Weeds are pesky and persistent, and knowing how to differentiate between different types can go a long way when it’s time to eliminate them. Some weeds simply need to be pulled while others may require a more aggressive approach to manage. This article will walk you through where they come from, whether all weeds are bad, and some practical treatment options.   

Where Do Weeds Come From?

While most weeds seem to appear overnight, there are logical reasons they get into our lawns and landscapes. The seeds can blow in the wind, be carried through water, and may even get brought home on your clothes or the coat of your pets. Weeds typically sprout up based on the season, soil quality, and amount of space they have to grow in.

Are All Weeds Bad?

Research shows that weeds like chickweed, broadleaf plantain, and ragweed can have certain beneficial properties. When used or consumed in moderation, some weeds may support digestive health, soothe skin irritation, and even act as an expectorant when you’re sick.

That being said, the majority of weeds are invasive and can cause harm to humans, animals, and the environment as a whole. That is why the United States Secretary of Agriculture was given the authority to declare some plants as “noxious weeds” just under 50 years ago – to limit the spread of weeds that may pose a threat when left unchecked.

What Can Invasive Weeds Do?

There are thousands of weed-like plants around the globe and each species comes with its own behavior and impact. The more high-risk weeds can have adverse effects on their environment – harming biological diversity, pushing out native species, and ultimately costing businesses and municipalities a lot of money to manage. For that reason, it’s best to take a proactive approach to weed control before the problem gets out of hand.

Common Weeds in New Jersey

New Jersey is home to a number of unwelcome visitors in lawns and landscapes, including crabgrass, ryegrass, bindweed, carpetweed, thistle, dandelions, and more. What’s worse, weeds like crabgrass can produce up to 150,000 seeds per plant!

Once you are able to identify what kind of weeds you’re dealing with, you will be able to narrow down what the best course of action is for management. While you may be able to pull some weeds by hand, others will require an herbicide depending on the time of year and what stage the plants are at in their lifecycle.

Understanding How Herbicides Work

There are two key categories of herbicides when it comes to weed management – pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergent herbicides will stop the growth of a plant within a seed from ever occurring. Post-emergent herbicides can be used to eliminate weeds that are already actively growing and spreading.

When possible, it’s best to use a selective herbicide that will target certain grasses or plants without doing damage to innocent bystanders. Non-selective herbicides kill any plants they come into contact with, meaning you might do more harm than good if you don’t read the product label first.

How to Treat Pesky Weeds

Fortunately, there are a number of eco-friendly products on the market that can tackle those pesky weeds without impacting your other plants too much.

Branch Creek’s Weed Shield contains no harsh ingredients and will rid the area of weeds without harming the ground or turf. Use it as a spot treatment and apply it during the early stages of growth for optimal results.

Fiesta’s Turf Weed Killer is an ideal solution for lawns, turf, parks, playgrounds, and athletic fields. It will eliminate a wide range of broadleaf weeds, works in various temperatures, and poses no concerns to human health or the environment.

To see more products from Branch Creek and Fiesta, click here.

Weeds thrive in poor soil conditions, so your best defense against weeds is to keep the landscape you’re managing healthy, hydrated, and rich in nutrients. You can also add compost and other organic materials to your soil, mulch beds regularly, and grow plants closely to prevent weeds from working their way in.  

Keep in mind as always that “Everything is connected to everything else.” When chemicals are required for treatment, always take the extra step to research what you’re spraying onto plants or pouring into the soil. For more advice on which products may be the best fit for your lawn or landscape, contact us today.

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