Every square yard of soil could hide thousands of weed seeds. One Minnesota study found 130 million seeds per acre. Many of these weed seeds remain viable and could germinate for up to 7 years; some last 50 years or longer. And all they need to start growing is moisture and sunlight. Once established, they compete with desirable plants for light, water and nutrients. Plus, they just look lousy.
Weeds are always looking for a home
Many weeds travel into your yard by seed. Airborne seeds can drift in from the yard next door – or even a vacant lot at the end of the block. Weed seeds can also hitch a ride on animals, insects and water.
Lawnmowers spread weed seeds, and poor-quality lawn seed mixes, mulch, topsoil and straw can also contain potential invaders.
Where do weeds take hold?
Weeds are opportunists that naturally take advantage of even the bleakest growing conditions to set root. If you've ever seen a weed growing out of a crack in your driveway or other paving, you know that weeds, by nature, can adapt to almost any spot.
As you walk through your yard, keep an eye on the following areas that often offer ideal conditions for weeds to grow and reproduce.
Pathways – A path provides easy footing, but from a weed’s standpoint, it's also an area without competition from other plants. Paths made from loose materials, such as bark mulch, decomposed granite or stones, can act as seeding beds, offering a natural spot for weeds to grow.
Underneath shrubs – Areas under shrubs can be hard to reach, shady and moist – a perfect place for weeds to take root and spread seed out of sight.
Unpaved drives and parking areas – Whether grassy, muddy or filled with gravel, these areas roll out the welcome mat for weeds.
Cracks and crevices – Every crack between paving stones, bricks or slabs of concrete provides a natural entry point for weeds. Even cracks in concrete filled with joint compound can trap enough soil to sprout weed seeds. If the weeds are not dealt with, roots can lift pavers or bricks, creating dangerous uneven spots and ruining the clean look of your patio or walkway.
Beneath decks – Despite sparse sunlight, many weeds seem to thrive under decks.
Around downspouts – Weeds often thrive at the base of downspouts, where moisture is abundant. Heavy rains can wash seeds from these weeds into other areas of your yard.
Along fences and foundations – Often out-of-sight and out-of-mind, these areas are naturals for weed build-up.
Freshly-tilled soil – Anytime you turn soil (or your dog digs a hole or a squirrel plants an acorn), you expose buried weed seeds. Watch for new seedlings.
Open soil – When existing plants die, or in new plantings of flowers or vegetables, you have the potential for a hostile takeover by weeds. Keep a close watch on your yard for dead spots or open areas, including in your lawn. Fill them in as soon as you can, adding new plants, seeds or mulch. Bare spots in lawns should be over-seeded with desirable grass seed. In new plantings, cultivate often to uproot new weed seedlings.
Naturally, no one wants a weedy garden or backyard. There are many ways to control weeds, including hand-pulling, hoeing, mulching or using herbicides like gylphosate. Often people try homemade, natural weed killers like vinegar to avoid glyphosate. Others will use weed-flamers that torch weeds. Unfortunately, these “more natural” techniques often don’t kill the roots of the weeds so they quickly regrow. Not to mention the damage you can do with a weed-flamer. At Natria, we have a great new alternative that kills listed weeds, roots and all; Natria Grass & Weed Control With Root Kill. Unlike when you use glyphosate, you’ll see results within minutes. And unlike natural solutions like vinegar, the weeds will not come back from their roots.
For more information on controlling weeds, go to Top Techniques For Killing Weeds.