what causes weeds to grow

Gardeners everywhere know that weeds have a tendency to crop up in the most unusual places. In your lawn, in between your paving slabs, in gutters... the list is endless. It's true that keeping weeds at bay is an ongoing challenge that often requires year-round attention.

But why are weeds such a widespread problem? What causes them to grow in these bizarre places? And what can be done to prevent them from cropping up again in future? If you're asking yourself any of these questions then you're in the right place. Lawn and Weed Expert have decades of experience dealing with weeds of all shapes and sizes.


Are conditions in your garden optimal for weeds?

When asking the question "what causes weeds to grow?" the most obvious answer is the conditions of your garden. Like all living creatures, weeds have certain needs that must be met before they start to grow. In most cases, weeds grow in places that:

  • Other plants aren't already growing in
  • Are in direct sunlight (or shade, depending on the weed)
  • Are the right temperature (warm or cold, depending on the weed)
  • Have access to moisture

One of the ways to reduce the number of weeds in your garden is to make your garden less hospitable. This could include, improving drainage, filling in open spaces etc.


How do weeds grow without seeds?

Let's be honest, no gardener has ever planted seeds to encourage the growth of weeds. It would be so counterproductive! So how do the weeds grow? Most other plants like tomatoes or lavender rarely crop up on their own without some kind of human intervention, so why are weeds so good at growing without seeds?

Some weeds rely on nature to do the hard work

Some common garden weeds, like dandelions, do grow from seeds - they're just not planted on purpose. The dandelion seed head (also known as a dandelion clock) is filled with seeds that are light enough to be dispersed by the wind. 

Many weeds, like dandelions, rely on nature to help them colonise your garden. Some weeds spread their seeds on the wind, others have seeds that stick to the fur of passing animals (like your cat or your dog), and some have tasty seeds that are eaten by birds and defecated out in a new location (this process is called endozoochory).

Some weeds lay dormant underground

There are some types of garden weeds that can grow from tiny roots or rhizomes in the soil. These can lay dormant under your lawn, patio or decking for years before growing into a new weed on the surface. Of course, there's little you can do to treat rhizomes that are present under the soil. One of the most effective methods we have found is to use a specialise herbicide on the weeds you see on the surface. This is then moved down into the rhizome/root system which will effectively kill the entire plant (including the parts you can't see).

Some weeds are planted accidentally

You might not think it, but there are a lot of garden products that can contain unwanted plant seeds. Cheap grass seed is one of the biggest culprits, although weeds have been known to sprout from discarded birdseed too.

When you're bringing anything new into your garden, it's important you keep a close eye on potential weed seeds or fragments that might become established in the ground. Where possible, choose a high-quality grass seed and mess-free bird food to keep unwanted weeds out of your garden.

If you're sick and tired of tackling an ongoing weed problem, Lawn and Weed Expert can help. We tackle all kinds of weeds and can help to control the spread of new weeds too. Contact us now to book your free, no-obligation garden survey.

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