sure the product will only kill broadleaf weeds without damaging your lawn.
If weeds are a problem in your lawn, contact your neighborhood lawn care professional at Spring-Green. They can work with you to get your weeds under control and help create a healthy better looking lawn.