Grow a Weed-free Garden

By Susan Littlefield

Weeds are the bane of just about every gardener. While insect and disease problems may wax and wane with pest populations cycles and the weather, just about everyone who gardens counts weeding among their regular chores. So some advice from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) on ways to reduce the number of weeds in the garden is welcome indeed.

In an article on their website, WSSA member Dr.Robert Norris explains how to deplete your weed seed "bank" by never letting annual weeds set seed. He notes that weeds seeds remain viable for quite a long time and sprout when conditions are right, so it may take several years to achieve a weed-free goal. But diligence pays off. Seeds of most annual weedy grasses die after two or three years, although some broadleaf weed seeds can last for decades. On average though, according to Norris, the bulk of your weed seed bank will be depleted in about five years if you keep new seeds from being added. His article also gives advice on dealing with troublesome perennial weeds.

The WSSA's mission is to foster awareness of weeds and their impact on managed and natural environments by providing science-based information to the public and policy makers and by promoting research, education, and outreach activities related to weeds. Check out their website's weed photo gallery, then test your skill with a weed ID quiz, or find out about harvesting edible weeds or how to use weed-and-feed herbicides responsibly.

To read Never Let 'Em Set Seed, go to: WSSA.

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