Facts about weeds
What is a weed?
Any plant that is unwanted, out of place, or just has no discernable value can be considered a weed. Approximately 3% (8,000 of 250,000) of plant species found worldwide are classified as weeds.
Weeds are typically grouped into 2 categories based on their plant structure:
Broadleaf weeds usually have flat leaves, netlike veins, and grow by means of a taproot or coarse root system. When they first germinate, two leaves emerge from the seed.
Grassy weeds grow narrow, upright leaves and have parallel veins. They sprout only one leaf from the seed pod and develop a finer, more fibrous root structures.
Weeds are also classified by their life cycle. Just like flowers and other desirable plants, they can be annual, biennial or perennial.
Annuals complete their life cycle within one year or less, and can be further divided into summer and winter species - depending on when they begin to grow.
Biennials take two years to germinate, bloom and die. They are the least common type of weed, and will germinate in any growing season.
Perennials live at least two years, and have the potential to reproduce indefinitely. If you don't remove the entire root system, they'll grow back again and again.
Why control weeds?
Weeds deprive desirable plants of needed water, light and soil nutrients. Often unsightly, they can also scratch and irritate skin, aggravate allergies and even harbor insects and disease.
Why are weeds an ongoing problem?
Weeds are simply nature's way of quickly covering up bare ground. Opportunistic and aggressive, they are genetically designed to germinate, grow and propagate faster than most desirable plants.
Weed seeds are especially adapted to spread. They are widely distributed by animals, insects, hay, mulch, and topsoil. Once they find their way to your lawn and garden, they can remain there. While most weed seeds only exist in the soil a few years, there is a small percentage that can remain dormant for decades, waiting for the right growing conditions to occur.
Most plants only produce several hundred seeds, but weeds are especially prolific. One single weed can produce anywhere from 10,000 to over 100,000 seeds. With these odds, it's easy to see how weeds can quickly take over your garden or lawn if left untreated.