garden weeds

What Causes Garden Weeds to Grow?

A beautiful and thriving lawn is the pride and joy of every homeowner. We spend hours a week cutting, trimming, and edging our lawns so they stay healthy and lush. Even the most beautiful lawns can have trouble areas. One of the biggest areas of concern in lawns is keeping the garden weeds under control. This is a problem that most gardeners are all too familiar with. It seems that no matter how hard we work we can never rid our gardens from the weeds. Have you ever heard the saying “if you give them an inch, they will take a mile”? The same can be said about garden weeds. If you are not careful, weeds can easily overtake your lawn and flower beds. Do not fear! This article will go over what conditions cause garden weeds to grow, and what you can do to stop them.

Where Do Garden Weeds Like to Grow?

It may feel discouraging to look out over your yard and see so many garden weeds. However, if you look closely you may notice that certain parts of your yard are more prone to garden weeds than others. There are, in fact, conditions that make parts of your lawn more vulnerable to garden weeds than others. While weeds are not confined to only those areas of your lawn, these are places where garden weeds tend to flourish. Here is a list of places that may be more vulnerable to weeds.

Compacted Soil

Hard, dry, compacted soil is typically a bad sign to any garden. Compacted soil can come from a lack of water or higher than average foot traffic. When soil becomes hard and compacted it makes it hard for your lawn or plants to put down a solid root system. However, most garden weeds are equipped with hardy and strong roots that can thrive even in these dire conditions. Compacted soil is a prime location for weeds to sprout.

Thin Areas in the Lawn

When your lawn begins to thin it can be from a variety of reasons. The biggest culprits of a thinning lawn include diseases or bugs. Whatever the reason for your thinning lawn, when you notice bald spots arising be on the lookout for an increase in garden weeds. As the lawn begins to thin out and die, the thick and blanket-like root system will also begin to thin. The root system is a natural barrier for garden weeds, without the root system weeds will soon takeover the thin spots in the lawn.

Wet Areas in the Lawn

Another condition which garden weeds will thrive are places that are over watered. Wet or soaked sections of your lawn are great places for weed seeds to germinate. At any given moment your lawn is home to hundreds if not thousands of weed seeds. These seeds can actually lay dormant until conditions are conducive for germination. If your lawn is soaked it loosens the soil. The extra moisture and loose soil create ideal conditions for seed germination. To avoid these soaked conditions, turn off your sprinklers if you are getting more than average rainfall.

Overly Sunny or Shady Areas

Overly sunny and shady locations are also places in which garden weeds tend to grow. That may seem crazy that both sunny and shady locations are places in which garden weeds will grow. Different types of weeds will thrive in different environments. So knowing what types of garden weeds are prone to your area is important.

Where Lawn Meets Concrete

Maybe the most stereotypical place for weeds to grow are in the cracks in in the sidewalk. Areas where the lawn meets the concrete are especially vulnerable to weeds. These areas include your driveway, sidewalk, or pathways through the yard. This may be because the sun warms the concrete during the day. Many garden weeds are capable of laying down roots even in the tiniest amount of soil. This means that they can grow in tiny cracks in the asphalt, sidewalk or concrete. The warmth from the sun, combined with the lack of competing plants will encourage germination and growth of weed seeds near concrete.

Annual Garden Weeds vs. Perennial Garden Weeds

There are literally thousands of different types of garden weeds in the world. However, garden weeds can generally be sorted into one of two categories: annual weeds and perennial weeds.  Annual weeds are weeds that germinate every year in the spring. As the weeds grow to maturity they will drop seeds, which will then germinate and grow the following year. Perennial weeds will grow all season long. They don’t die, but rather lay dormant during the winter, only to grow again the following spring. To physically remove annual weeds you can cut head and stalk of the weed off before it flowers. You can leave the roots in the ground so you don’t leave a hole. However, with perennial weeds you should dig down and remove the roots, otherwise they will grow back the following season.

How to Fight Garden Weeds

Mow Higher

Cutting your grass higher than you typically would can help prevent weed growth. Although many homeowners prefer the look of short cut grass, keeping it a little longer can stop weeds from spreading their seeds. It also can also shade the soil from the sun, keeping the temperature of the soil cooler. Weeds need warmer environments to germinate their seeds, so the cooler soil will discourage weed growth. Mowing regularly can also help remove garden weeds that pop-up overnight before they have a chance to spread seeds.

Fertilize Regularly

If you are not already using the services of a lawn care company you may want to reconsider. The thicker and healthier your lawn is, the harder it is for weeds to take root. Treating your lawn with fertilizer at the beginning and end of the growing seasons can do wonders for weed maintenance. A lawn care company can also identify common garden weeds and treat problem areas of your lawn. Win/Win! However, if hiring a lawn care company is not in your budget, you can also find plenty of treatments you can spread yourself. Just check your local garden center or super store to find fertilizer and other necessary equipment for relatively cheap.

Adequate Plant or Grass Coverage

Most of the conditions where garden weeds thrive, are conditions where other flowers and grasses have difficulty. The lack of competition from other plants gives weeds the power to grow uninhibited. Filling in your flower beds gets rid of some of the “empty space” that is so inviting for this invasive garden weeds. When you lawn is lush and healthy, garden weeds are less likely to creep their way into your yard. Having a variety of ground covering plants in flower beds will help deter weed seeds from entering the soil. Lastly, filling your gardens with mulch is important because it can help regulate the soil temperature to discourage weed growth. 

In Conclusion

Knowing a little bit more about what brings these obnoxious invaders into our yards can help you eliminate them from your lawn. Weed maintenance is an ongoing battle. It is important to keep an eye on the weed growth in your yard, and act quickly. If you can stay on top of your weed maintenance you will soon find yourself with a healthy and lush lawn that any homeowner should be proud of.

Amy O'Brien

I am a mother, homeowner, and a DIY kind of gal. Whether it’s backpacking in the mountains or throwing a BBQ in my backyard, I love bringing my family to the great outdoors!

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