Why don’t we want weeds in our gardens?
Weeds tend to be unattractive, and they draw attention away from some of the more beautiful flowers in we desire in our gardens. This is the first explanation for why we want to pull the weeds from the ground or spray them with weed-killer. However, the most important reason to get rid of weeds is because they often use up all of the nutrients that the other plants need to survive.
How do we get rid of weeds?
In a perfect world, we would be able to pull weeds with little to no effort on our part. But after years and years of constantly being pulled out of the ground, many weeds have evolved to be more hardy and fit for survival.
It’s important to pull the whole root of the plant out because many of these weeds are creepers, which means they spread by extending their roots. Most of the time, creeping weeds also spread through seed, so it’s especially difficult to entirely get rid of them. In such a case, selective herbicides are the easiest solution, many of which target enzymes within specific plant cells. Enzyme activity in plants normally occurs in a controlled state of equilibrium, but when a herbicide targets an enzyme site it disrupts the sequence of complex chemical reactions. This disruption produces highly toxic compounds in the plant, poisoning and killing the weed.
Can you grow weeds unintentionally?
Here’s an interesting activity to try out at home, and it doesn’t require any special materials to make it work. All you’ll need is a few containers, water, and about a handful of two to four types of soil. If you have a garden, dig up a little bit of soil without getting in the way of any of your growing plants. Place this soil inside a container one might use to plant a small flower in. Repeat the process with soil from a few other locations; the side of a road and a home and garden shop are good places to start!
Once you have your containers of soil, place them in a window or similar area where they can get plenty of sun. Start watering your soil as you would if you’d planted a seed or flower in it. Within a few days or weeks, you might see a plant growing even though you never planted anything! This shows how weeds can grow without having to be planted because their seeds are often already in the soil. You can either discard your soil, or keep taking care of the plant to see what it looks like when it matures! If any of the soil types grew no plants at all, this means the soil has no weed seeds present, and would make a great choice to plant a flower or vegetable garden in the future!
Schmidt, Andrew. “Weeds With Blooms”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 7/28/17 from publicdomainpictures.net
“European Goldfinch”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 7/28/17 from commons.wikimedia.org
Hume, Greg. “Dandelion Flower”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 7/28/17 from commons.wikimedia.org
Ross, Merrill. “Two Years Underground Growth of Canada Thistle”. Released into the public domain. Uploaded on 7/28/17 from the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University