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.

A Brown Lawn Is Not Always a Bad Thing

One of our Field Service Professionals, Brandon Ward, from the Opelika, AL area likes to send me pictures of great lawns and landscapes as well as those that could afford some improvements.  He recently sent me an e-mail with a picture attached and wrote, “I call this a pre-emergent success. It’s one of the biggest residential properties we have, and it is spotless at the moment.”

I was at a loss for why he would consider this lawn a success since the entire thing was brown.  Then I remembered that he was talking about a warm-season turf grass lawn in January, and that this location in the US should still be dormant.

The reason he is so proud of the lawn is that it does not have any winter weeds, which would be green and very noticeable, detracting from the overall consistency of the lawn.  The turf variety in this lawn is Zoysia and it will probably begin coming out of dormancy in the next couple of weeks. The best part is that the turf will not have any competition from weeds as it starts greening up.

good/bad lawn

This does not mean that weeds cannot grow in this lawn. Weeds are opportunistic and will germinate wherever they can. Generally in a lawn as nice as this, the only place that weeds will most likely germinate is along the edges, next to driveways, sidewalks and landscape beds. There is less competition from the densely growing zoysia at those edges then in the middle of the lawn.

If you live in the north and have cool-season grasses growing in your lawn, then the best time to apply a pre-emergent barrier for crabgrass and many other annual weeds is in early spring to early summer, depending on the soil temperature.

In southern areas crabgrass has already begun to germinate at this time of year, so applying a pre-emergent barrier has to be completed in the late fall and winter. Winter annual weeds, or weeds that germinate in the cooler weather and die when it gets hot, are also active at this time of year.

The grass may not be growing, but there are plenty of other plants, especially the unwanted weeds, that are taking advantage of the weather and looking for a place to grow.

I hope you understand why Brandon is so proud of this lawn.  I am sure that as the weather warms up and the grass starts to green up, this lawn will be one of his best lawns.  Good job, Brandon.

Are you unsure about the condition of your lawn? Let us know by either commenting below or asking your local Spring-Green.