Garden weeds are plants that grow where they are not planted. Typically, garden weeds are aggressive, invasive plants that grow where they are not wanted. Plants growing where they are not planted will struggle for nutrients, sunlight, water, and space with the plants you’ve taken time to grow.
Types of Weeds in Lawn
Some of these weeds look like grass, so differentiating them from your lawn is not an easy task.
Here is a list of some of the common garden weeds:
- Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea)
- Bindweed (Convolvulus Arvensis)
- Canada Thistle (Cirsium Arvense)
- Crabgrass weed
- Velvetleaf weed
- Purslane (Portulaca Oleracea)
- Quackgrass (Elitrigia Repens)
These weeds are pretty common in gardens across different climatic conditions—check out a more detailed guide to different types of weeds to learn their peculiarities.
Why are Weeds Bad for Your Lawn and Garden?
Some garden weeds may seem harmless; some may even have a pleasant scent when cut, so it’s understandable if you begin to wonder if their presence is a bad thing after all. Weeds can harm your garden in so many ways. Here are some of these ways:
1. It is Unpleasant to Look at
Your once clean and attractive lawn can quickly become unsightly once weeds invade the area. One of the most apparent harms you’ll notice immediately when weeds enter your yard is the untidiness it brings.
Sometimes, it may not be your lawn area, but your clean flower beds get overrun with weeds. One thing remains, it makes the area messy and unattractive.
2. There’s an Unhealthy Competition with Your Plant
When weeds invade your garden, it begins to fight for scarce nutrients, space, water, and sunlight with your cultivated plants. Weeds are aggressive and will more often than not win this battle of wits which can lead to the death of your cultivated plant. In other cases, they coexist but reduce your plants’ growth, causing stunted growth, pale-looking or off-color plants.
3. They Carry Disease
Weeds are often carriers of diseases, and their presence in your garden may lead to an outbreak of a disease that can affect your garden. Weeds are aggressive growers and can quickly spread over an area and, in turn, spread the disease across your lawn in record time. Pest also loves to hide under the shade from the weeds.
4. They Make Working in Your Garden Difficult
If your lawn and garden have been overrun with weeds, working in that area will require twice as much energy and time. Trying to harvest your plant with weeds around it can be frustrating. You may have to weed the area before anything else.
How to Prevent Weeds from Growing in the Garden?
If you’ve ever had weed take over your lawn, you’ll understand how big a problem that is, and often, it takes a lot of effort to rid your garden of them completely. Preventing weeds from entering is a better alternative to weeding and fighting when it starts to spread. So, how do you prevent weeds from growing in your garden?
#1. Use a Pre-emergent
A pre-emergent is a herbicide applied before weeds show up to stop them from germinating. While the common herbicide works above ground level by attacking the weed when it sprouts, pre-emergents work below the ground and attack the seeds and root, thereby stopping any germination or sprouting.
Pre-emergents can be applied in spring or after harvesting to give it time to start working before weed seeds start germination. Before pre-emergents can work, they need to be activated by water as the water forces them down into the soil and the weed seeds.
#2. Avoid Disturbing the Ground as Much as Possible
Weed seeds most times lie dormant in the ground till you till the soil or shake it up. Then they wake up, start growing since the tilling has probably taken the seeds closer to the topsoil.
Understandably, you have to till before planting, but after the initial tilling, try as much as possible to avoid disturbing the soil.
#3. Water Selectively
Watering the entire area may be enabling the growth of weeds. So what do you do instead? Use a hose to water the root of plants directly instead of all the area. This creates a drouth I’m the other areas and starves the weed seeds of water to grow.
#4. Use Mulch
Mulching is an effective weed prevention method as it inhibits the growth of weed by removing several necessary factors for growth. Depending on the type of mulch you use, you can remove sunlight, water, space and even reduce nutrients.
Some common mulch materials include plastic film, wood chippings, cocoa barks, and so much more.
The Best Tools for Weeding
When prevention of weeds is not done at all or done right, weeds find their way to your garden, and if they are not removed, they can quickly fill up the lawn. One of the oldest methods of weed removal is weeding. Some common tools for weeding are as follows:
- Hand Weeder
- Weeding Sickle
- Weed Cutter
- Hand Digger
- Paving weeder
- Crack Weeder
- Garden hoe
- Weed Burner
- Cape cod weeder
- Stand Up Weeder
- Twist Tiller
- Weeder Cultivator
- Fishtail weeder
There are several tools you can use to remove weeds from your garden. Here is a concise guide to these tools and how to use them:
If you do not want to manually weed your lawn, you can use weed killers to remove unwanted grass from your garden. However, one of the biggest problems you’re likely to face here is finding the best weed killer to use.
There are so many in the market, all with varying levels of effectiveness and safety. Here is a list of some of the best weed killers in the market:
- Ortho GroundClear Year Long Vegetation Killer
- Green Gobbler 20% Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer
- Roundup 5101910 Weed Preventer II
- Ortho GroundClear Super Weed & Grass Killer1
- Spectracide weed and grass killer
Organic (Natural) Vs Chemical Weed Killers
There are two types of weed killers; organic or natural and chemical weed killers.
- Organic Weed Killers
The organic form of weed killers is derived organically and is less harmful to cultivated plants, water sources, pets, humans, and the environment. They are, however, less effective than the chemical type.
Learn more about organic weed killers here:
- Chemical Weed Killers
Chemical weed killers, on the other hand, are derived from chemical materials. They are more effective in killing weed but often are more hazardous to cultivated plants, pets, and the environment.
Learn more about chemical weed killers here:
Common Mistakes with Weed Control
Many people make several mistakes when dealing with weeds in their yards that can reduce the effectiveness of whatever method of weed control they employ or even harm them or their environment.
Here are some common mistakes people make when trying to remove weeds from their lawns:
1. Using Improper Tools
Standard weeding tools like hoes take out the shoot of the weed but hardly remove the root. This will only slow down the growth of the weed for a short while before it starts growing again. Tools like spades and dandelion pullers are better suited to remove both the root and shoot of the weed.
2. Using Sprinklers
Sprinklers may be an effective watering method, but they may also be promoting the growth of weed. Using drip irrigation or hoses to water directly to the base of the plant will cause drought in other areas and deprive weeds of the water they need to grow.
3. Waiting too Long Before Weeding
If you wait too long before you weed the grasses that have begun to grow in your yard, they’ll mature, produce seeds and deposit them on your land. These seeds can remain dormant for decades and can quickly germinate and fill up your garden.
4. Over Watering
Overwatering will make it difficult for your plants to grow deep roots which only make them susceptible to being overrun by weeds since they cannot access nutrients from the deeper parts of the soil. Water your plants only when needed to allow them to grow deep roots and become stronger.
5. Frequent Mowing
Mowing your lawn too frequently will prevent the grass from growing properly. Mowing often can also remove nutrients from the topsoil. This does not mean you should leave the grass to grow tall before mowing. Depending on the type of grass, cutting once every week is ideal.
Some Advantages of Having Weeds in Your Yard
Does it sound strange? Weeds in your garden do have some advantages.
- Tells you your soil condition: The type of weed you find in your garden can tell you your soil condition. Certain soil conditions boost specific weeds’ growth, so whenever you see those weeds growing, you know the exact problem and can combat them easily.
- Some are quite useful: Even though these weeds are growing in areas where they aren’t wanted, they can still be beneficial. Some can be nutritious vegetables you can use in your meals; others can be delicious meals for your livestock.
- They can serve as ground covers: Depending on the type of weed, they can be useful as groundcovers, covering the bare ground and reducing the loss of nutrients and water through evaporation. They can serve as natural mulch in your garden.
- Little or no maintenance needed: One of the reasons they are classified as weeds in the first instance is because they are aggressive growers that can survive on their own. This means you do not even need to allocate scarce human resources to them.
Weighing the pros and cons will guide you to choose between eradicating the weeds from your garden or reducing their growth.
Important Tips to Deal with Weed in Your Garden
- As much as possible, do not disturb the soil and dormant weed seeds
- Water the plants directly and not the whole area
- Where possible, reduce the gap between plants
- Use mulch
- Use tools that can also remove the root of the weed
A. Not all weeds are bad for your garden. There are some advantages of having weeds in your garden. Check out this article for the benefits of weeds in your garden.
A. Weed control is essential if you want to keep a tidy, disease-free lawn and ensure your cultivated plants do not have to share scarce nutrients with unwanted plants.
A. There are several ways to identify weeds, even if they look like grass. The method to use depends on the type of grass. Check out a concise guide on how to identify common weeds that look like grass.
A. The best time to use weed control is during spring and fall. In spring, weeds are yet to start growing, so you can use pre-emergent methods. By fall, weeds are weakest and would be more susceptible to your attacks.
A. Using weed fabric to cover the soil is an effective method of weed control.
A. You can leave different weeds to grow in a particular area to form a weed garden. Luckily, weeds require little to no attention.
A. Although dandelions produce showy bright yellow flowers, they are classified as weeds due to their toughness and aggressive growth pattern.
Having weeds in your garden is not a pleasant sight to behold, and this is why people go to various lengths to remove and control weed growth on their lawns.