Weeds often seem to grow faster than desirable garden plants for the following reasons:
- Weeds typically sprout from existing root systems or seeds present in the soil. Dormant root systems have a lot of stored energy for fast growth when spring arrives.
- Dormant weeds present in your yard have already acclimated to the soil. Store-bought plants and seeds you sow yourself may grow more slowly as they adjust to soil conditions.
- Some weeds have very short life cycles, sometimes lasting only 5–6 weeks. They have to grow quickly to go from a seed to a flowering plant in just a few weeks.
- Weeds are often native plants that thrive in the local ecosystem, which helps them grow faster than desirable plants, which may be non-native.
All of these conditions give weeds a head start over the plants and grasses we cultivate. This is why it can sometimes seem like your lawn and garden is overrun by weeds overnight. Those pesky weeds can sprout quickly from existing roots and seeds, flourishing before garden plants have a chance to take hold.
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What Causes Weeds to Grow?
Like all plants, weeds need air, sunlight, water, and space to grow. However, many weeds are tolerant of extreme conditions.
Dormant weed seeds may also germinate earlier in the growing season than the seeds of desirable plants. As soon as temperatures rise to the minimum for plant growth, certain species of weeds sprout vigorously.
Cultivated plants and grasses may begin growing a bit later than weeds, leading to your desirable plants struggling to sprout in soil where weeds have already taken over. Those fast-sprouting weeds can block sunlight from reaching your new sprouts.
How Do Weeds Grow Without Water?
Weed species vary from region to region and are highly adapted to local climates. Because of this, weeds thrive, even in low-water regions.
For instance, yellow star-thistle grows well in regions with long dry periods because it is specifically adapted to this climate. Meanwhile, the plants and grass you’re trying to grow may be less drought-resistant, which could stunt their growth, even when they are properly cared for.
Simply put, weeds thrive without water because they’re adapted to it. The weeds in your region are usually present because they flourish there without any human cultivation. They’re ready for whatever the elements throw at them, so don’t count on nature to kill them.
How Quickly Can Weeds Grow?
Weeds can grow 2–3 inches in 24 hours, given the right set of circumstances. 2 inches may not sound like much, but when a cluster of crabgrass sends out blades of grass in every direction, a couple inches of growth on each blade turns a minor nuisance into a major weed.
Many weeds also have notoriously short life cycles. Chickweed completes its entire life cycle in 5-6 weeks, from germination to flowering, to seeding and dying. Because weeds have brief life cycles, it’s important to remain vigilant and take measures to kill weeds early with your weed killer of choice. If you take your eyes off your garden for a few weeks, the next time you look you might see clusters of flowering chickweed among your plants.
Can Weeds Grow Overnight?
In the right conditions, with a combination of rain and warm weather, weeds can grow 1–2 inches overnight. You really can go to bed with weeds seemingly under control and wake up to a crop of weeds taking over your garden and lawn.
The good news is, warm, wet weather is also great for most lawn grasses and desirable plants. If you battle the weeds back, your other plants should be able to take advantage of this perfect weather and grow strong enough to resist future weed takeovers.
Why Do Weeds Grow Faster than Grass?
We know the following about weeds:
- Weeds sprout earlier than some other plants and often have the benefit of established root systems.
- Weeds are highly adapted to their local region.
- Weeds can grow 1–3 inches in a day, given the right conditions.
These factors can account for the fact that weeds seem to be growing a lot faster than your grass. Weeds get a head start on growth, thrive in the local climate, and are capable of growing extremely quickly.
The good news is, your plants are capable of similar growth in ideal conditions (many lawn grasses can grow an inch or more in a day if given the proper set of circumstances). If you create a watering schedule that benefits your desired plants, they can compete with weeds. A healthy lawn and garden can even resist weed invasion because there are fewer places for weeds to sprout.
Why Do Weeds Growing So Fast?
Weeds grow quickly in our lawns and gardens because many species of weeds sprout from large underground roots that give them an energy boost in spring. Weeds also thrive because local weed species are adapted to their climate. Additionally, weeds have short lifespans, requiring them to progress from germination to flowering in very little time. Keep a close eye out. Weeds can grow extremely quickly, overtaking a yard or garden in a matter of days or weeks if not controlled early.