Weeds can be frustrating to deal with because they are aggressive and compete with other plants for water, space and soil nutrients. They are undesirable, and while most of them are bad, certain weeds do have some redeeming qualities, and whether we like them or not, weeds are plants.
There are hundreds of thousands of plants worldwide, and a small percentage are labelled as weeds because of their behaviour. Weeds are known for their long-term survival and abundant seed production and can populate very quickly because they can easily adapt to their environment. There are different types of weeds, including native, non-native, annual, invasive, biennial or perennial. If you want to manage weeds, you need to first understand their differences along with their unique characteristics and growing seasons.
The most common weeds and wildflowers are biennials and have a two-year life cycle. They germinate and flower and produce seeds in their second year, after which they die. Perennial weeds, on the other hand, do not die out after flowering and come back every year. Simple perennial weeds grow individually, and dandelions are an example of a weed that spread only by seed. Spreading perennials like bindweed also emerge from seed but send out rhizomes that grow underground and spread, which is why these perennials are very difficult to control.
Invasive weeds are problematic because they can establish themselves on different sites and grow very quickly. When these weeds spread, they disrupt plant communities and ecosystems. Noxious weeds are dangerous because they can be harmful to public health, agriculture and wildlife, and if a weed is confirmed to be noxious, authorities can step in to either contain or destroy that weed to stop its spread.
It’s natural to think of weeds as unwanted guests but under the right circumstances, certain weeds can help your garden, and if you can control them, they will help your outdoor space. They can help retain water to increase moisture and nutrients, which would allow them to function as a type of living mulch. This could help maintain topsoil, and some weeds, like dandelions and radishes, for example, can actually help work the soil because their deep roots will loosen shallow layers of compacted soil. Additionally, while most people think of weeds as pests, they are not and can repel undesirable bugs and control other pests. They can also attract beneficial insects to help maintain biodiversity in your garden. The reality is that while weeds can be invasive, they can also be useful and can tell you a lot about your soil and its health and hint at the need for improvements.
If you’re having trouble with weeds, Cedar Grounds can help! We specialize in lawn care and maintenance and are one of the top landscaping companies in the Mississauga and Oakville areas. We can assist with both commercial and residential landscaping projects and are experts in design and snow removal, so if your outdoor space is in need of an improvement, contact us today!