how do garden weeds spread

Spring is quickly approaching which means garden weeds will be back with a vengeance. One of the main problems with garden weeds is that they have a tendency to crop up all over the place! Understanding how weeds spread can help you keep your garden as weed-free as possible in 2021. 

Birds and animals

One of the main ways that weeds spread around the garden is with the help of birds and animals. In order for weeds to spread, their seeds need to be moved from one location to another, this is where the animals can lend a helping hand. For birds, seeds are an attractive snack. Seeds are eaten by birds and eventually make their way out the other end, this is how a large proportion of weed seeds get spread around. 

Of course, birds aren't the only carriers of weed seeds. Other animals like dogs and cats can get seeds caught in their fur which later fall on the ground in a different part of the garden. To help prevent this kind of localised weed spreading, you can eradicate the weeds in your garden quickly, or put some kind of barrier in place to keep the animals off the plants.

weeds spread in wind, dandelion

Carried in the wind

Some weeds have seeds that are light enough to be carried around the garden on the breeze. Dandelions in particular are often culprits of this! How many times have you picked up a dandelion clock and blown it into the wind? Well, this kind of seed dispersal is very common and contributes to a lot of new weeds cropping up every year. Where possible, discourage young children from playing with the seed heads of weeds if you want to keep their seeds out of the wind and off your lawn!

You!

Although you might think that you're the last person who'd contribute to the spread of weeds (after all, you spend most of your life trying to get rid of them) you can, inadvertently spread seeds around. Seeds can hook onto your clothes as your gardening, seeds can get trapped in the tread of your boots, and seeds can even get stuck to the mud on your bike tyres.

If you traipse through the garden after coming into contact with garden weed seeds in one way or another, then it's likely that you'll contribute to the spread of weeds in your garden. You might even see some new and foreign species spring up after a walk or bike ride through a remote area.

Water

While this is more of an uncommon method of weeds spreading, it does still happen. Sometimes when fields and roads flood, the water picks up seeds from weeds all around the area and carries them to a new location. When the water eventually drains away, the seeds settle in their new home. 

However the weeds have spread around in your lawn, you don't have to put up with them! Here at Lawn and Weed Expert, we offer a comprehensive weed control service that will help you get developing weeds under control quickly.

Weed Control Services >

Read More: The Most Common Garden Weeds in the UK

Lawn weeds

If you want to keep your lawn in immaculate condition all year round, you'll need to keep an eye out for weeds. As we've discussed previously on this blog, the definition of 'weeds' is somewhat subjective, but essentially, any plant that's growing where it isn't supposed to may be considered a weed.

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There's nothing worse than heading out to your garden on a hot summers day to relax on your lush, green lawn and finding it full of weeds! Okay, maybe there is, but we do know how annoying it can be when this does happen. Luckily, you can bring your lawn back to life by removing all of the weeds and bringing your turf's health back to tip-top shape. There's no need to worry, however, Lawn & Weed Expert is here to help make this whole process as quick and easy a possible. 

My Lawn is All Weeds

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In order to successfully remove weeds from your property, it helps to have an understanding of how the weed killer you use actually works. But first, you will need to know what type of weed killer you are using. These are often categorised into the following types; selective, non-selective, systematic and contact weed killers. Before using any type of weed killer, be sure to research exactly what type it is and whether it not it is suitable for your specific gardening needs. Oh and also ensure you read any directions given to you by the manufacturer in order to gain maximum effectiveness. 

How Does Weed Killer Work

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Dandelion weed

As we've discussed previously (see What Makes a Plant a Weed?), there's no hard and fast rule to say which plants are weeds and which aren't. The word 'weed' can refer to any plant that's growing in a place where it isn't wanted.

Of course, some plants make weeds of themselves more often than others - see our list of common UK garden weeds for some of the most widespread examples.

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Lawn weeds are a year-round nuisance, but they can be particularly pesky in the summertime. Long, warm days create ideal growing conditions for many varieties of weed, and periods of drought can limit your lawn's ability to compete with other plants.

Lawn with bindweed

Photo by wht_wolf9653 (Flickr)

Here are some common UK lawn weeds that tend to flower during the summer:

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What is a weed? Put simply, it's a plant that's not wanted. There's no formal definition of what counts as a weed - it's not like the RHS website has a handy list of which plants are weeds and which plants aren't. Some plants that are considered weeds in one environment may be considered desirable elsewhere.

Common characteristics of weeds include:

  • Aggressive growth and reproduction
  • Growing in a place other than its natural habitat
  • Ability to flourish despite inhospitable conditions
  • Seeds that can lay dormant in the soil for a long time

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Daisies in grass

Daisies can be quite pretty, can't they? Many people enjoy picking them to making daisy chains, and the thought of walking barefoot through a meadow of daisies on a sunny day is a rather appealing one.

The RHS website even advises gardeners to think twice and "decide if you really want to combat these plants". But pretty or not, the common English daisy (Bellis perennis) is still a weed, and if you've got daisies in your garden, they're competing with your lawn for essential moisture and nourishment.

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Dandelions

Dandelions are a very common sight in British gardens, parks and fields. They are characterised by their bright yellow flowers, which eventually mature into 'dandelion clocks' - those fluffy seed heads that fly away when you blow on them.

The sunny yellow dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) might seem harmless enough, but it's still a weed, and a frustratingly resilient weed at that. If you have dandelions on your lawn, they may be robbing your grass of vital nutrients and moisture. So it's important to get rid of them in order to keep your lawn as healthy as possible.

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Morning dew on a spring lawn

Spring has finally sprung! After winter, spring is a time of rapid growth for your lawn. The additional water and higher temperatures mean you will need to take extra steps to help your lawn make the most of these conditions and heal itself after the winter.

But getting your lawn ready for spring doesn't have to be a hassle! Our specialist spring lawn treatment will make sure your lawn receives all the nutrients it needs to looks its best for the months ahead.

Here are some basic tips to help you prepare your lawn for springtime...

 

Overseeding

Spring is the perfect time for encouraging new growth to ensure your lawn retains its texture and health. By planting more seeds than usual, grass will grow back thicker and improve the overall 'vigour' of your lawn. This is also perfect for repairing a lawn that has flooded as a result of the extreme weather that has hit the UK recently.

We recommend overseeding your lawn every three years in the springtime to keep your grass looking its best. Remember: wait until temperatures get a little bit milder! Germination (seeds beginning to grow) happens at around 8 °C, so you want to wait until the ground is warm enough to allow the seeds to sprout.

 

Spring Moss Treatment

Wet weather can cause moss to appear on damp and poorly-drained lawns. Spring brings rapid growth for grasses, and it's an ideal time to address any moss problems that may have arisen in your garden. After the wettest February on record according to the Met Office, a spring lawn treatment is essential if you want to get your lawn ready for spring and combat potential moss issues. A specialised moss treatment will help your lawn's vigour and encourage healthy grass growth during those April showers.

 

Feeding Your Lawn for Spring

A long, wet winter may give lawns the moisture to grow, but food is also essential for healthy growth and sustaining your lawn's health. Use a specialist fertiliser to make sure your lawn has ample nutrients to grow. A spring lawn treatment will give you a greener and healthier lawn for the upcoming warmer months and will provide the nutrients your lawn needs to keep growing throughout the season.

 

Spring Weed Control

Unfortunately, it's not just grass that grows in spring. The weather at this time of year may encourage common weeds such as dandelions, buttercups and daisies, especially if your lawn is not as strong as it could be. If you're looking to reduce the appearance of these spring weeds, our spring lawn treatments include liquid herbicides to reduce and control common weeds. Not only do we tackle visible weeds, our weed control service can also tackle conditions that promote weed growth, eliminating the need for more expensive treatments later.

Book Your Spring Lawn Treatment >>

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