Despite their esteemed place as a gift for mom, dandelions are a weed. We’ve all seen their familiar yellow covering lawns when they’re left uncontrolled.
What is a Weed?
Generally, a “weed” has one or more of the following characteristics:
1. Little or no recognized value (medicinal, material, nutritional)
2. Rapid growth and/or ease of germination
3. Competitive with crops for space, light, water and nutrients
Why Weeds Are Bad?
Weeds compete with crops for space, nutrients, water and light, turning productive land into unusable scrub. In your home garden, Onions are one of the most vulnerable because they are slow to germinate and produce slender, upright stems.
Weeds can also be poisonous, stick you with thorns and burrs, and can host pests and diseases that can spread to crops or livestock.
How Can You Get Rid Of Weeds?
Weed control plans are typically divided into 4 methods of control:
Biological: This consists of biological control agents, like the use of grazing animals, and weed seed predators, such as ground beetles and small vertebrates.
Chemical: Selective herbicides target and kill weeds while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed.
Cultural: Crop rotation is a way to avoid the use of herbicides, but gain the benefits by rotating in crops that kill weeds by choking them out.
Physical/mechanical: Remove weeds by pulling them out of the ground, making sure to include the roots that would allow them to resprout.
The definition of a weed depends on the context. To one person, a particular plant may represent a weed, but to other people, like the kid with a fistful of dandelions, it may be seen as a flower.