You do your best to create a lush, green lawn but those pesky weeds keep getting in the way. We’ll help explain why weeds grow so fast and what you can do to ensure your grass is as healthy as possible.
Why do weeds grow faster than grass: Grass grows slower than weeds because it needs constant watering, more sunlight, and fresh nutrients. Weeds will take over any bare patch in your yard, either through an established root structure or from seeds in the wind. To prevent weeds from growing too fast, set up a sprinkler system, regularly fertilize, and fill in any bare patches with new grass as soon as possible.
How fast can weeds grow compared to grass?
Weeds can grow just about anywhere, while grass needs more attuned conditions. Whenever there is a thin or bare patch of dirt in your grass, weeds will take advantage and start to grow.
While grass needs the perfect conditions in regard to soil, water, and nutrients, weeds are more adaptable and grow anywhere there is a bit of soil, no matter what condition it is in.
What causes weeds to grow faster than grass
Your grass variety isn’t native
There are many types of grass seed to choose from, which is nice as you can tailor it to your specific needs. For example, you can choose a thicker grass if you have kids that play on it, or a drought-tolerant grass if you don’t want to constantly water it.
However, if you choose a grass that isn’t native to your region, it can grow a lot slower than the plants around it. Your grass will still grow, regardless of where it is native, but it will take longer to adapt to the soil, temperature, and water conditions.
In contrast, weeds are almost always native to the area. They are transplanted by the wind and adapt to the current conditions.
Weeds grow best in the conditions they find themselves in. So, no matter what type of soil you have, or how often it rains, weeds will love the specific conditions.
Like most plants, weeds have a root structure that grows underground. Just because you dig up part of a weed, doesn’t mean you have killed the entire plant.
Weeds with complex root structures will spread out underground and pop up anywhere there is thin grass. The grass, in turn, will take too much time to grow thicker, thus giving your weeds plenty of opportunity to grow.
Weeds may seem like they are always in your lawn, but one particular plant may have a very short lifespan. They can’t waste any time, so they grow, flower, and die in a very short window.
In contrast, the grass is here to stay. It takes its time to establish itself and slowly grows and fills itself in.
The goal of all plants is to propagate and weeds are no different. They need to grow and get to the seed stage as fast as possible so they can continue to exist.
As mentioned above, weeds want to grow and produce seeds. These seeds are light and designed to be carried by the wind to their next growing area.
The seeds are plentiful in weeds and the tiny pieces will easily find any bit of bare land to alight on. Then, they burrow quickly and begin the growing process all over again.
How to prevent weeds from growing fast
Seeds will find any piece of bare land and make their home there. You may notice that you have a weed patch on just one part of your lawn, and this is an area that regularly has dirt showing through.
If you can cover that area with new grass, then it will stop the growth and spread of weeds. Overseed by adding fresh soil and grass seed to create a thicker lawn with no bare spots.
Add more sunlight
Grass needs sunlight to grow but there are plenty of weeds that prefer shade. Try to help your grass grow stronger, which will eliminate weeds, by giving your yard more sunlight.
Even if you have mature trees on your property, you can thin them out a bit to allow more light to filter through them. If you have a lot of weeds in a very shady area, you might want to consider changing your garden so it won’t attract weeds that place.
Don’t cut the grass too short
It’s common to want to cut your grass as short as possible so that you can go longer between mowing sessions. However, this is actually quite detrimental to your grass.
Longer grass provides more shade to the ground, so the soil won’t dry out. This is more favorable to allowing grass to grow, which will prevent weeds from taking root.
Whenever possible, install an automatic sprinkler system for your grass. This will help maintain a regular watering schedule so your grass doesn’t dry out.
If the soil is too dry, the grass won’t grow as much, leading to bare patches for weeds to take over. More water may be the solution to preventing or at least slowing the growth of weeds.
At a minimum, you should be adding a high-nitrogen fertilizer to your grass twice a year. This will keep the soil nutritious and lead to better growth of your grass.
Try to leave grass clippings on your grass as these will also provide nutrients to the soil. And, in the fall, instead of raking up all the leaves under a tree, leave some on the ground and mulch them into small pieces.
Why do weeds grow fast despite regular weeding?
Weeds are pernicious. They flower and produce seeds at an extremely fast pace so they are always ready to grow where there is space.
Grass will grow thick if you give it enough nutrients, water, and sunlight. In contrast, weeds are able to grow in the most inhospitable environments. Keep your grass healthy and don’t let there be any bare patches of soil to prevent weeds from growing faster than your grass.