Springtime means many things—warmer weather, switching from clunky boots to sandals, picnics and baseball—but it also signifies the start of many weeks of arduous work toward the ultimate goal of creating a lush, beautiful turf. Unfortunately, waiting underground, ready to ruin that flawlessly manicured landscape, are mean green aliens—otherwise known as weeds. Cutting, spraying and mowing seems to temporarily keep them at bay, but eventually they rear their ugly head again. Can weeds really be tamed?
The question should really be—do you really want to tame your weeds? The wise A.A. Milne, author of the famed Winnie the Pooh classic series, once wrote, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them." Even Ralph Waldo Emerson penned the thought, "What is a weed? It is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."
A Weed is a Weed is a Weed?
Beautiful prose aside, experts such as Barbara J. Bromley, the Mercer County horticulturist in Lawrence, actually agree with the writers much of the time.
"Weeds are really just plants growing where you don't want them to grow," she says. "Even a tomato plant growing in a corn field is considered a weed. It's just that weeds that homeowners associations' find objectionable—like dandelions - are going to be a problem to them."
Associations may have to deal with many kinds of tough, stubborn weeds germinating on their property—with crabgrass and dandelions leading the pack—but even with their budding virtues, most lawn caregivers do not want to get to know the interlopers. Instead, they want speedy solutions for elimination.