Weed /weed/ n: a plant that is not valued where it is growing and usually of rank growth; or any plant that grows where you do not want it to grow.

Current thinking about problem weeds is to view them as indicators that something in the soil system is amiss. Perhaps the soil is too compacted or too damp. The pH may be out of balance or the soil may contain excessive salts. The soil mineral balance could be way off.

Poor soils generally do not favor our desired plants and Mother Nature in her infinite wisdom to always cover bare soil will find a plant to grow under adverse conditions.

The key to understanding your weed problem is:

  • What weed is it?
  • Is it an annual, biannual or perennial?
  • How does it reproduce?
  • By seed • Rhizomes • Stolons • Bulbs, Or a combination

Weeds that reproduce by two or more methods (creeping perennials and bulbous perennials) are more difficult to control than those (annuals, biennials, and simple perennials) that reproduce be seed alone.

If reproduction is by seed, is the weed cool season or warm season?

  • When does the seed germinate?
  • This is based on soil temperature.
  • Is the weed grassy or broadleaf?
  • What conditions does it like to grow in?

For example, Nutsedge is a creeping perennial that likes damp; anaerobic soils with low competition. Crabgrass is a summer annual that grows in soils with a pH imbalance and low organic matter.

In other words, weeds grow like all plants, in environments that favor their growth.

Alternatives to chemical herbicides are

  • soil improvement
  • good mineral rich fertilization
  • mowing
  • vigorous plants and crops
  • proper irrigation
  • manual cultivation
  • shading
  • early plantings
  • weed barriers
  • organic herbicides like Corn Gluten Meal, Black Jack and AgraLawn