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Rain makes weeds grow like weeds.

Weeding is not much fun. Some of us might enjoy the relaxing monotony of productive weeding. Realistically though, most of us would prefer to do something else in the garden. There is certainly plenty of other chores that need to be done now, after earlier rain, and before the weather gets significantly warmer. However, such weather is why it is important to start weeding earlier than later.

By definition, weeds are weeds, because they are unwanted. They get to be unwanted by dominating space and exploiting resources more aggressively than wanted plants. Some innately grow faster and more aggressively than most other plants. Some are innately prolific with seed. Some employ multiple tactics to gain unfair advantages. Weeding is how we help our gardens compete.

Weeds grow throughout the year. Most slow down through the dry warmth of summer, and many die off then. However, there are always some weeds growing somewhere. When they die off, it is only after they have dispersed seed for their next generation. Some generate a few generation annually. Some are perennial weeds, or even shrubs, vines and trees, which survive for many years.

Weeding is more of a concern now because the majority of weeds grow so much more aggressively after the earliest rain of winter. Warming weather later in winter accelerates their proliferation. This is the time of year that weeds start to crowd desirable plants. If weeding is delayed for too long, weeds eventually bloom and toss seed. Some weeds extend stolons to disperse vegetatively.

The good news is that the same rain that promotes the proliferation of weeds also facilitates weeding. Weeds are easier to pull while the soil is still damp than they will be as the soil dries later in spring and summer. Also, while weeds are still fresh and turgid, they are less likely to leave roots or stolons behind in the soil. They are more difficult to pull intact as they begin to deteriorate later.

Furthermore, weeding should be done before weeds bloom and disperse seed for subsequent generations. Some are sneaky and quick.

10 thoughts on “Weeding Earlier Rather Than Later

  1. I always weed thoroughly in the fall and again in the spring. It does help for the summer garden. I was weeding today in garden, which is looking pretty good. The Plot Against Hunger, though, which belonged to someone constitutionally against weeding before I adopted it, is going to need pretty constant weeding for a couple years before things get under control. I don’t mind weeding–it’s a nice activity and results in a great improvement!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is so much easier when it is brought under control and maintained that way. I left yellow oxalis to bloom in my front garden because a neighbor liked it. That was a serious mistake. I never got rid of it, and it spread to the entire neighborhood.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What is worse is that I have pulled certain weeds and canned them as if I intend to find homes for them. There is a maturing blue gum eucalyptus out there right now, and I just canned an ‘unwanted’ Monterey cypress last week!

        Liked by 1 person

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