July 12, 2014

Weeds are a visual reminder that no matter how carefully a homeowner plans out their lawn, some unwanted guests will “pop up” at will. While any weed can qualify as annoying, there are some that are particularly damaging to a well manicured lawn.

The Worst Offenders:

Bindweed: offensive roots run deep
Don’t be lured in by those cute little white flowers; beneath them are 1-4 foot vines that can destroy your other plants. Bindweed has been known to snake across the ground and eventually reach over to choke other healthy plants. Pulling the roots is nearly impossible, since the grow so long that it makes hand pulling ineffective.

If that’s not bad enough, if the seed has a chance to set, they could lay dormant for up to fifty years. Bindweed will be with you even after retirement.

Dandelions: Cute but annoying
Sure, kids love blowing the fluffy plant, but that’s the problem for the lawn. The mobility of the seeds means that one dandelion can germinate and spread to every lawn in the neighborhood.

While dandelions aren’t known for aggressively killing other healthy plants, their ubiquity in most lawns make them an annoyance for gardeners. To get rid of them, the entire taproot must be removed since they can survive being partially pulled.

Crab Grass: a heat-loving invader
Look for Crab Grass to spring up along warm, moist areas of a lawn. Homes in the southeast and along the coast are especially prone to Crab Grass. Crab Grass also prefers to sprout on warmer days, after most gardeners have finished mulching and spring weeding of vegetable gardens.

The warmer the weather turns, the faster Crab Grass grows, meaning those days that are too hot to go outside the Crab Grass is doing its most devious work. Most gardeners simply can’t fight the killer heat and the weed, which means that the weed usually wins.

Bermuda Grass: weeds of chemical destruction
The sneaky Bermuda Grass attacks both above and below ground, with runners and stems. Other plants rarely have a chance due to the chemical warfare created by Bermuda Grass. Through a process called allelopathy, the roots give off a chemical that is harmful for neighboring plants.

Once the competition is gone, Bermuda grass takes over quickly, and a spring can grow to a ten-foot plant in less than a month. The roots take about the same amount of time to grow root system that is difficult to get rid of. Many gardeners mistakenly mulch the plant in the hopes of removing the roots, but the plant can still sprout from broken root parts. For this reason, tilling is not recommended.

Quackgrass: more chemical warfare
With underground stems that can reach between 3 and 5 feet in a lateral direction, Quackgrass also employs chemical methods to kill healthy surrounding plants and take over an otherwise healthy lawn. This plant works to inhibit the growth of other plants, so one of the most obvious signs of a Quackgrass infestation is failure to thrive.