Where Do All The Weeds Come From?

who says weeds cant be controlledA typical lawn has to endure a large number of stresses from numerous sources, such as insects, diseases and weeds. It is said that a lawn is dynamic as there are always things happening. This is especially true with weeds.

Weeds can germinate throughout the growing season – spring, summer and fall, but also throughout the winter in the southern parts of the United States. Therefore making it seem like it is an unending battle to keep weeds from taking over your lawn.

4 ways weeds spread:

  1. Blowing: For the most part, new weeds come into a lawn and are blown in by the wind. If you think about a dandelion seed head, the seeds are carried in by the “parachute” that is attached to each individual seed. This enables the seeds to travel a long distance before landing in a lawn or landscape bed.
  2. Excrement: Birds can be another source for seed dispersal. They will eat the seeds, which can pass through their digestive system and be deposited on a lawn with a little bit of natural fertilizer to help it grow better. This is a common way for many invasive plants to spread, such as wild grapes.
  3. Rain: The wind blows seeds into many areas, including sidewalks and driveways. When it rains, these seeds will travel along pathways and end up along the edges. This is the main reason why weeds are often a problem along sidewalks and driveways.
  4. Carriers: Other seeds have small barbs that may get tangled in animal fur and will drop into your lawn when the animal scratches itself. Seeds can remain viable for many years.

In an article from National Geographic “A male date palm tree named Methuselah that sprouted from a 2,000-year-old seed nearly a decade ago is thriving today, according to the Israeli researcher who is cultivating the historic plant” (March 24, 2015). It is no wonder that seeds of today can survive for ten or twenty years, if not longer. All it takes is a chance for the weed seeds to receive enough sun, warmth and water to germinate.

If you have ever weeded your garden and removed all the weeds, you were proud of your accomplishment, but you know that the clean look will only last a few days. As the soil is turned over, there are dozens, if not hundreds of weed seeds that are brought to the surface. A little rain, sun and warmth is all it takes for a new crop to emerge.

weeds getting pulled from the garden

The old saying, “Nothing grows like a weed” is very true. Weeds have a short time to germinate, grow, and produce a flower and seed before dying. That is why Spring-Green guarantees our applications. We know that weeds can germinate between applications and we will come out to re-spray your lawn at no charge. All you have to do is give your local Spring-Green a call.

Why Do Weeds Grow Where They Grow?

weeds growing between bricks

Weeds are opportunistic plants and will grow just about anywhere they can find space to send down roots and send up their top growth. I am sure you have seen weeds growing in the cracks of sidewalks or along the seam between the street and the gutters.  You can even see weeds growing along expressways.

The same is true when it comes to weeds growing in your lawn. They will grow best in the places that provide the best conditions for them to germinate.

There are 100’s if not 1,000’s of weed seeds in any lawn, just waiting for the right conditions to germinate. 

Depending on the type of weed, you might find them in the following places:

  1. In hard, compacted soil
  2. Wet, loose soil
  3. Bright, sunny locations
  4. Shady locations
  5. Places where the grass may be thinned out due to insect or disease activity
  6. Places where excessive foot traffic has taken place

Weed growth is not limited to this list, but are still prime locations for weeds to germinate.

One place that weeds germinate always seems to be along sidewalks, driveways and street edges. If you think about it, these places can be the hottest spots in your yard. The sun heats up the driveway or sidewalk, which in turn dries out the soil and the turf begins to thin out. Once you give a weed a little bit of a chance, it will take advantage of the opportunity and it will germinate.

Weeds growing along the street

One of the best defenses against weeds is to mow your lawn high. If you live in the areas where cool-season grasses grow, you should be mowing your lawns between 3 to 4 inches. The reason behind this practice is that the longer grass blades will shade the ground underneath, preventing the sun from reaching the seed to heat it up and allowing it to germinate.

For those of you in the south, with the exception of St. Augustine grass, most grasses are mowed at 1½ to 2 inches. The advantage that these grasses have is their dense growth habit that prevents the sun from reaching down to the seeds. Weeds can still grow in areas where the grasses have thinned due to various reasons. Fertilizing your lawn and watering it to make sure it is growing properly will also help keep weeds from germinating.

Nothing beats proper mowing when it comes to preventing weed growth. Of course, if you are on Spring-Green’s lawn care program, we will take care of your controllable weeds when we service your lawn. The Weed Science Society of America claims that more than 200 species of weeds have grown resistant to common weed control products. Remember, for our full program customers, reapplying for broadleaf weeds is part of your program and provided at no charge to you. Contact your local Spring-Green for more information on our services.

Why Are There So Many Weeds This Year?

dandelion field

Depending on where you live in the US, weeds are out of control because there has been so much rain this year. Rain equals weeds; that is just a fact of life in lawn care. It just so happens that the number one service call for any lawn care company has to do with weeds.

Some weeds are easy to control, but others can be a real challenge. There are many ways that weeds can be controlled or eliminated, but why are some weeds more difficult than others?

 Weed Control: 5 reasons why is it not working?

  1. If you are spraying the weeds and the leaves are small, there may not be enough weed control applied, based on the size of the droplets coming from the spray equipment you are using.
  2. If the leaves are hairy, the weed control will sit on top of the hairs and evaporate before it has a chance to reach the leaf surface.
  3. If the weed has a waxy coating, like purslane or Virginia buttonweed, the weed control may roll off the leaf before it has a chance to be absorbed.
  4. If the weeds have an extensive root system, like Canada thistle, it allows the weed to regrow from the root systems that are not controlled.
  5. Some weeds have a very tough cuticle, or skin, like ground ivy or wild violets on their leaves and it is difficult for the weed control to penetrate.

weed1.1

 

Many perennial weeds can be controlled by applying weed control in the fall. This is especially true of wild violets, ground ivy and clover. In the fall, the weeds are sending carbohydrates down into the root system. By spraying in fall, even as late as November, the weed control material will be moved into the root system, preventing the weeds from growing the following year.

weeds

Pulling Weeds by Hand

There are a few annual weeds that you can hand pull to eliminate them, but the one aspect of weeds that make them so hardy is the extensive root system that they grow. In many cases, if you don’t get the majority of the root when pulling the weed, a new weed will regrow from the root that is left behind.  The main stems on many weeds will easily break off at the ground level when they are pulled and a new plant will regrow from what is left behind.

For those of you that live in areas of the US that are short on rain fall this year, weeds are still going to grow. They will not absorb the weed control product as readily as when there is adequate moisture. As for hand pulling, many weeds have adapted to grow if all types of environmental conditions due to their extensive root system. The tops of the plants may be gone, but the rest of the weed will survive to start growing again once the rain returns.

If your lawn is experiencing a weed problem, contact your local Spring-Green office for more information.

The Weed That Can Grow Just About Anywhere.

house

If you live in the northern part of the US, this is the time of year when your grasses begin to turn green, spring bulbs begin to pop-up, early spring flowers are blooming and everyone is anxious for the warmer weather to return in earnest. You look across your lawn and are dismayed when you see large patches of brown grass in your otherwise green lawn. What’s going on?

If your lawn looks somewhat like the lawn in the picture below, then you have a grassy weed known as Nimblewill. This grassy weed is native to areas where warm-season grasses survive, but has adapted to grow in the northern parts of the US as well. In fact, this grass can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. You can find it growing in full sun or deep shade, on highly fertile soils or on compacted sites. It will thrive in both wet areas or during a drought.

nimbleweed

Nimblewill resembles Bermuda grass or bent grass in growth and appearance, but in the northern areas, it acts more like zoysia grass in that it does not turn green until the weather is consistently warm, usually into May or June and then begin to go dormant in September.

The fact that it can form large patches of grass in a lawn that is green for only a short time in the northern parts of the US make it a hated grass for many homeowners, similar to those who may have planted zoysia grass in their lawns and are having a hard time attempting to control it.

Nimblewill spreads by seeds and by short above ground roots called stolons. The seed heads will form from mid-summer until it goes dormant.

The stolons are short, wiry and very tough. There are small swellings on the stolons called nodes and it is from these sites that roots and new shoots will grow as it spreads out. Despite the extensive rooting, Nimblewill can easily be pulled from the ground.

Some people think that they can remove it by raking it up, but it will soon grow back from any little piece of stolon that is left behind.

Controlling Nimblewill can be accomplished in one of two ways. Once the grass has totally exited dormancy, it can be sprayed with a non-selective weed control containing the active ingredient, glyphosate. Two or three applications may be required to totally control it. Then the area will have to be reseeded once it has died off.

The other method is to use a specialized weed control product called Tenacity. This product can be used on Nimblewill or bentgrass and will control those plants in cool-season turfgrasses without damaging the desired grass. Since this is a specialized product, it is usually better to have a professional lawn care company apply the product. Once the grass has been controlled, the site needs reseeding as well.

Nimblewill will blend in with your existing lawn when it is fully active, but will be unsightly for the better part of a year while it is dormant. Your lawn will look much nicer without this plant growing out of place.

Do you have issues Nimblewill? Contact your local Spring-Green office for control options to remove Nimblewill from your lawn.

How Do I Control Virginia Buttonweed In My Lawn?

Virginia Buttonweed is a tough to control perennial weed found most often in home lawns in the South and Southeast. It is difficult to control due to an extensive rhizome root system, its ability to produce seeds both above and below ground and it also has the ability to reproduce from the stems that may be left behind from mowing, which can result in the plant being spread over a large area of your lawn. Virginia Buttonweed will sometimes turn chlorotic, or yellow, due to a common virus, which make it an even greater eye sore.

Controlling Virginia Buttonweed – Lawn Care Tips & Weed Prevention

This plant is one of the most difficult to control weeds found in home lawns. Besides the aforementioned ways it can reproduce, the seeds that are produced above ground are buoyant and can float away during heavy rains. The extensive root system can grow several feet in depth, helping it to survive even the driest times of the year.

Controlling Virginia Buttonweed may require the use of specialized weed control products. Often, multiple applications are needed to just keep it in check. If this weed is a problem in your lawn, your best bet may be to contact a professional lawn care company like Spring-Green.

Dandelions – the plant most people love to hate

Dandelions seem to be the weed that causes most concern to homeowners across the US. It is mainly a concern for the two weeks or so in spring when the flowers bloom and the seed head puffballs are seen as a sign of an ill-kept lawn. The flowers can arise in one day, last for a short time and the puffballs come out a day or so after that. Mowing them off does not seem to help as new flowers arise from the plant the next day.

Dandelion Control – Lawn Care Tips & Weed Prevention

For the most part, dandelions are usually a problem in weak lawns, bare areas or can be found growing along the edges of driveways, sidewalks and streets. They don’t compete well with a thick, well-fertilized lawn that is mowed high and has been consistently watered.

One reason they grow so easily along the edges of properties is there is little or no completion from the turf. Weed seeds can blow in from miles away, land on impervious surfaces and wash down and germinate along the edges.

Dandelions are a perennial plant and can germinate anytime during the growing season, but most often germinate in the fall. They generally flower in the spring and early summer. Using a commercially-available weed control product is usually the fastest way to rid your lawn of dandelions. Making a fall application of weed control is just as important as applying in the spring. Digging them out will remove the top growth, but a new plant will re-grow from the root that remains underground.