Grown Here at Home: Some weeds stay in the ground decades before they germinate

Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 9:39 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - “A weed is a plant that is growing in a place where you do not want it to be growing. A corn plant growing in a soybean field would be a weed,” Explained Shawn Askew, Virginia Tech professor and weed management expert.

Kinda makes you rethink weeds, doesn’t it?

“But we do have some players out there that are commonly associated with being weedy dandelion, crab grass, etc,” Shawn said.

Although their roots run deep, they always have ways of spreading far and wide.

Shawn says, “They can float in water, they can float on the wind, they can attach to the hair or on the body of animals and be moved great distances.”

And once they land, they won’t necessarily germinate immediately.

“The seed can survive in the soil for hundreds of years. So the fact that you’re tilling your garden today and you have a particular weed that you saw in your neighbors lawn last year, does not mean that that seed came from your neighbors lawn. That seed probably has been sitting there for 30 years just waiting for a disturbance that gives it the opportunity to then be stimulated to germinate,” explained Shawn.

That’s why it looks like weeds will be sticking around for quite some time.

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