Given that most vegetation tends to die during the winter, homeowners would expect weeds to experience the same fate. However, you may be surprised to learn that weeds survive harsh conditions. So, do weeds die in the winter?
Weeds don’t die in the winter. Of the 374,000 plant species worldwide, about 3% are weeds, each requiring varying needs to grow. Some weeds flourish during the winter, while others sprout in the summer. Summer weeds don’t die in cold temperatures. They stay dormant and germinate when the temperatures are warm again.
Do you expect winter temperatures to eliminate stubborn weeds in your lawn? Keep reading as we describe what happens to weeds during the winter and ways of managing them.
Do Weeds Die in Winter?
Although winter affects some weeds, it doesn’t kill them. Some weeds may get dormant during this period but sprout immediately after the warmth is back. Others simply flourish in the cold weather.
What month do weeds stop growing? The truth is that weeds don’t stop growing. Throughout the year, some types of weeds flourish at each point, including the winter.
There are three major types of weeds; annuals, biennials, and perennials, with varying lifespans. Below are descriptions of each.
Annuals live for a year and are the most common field weeds. Most of these weeds depend on seeds to reproduce and grow.
There are two types of annual weeds, summer and winter annuals. Summer annuals sprout during the spring and die at the end of autumn.
Winter annuals germinate at the start of autumn and die at the end of the following summer. Winter annuals are guaranteed to be on your lawn during winter.
Annual weeds produce many seeds that germinate even years after the plants die. These seeds stay dormant, buried under the soil, until they get all necessities for germination; moisture, light, and warmth.
Biennial weeds have a two-year lifespan. During the first year, these weeds germinate and sprout to form a cluster of leaves with a radial pattern. They mature and develop flower stalks, seeds, and flowers in the second year of development and finally die.
So, do weeds die in the winter? The answer is that Biennial weeds may be on your lawn for one winter and miss the next.
Perennials live for more than three years. These weeds don’t entirely depend on seeds to reproduce. They could sprout from creeping stems and underground rhizomes. They can grow from the same root system yearly.
Hand pruning isn’t advised when weeding perennials. These plants only die from systemic and intense weed killers.
Do Weeds Grow in Winter?
Some weeds grow during the winter. Wintergrass and broadleaf weeds are the leading weed types that flourish during winter. Below are descriptions of each and ways of handling them.
Winter grass is a persistent annual weed native to Southern Australia. This clamping weed grows fast and will turn your yard into a mess in no time. Aside from the not-so-pretty, noticeable seed heads, it has a coarse texture and an ugly light green color.
Each Wintergrass plant produces about twenty to a hundred seeds during the winter season. All these seeds wait in the soil and sprout at the start of the following winter, meaning you’ll have to deal with a ridiculous amount of weeds in your lawn.
Dealing with Winter grass weeds is tricky, as they germinate at different times. Most seeds germinate at the start of winter, while others stay dormant and sprout in the coming winters. You need to monitor their growth over two to three years. For effective management, plan in advance and apply different approaches.
Winter grass weeds die from a chemical known as Propyzamide. This ingredient reduces their ability to produce seeds and kills the sprouts while they are still young. Always confirm the weed-killer components before buying for effective results.
Broadleaf weeds are one of the peskiest, as they germinate and grow throughout the year. They have broad leaves that spread quickly on the ground in a rosette fashion and will dominate your yard if not noticed early. However, just like their counterparts, they are easy to manage when still young.
For those still wondering, “do weeds die in the winter?” You may be surprised to learn that several broadleaf weeds sprout and flourish during this period. Some broadleaf weeds that survive in the winter include:
- Creeping Oxalis
- Carrot weed
- Plantain weed
- Bindii eye
To kill broadleaf weeds, ensure your weed killer has the Bromoxynil chemical. Unlike most broadleaf herbicides, this ingredient will eliminate all the weeds and protect your lawn.
It’s advisable to spray broadleaf weeds when the ground is dry. For enhanced effectiveness, spray the weeds severally every three weeks till they all disappear.
Preventing Weed Growth
Below are ways to prevent weed growth in your lawn.
Proper Lawn Selection
Always confirm that your yard has no history of massive weed infestation, especially perennials like bermudagrass and nutsedge.
If you’ve no choice, you’ll need to hand weed the entire yard and deep-turn the soil. Break the soil about twelve inches deep using a tractor-mounted cultivator or hand fork and form a smooth seed bed. If you didn’t pull out all the vegetation before turning the soil, let the lawn sit for about two months for all plant material to decay. Make the seedbed afterward.
Prepare Your Lawn Properly
Prepare the lawn three months before planting. Removing all the stubbles and rocks allows all the weeds in the top two to three inches of soil to germinate and die due to light and poor cultivation.
Hand hoeing is the most effective non-chemical way to eradicate weeds if you have a small lawn. It’s also cheap, as all you’ll need is a hoe. Hoe the ground when the weeds are still young for the best results.
Dig the whole soil surface to a shallow depth, uprooting and removing all weeds. This allows the ground to dry sufficiently and discourages root reestablishment. Regular hand hoeing is ideal for difficult perennial weeds, which develop from any plant parts.
Mulching is the least time-consuming weed control technique. There are two types of mulches, organic and inorganic.
Organic mulches include leaves, tree bark, and straws. Apply these on weed-free soil before transplanting plants on the lawn. If you’ve already planted, consider applying the mulch before the weeds emerge. Dealing with weeds before sprouting is easier than afterward. Ensure you apply the mulch equally on the surface, so all weeds are covered.
Mulch material should be of small particles for enhanced effectiveness. It should also be about two to three inches thick above the soil surface to restrict light from reaching the weeds.
To prevent lawn harm, mulch material must be free of insects, weed seeds, diseases, and chemicals. Ensure the material is heavy enough to avoid being displaced by wind.
Inorganic or synthetic mulches are expensive compared to their organic counterparts. They are mostly made of black plastic. Light plastic is unfavorable, as it allows light penetration and promotes weed growth.
Apply inorganic mulch on the seedbed and punch holes for planting at desirable spacing. The spacing should range between two and four inches. Supply water to individual plants using under-plastic irrigation. Pull out notorious weeds like nutsedge that might shoot through the plastic.
So, Do Weeds Die in the Winter?
Weeds don’t die in the winter. While others flourish during this period, other weeds stay dormant and sprout after getting all the necessities for germination. Follow the tips in this article to prevent these pesky plants from taking over your lawn.
Hello! My name is Chris, and I am the founder of Yard Floor. When I was a toddler, my family had a lush green lawn. I was at the center of caring for and maintaining this lawn and even proceeded to take an associate’s Degree in landscaping. I am here to share my years of experience with you – be it repairing your mower/tractor or caring for your lawn.