Field of Science

Do weeds grow faster?

Having just spent the 4th of July weekend trying to get caught up on my garden, a common gardening question that the Phactor has been asked many times comes to mind. Do weeds just seem to grow faster than other garden plants?

No, in general weeds really do grow faster than other garden plants. Here’s why.
Weeds are plants that are adapted to disturbed habitats. In nature disturbed habitats occur wherever something messes things up, and they can be small places like the disturbance of an uprooted fallen tree or big like after fire or storm damage. Such disturbed habitats are generally short-lived patches in unpredictable locations, so weeds are speed demons of growth and reproduction because they must reach reproductive maturity in a hurry and make lots of seeds so that some of their offspring have chance of dispersing to a newly disturbed place.

OK, here’s the bad news. Gardening and agriculture are disturbances. Human activities have provided weeds with opportunities for success on a massive scale. Doesn’t that just rub your rhubarb? The more you do the more disturbances you create. And since as a biological safety precaution against unforeseen weeding, weed seeds do not all germinate at once, and this weed seed bank in your soil is ready to replace all those weeds you worked so hard to remove.

Rather than be discouraged, the Phactor recommends you come to terms with weeds on a philosophical level. Such an attitude adjustment is greatly aided by sitting back and enjoying your garden with the help of a tall, cold mojito.


3 comments:

Arati said...

i'll be sure to revisit (especially to read the the last paragraph) when i see the pesky weeds i pulled out last weekend grow back!

Dr A said...

Action, Arati, action is what it takes! Drink that mojito! Damn the weeds!

Arati said...

lol! yes.

not with the home grown mint though coz it has to be separated from the weeds first! :)