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5 Ways Weeds Are Targeting Your Plants And Affecting Your Health

When gardening, we should not foster all plants. Some organisms are harmful and tend to survive over the dead bodies of other organisms.

Harmful weeds are a threat to your lawn. They consume more of your gardening time and resources and make it harder for you to keep your plants alive and healthy.

What would make fighting against weeds harder is that they are intervening with your lawn’s care routine, which means that harmful weeds are leeching off your plants for their nutrition.

Weeds are also plants and flourish in the same conditions in which your green lawn grows.

Why should I care?!

You must. Weeds can mess with both your plants and you in various ways. Here are five examples.

1- They are food thieves

a man in gloves throws out a weed that was uprooted from his garden

Harmful weeds are organisms that need nutrients (either from soil or water) such as your plants. When gardening, you may feed them inadvertently.

Your garden and resources are not big enough for your green lawn and harmful weeds. Therefore, weeds will help themselves to the nutrients that your plants need and compromise their health, and impede their growth.

Harmful weeds cut your plants’ food supply by absorbing crucial elements such as nitrogen and potassium from the soil and depriving your plants of proper feed.

2- They are usurpers !

Harmful weeds occupy your lawn and control the area in which your plants could grow, rendering them weak and ending up killing them. They fight fiercely, producing biochemicals that undermine your plants’ growth, development, and even reproduction, in a horrific phenomenon called allelopathy.

3- They are parasites

Weeds don’t only steal nutrients from your plants. They also act as parasites, attaching themselves to the roots of your plants to suck up the life out of them.

Thus, they take both your plants’ potential meal and the meal they have already digested.

4- Plants aren’t the only victim

In addition to crashing your lawn and helping themselves to the nutrients of your plants, they also can cause harmful effects on your health.

Weeds on your lawn can carry pollen which is a powdery substance that causes an allergic reaction that manifests itself in symptoms like Itchy eyes or throat, sneezing, blocked or runny nose, watering or red eyes, and headaches, along with other unpleasant symptoms.

5- They are out for your money too!

To add insult to injury, weeds’ harmful impact is not limited to the health of your plants or your health. They also require a high cost to eradicate and tackle the damages they cause.

Do you care more now?

You have a lot to do at your disposal. You still have a great deal of fight left in you. Here are some strategies to aid you in your fight against weeds

1- Pick the right herbicide

Farmer spraying plants in greenhouse

Herbicides or weed killers are many and you may be lost between the wide range of alternatives. To be more certain of what you are looking for you should know what you are seeking exactly.

The best weed killer for you is the one that doesn’t harm your lawn and is tailored to your plants.

Weed killers fall into three main categories; pre-emergent, selective, and non-selective.

  • Pre-emergent herbicides attack harmful weeds before growing. It lays a barrier in the soil to prevent the growth of seedlings of weeds. This type of weed killer would last approximately three months. Hence, it needs to be applied seasonally.  
  • Selective herbicides target specific types of weeds based on their ingredients. This is good for already-grown weeds, as it mitigates the effect on your plants.
  • Non-selective weed killers are the toughest choice for you. They are prepared to fight the most resilient of harmful weeds, but you should take great care when applying them. They don’t differentiate between enemies and allies, and your plants will be a target too.

You should also identify the type of weed you are fighting so that you pick the right herbicide for it. There are three main types of weeds; broadleaf weeds, grassy weeds, and grass-like weeds.

Background of green grass on a summer day, shallow depth of field
  • Broadleaf weeds have broad and flat leaves. They include dandelions, clover, ground ivy, oxalis, chickweed, thistle, dollarweed, and plantain.
  • Grassy weeds grow in blades and resemble grass. This type of weed comprises crabgrass, foxtail, annual bluegrass, and quackgrass.
  • Grass-like weeds may look like grass, yet they grow in a tubular and hollow shape. Among those weeds are nutsedge, wild onion, and wild garlic.

It’s important to identify which type of weeds are growing in your yard before choosing a treatment. Some products are specifically designed for certain types of weeds and can only be used for that kind.

3- Kill them softly!

As a preemptive move that is both effective and economical, you can cover space between plants to deny harmful weeds any access to sunlight and inhibit their growth.

You may use black paper to block light to do it more effectively. That strategy is also proven to strengthen the soil.

4- Mow your lawn a little higher.

At the beginning of summer with an abundance of sunlight, you may adjust the blade of your mower to be high. Thus, it will enable the tall grass to block sunlight from reaching harmful weeds.

That strategy is not appropriate in all seasons. You should lower the blades of your mower in months of less sunlight to allow more of it to pass to your plants.

5- Hoe your own row

Hoeing is important for the health of your lawn. It is also a means to eradicate unwanted weeds and halt their growth.

You should follow some rules when hoeing to do it more effectively.

  • Do it early as soon as you see weeds growing. Don’t wait until they grow longer.
  • Hoe before watering so that the soil will be dry to easily target weeds.
  • Cut the weeds’ stems just beneath the soil. Sweep your hoe in that upper layer of the soil to remove the tops of the weeds and prevent their growth in the future.
  • Clean the blade of your hoe regularly and sharpen it with a metal file or a sharpening stone to ensure its effectiveness in weed cutting.

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