Maybe you’re strolling through your garden one beautiful afternoon, checking on your plants and admiring the work you’ve been doing when you stumble across the enemy — a weed.
Don’t procrastinate. Go on the offensive now, or risk losing all the hard work you’ve put into building your garden.
Weeds Can Cause Indirect Damage
Weeds attract another problem: pests. And a weed problem combined with a pest problem can have a snowball effect in your garden, especially if you procrastinate about dealing with the problem.
Aggressive Weeds Can Overtake a Garden
On the most basic level, think of weeds as thieves. They steal water and nutrients from soil that nearby desired plants use for sustenance. While some plants are quite strong and can handle a little competition, many plants will quickly become ill, malnourished and die as the weeds continue to thrive.
Weeds can fall into three categories:
- Aggressive: These weeds spread quickly and are strong competitors for water, nutrients and sunlight.
- Invasive: This means that a weed has the capacity to spread aggressively in a new environment outside of its natural growth area. It “invades” new territories and is considered non-native.
- Noxious: This term is often used interchangeably with “invasive” but its implications focus on the fact that the takeover of non-native weeds can completely disrupt an ecosystem, thereby injuring not only the plant-life but all other life within that chain of plants and animals.
Speaking of noxious weeds, you can easily find a list of weeds considered noxious in your area by doing a quick online search or by contacting your local extension agent or ministry of forests, lands and natural resources for extra help in identifying weeds and determining ways in which you can rid your garden of them.
The negative impacts of weeds in your garden can also have a domino effect. The local honey bees and butterflies you see in your garden depend on your plants and are one component of a larger ecosystem. They fertilize other plants which are the food source for even more creatures, such as beneficial insects and deer. The reason communities and provinces have noxious weed lists is because weeds truly threaten the health of entire habitats.
So … How Do I Deal with This?
You’ll be happy to know that preventing this problem is simple. Dealing with it once it occurs is not. If you do realize you have an out-of-control weed problem, refrain from running out to purchase herbicides. Yes, they’ll temporarily kill the weeds, but they’ll also wreak havoc on healthy plants and animals and are more than likely not permitted for use in your garden. Contact a licensed professional to create a program tailored to your problem.
However, if you’re putting a preventive plan in action, you simply need to follow a few steps.
- Be extremely mindful of what you put in your garden. Ask professionals questions about the plant you’re selecting before planting it. Always use clean soil and ask questions about your seeds – invasive weeds often spring from soil contaminated with seeds of other plants.
- Provide your garden with the optimal care. Healthy lawns and gardens are stronger and less likely to fall victim to competitive weeds, so you’ll have the time you need to fix the issue while your plants stand their ground.
- Examine your garden and mow your lawn regularly.
- If you don’t have the time for this, hire someone. Whether you hire a neighborhood teenager with a good reputation for mowing lawns or a professional gardener, consistent care is your foolproof pathway toward preventing weed growth and its consequences.
Invasive weeds are not a pleasant topic. But when the potential devastation to your garden is so easily preventable, it’s worth your time and effort to learn and be proactive. After all, your garden acts as a meditative, beautiful extension of your home; offering it the extra care and attention it needs for a long, healthy life is only natural.
By Tarah Damask
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