While a thriving lawn and garden is a source of pride for any homeowner, you should know that not every living thing should be allowed to grow and proliferate in this space.
For instance, you may notice that a plant has sprouted up in one corner of your lawn and is producing lots of cheerful yellow flowers. It’s easy to think that it’s a happy little accident — a pretty plant has found its home in your property and is adding a dash of vibrant color to your property. What’s the harm in letting it grow naturally?
The problem, however, is that this plant could be a weed, and if it is, it should be removed immediately.
Here are four important questions that homeowners can ask a lawn care company in Woodbridge, VA to learn more about weeds.
1. What are weeds?
Simply put, a weed is any plant that grows where it isn’t supposed to — it was not planted there purposefully by anyone.
Weeds are typically classified as either grassy or broadleaf. Grassy weeds, as the name implies, look and grow very much like real grass, with needle-like leaves; examples are crabgrass, quackgrass and foxtail. Broadleaf weeds, on the other hand, have flat and broad leaves, like oxalis, dandelions, thistle and ground ivy.
Weeds can pop up at random areas in your lawn and garden. They can return every year (perennial weeds), or they can die off if not enough viable seeds are produced so they can grow again the following year (annual weeds).
While some homeowners would be happy to allow any kind of natural growth in their outdoor space, especially if they have little time to tend to their lawn, it’s important to know that weed growth isn’t something that should be freely encouraged.
2. How do these affect my lawn?
As harmless as they may look, weeds compete with your grass and plants for all the important resources that are necessary for good plant growth:
- Space — A weed sprouting up in any available space means that the plants that you actually want growing on your lawn or yard have less space to spread out to. In some cases, the weeds can grow faster and cover other plants.
- Light — If weeds occupy more space, and if they grow taller than other plants, they tend to get more sun exposure.
- Water — Having more plants on your outdoor space means less water is reaching each plant. And with water being a precious resource, you’d want all your desired plants, and not weeds, getting as much water as possible.
- Nutrients — If weeds absorb more of the nutrients from the fertilizer and other things you add to the soil to enhance your plants’ and grasses’ growth, then those nutrients are being unnecessarily wasted.
Not only will your lawn and yard start looking unkempt if weeds start aggressively taking over, but the plants and grass that you want to grow may start getting sickly and dull because of the presence of weeds that steal the resources they need.
3. Are all weeds harmful?
For some gardening experts, certain weeds provide enough benefits to earn a second look.
- Dandelion leaves, for example, contain vitamin C, manganese and iron and can be used in salads or to make tea.
- Milkweeds have very aromatic flowers and are preferred by monarch butterflies for laying their eggs.
- Thistles are the favorite food of many birds and insects.
The key to determining whether a weed should stay in your lawn or go is to evaluate whether they are doing significant harm to your family, to other plants and grass in your space, or to the wildlife and the surrounding environment around your area. It’s also crucial to assess how much work and effort it would take to eliminate the weed completely or to keep its growth under reasonable control.
4. How can weeds be controlled?
It’s not impossible to have a weed-free lawn, but it will require consistent work. In this aspect, getting professional help in lawn care in Montclair, VA is recommended so that weed growth can be constantly monitored and the right techniques can be applied.
A typical effective weed control program would include a thorough lawn analysis so that the lawn care team can tailor a plan to meet your lawns’ unique conditions, as well as your goals and budget. A comprehensive slow release pre-emergent and post-emergent fertilization program will control the growth of both grassy and broadleaf weeds.
Aside from professional weed control measures, some basic lawn care techniques can also prevent the growth and spread of weeds:
- Mowing higher instead of lower means that you get taller grass, and taller grass keeps the soil in shade and prevents weed seeds from sprouting.
- Deep watering helps your grass and plants to develop healthier and deeper roots, making them stronger and better able to compete with any weed.
- Regular fertilization can promote the lush health of plants and grass, and thick growth leaves little space for weeds to emerge.
Your lawn and yard do much to enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property. The outdoor space supplies your home with plenty of clean, fresh air to breathe. Effective lawn care and landscaping can even increase the value of your house. Just make sure that the space is kept free of harmful weeds, and instead is filled with healthy and beneficial plants and grass that have a rightful place in your lawn.