Weed With Lots Of Seeds

Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weed Seeds Michigan law regulates the sale, advertising, or transport of certain noxious weeds. Noxious weed seeds are generally considered to be serious » WSSA » Weeds » Articles on Garden Weeds » NEVER LET ‘EM SET SEED Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The

Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weed Seeds

Michigan law regulates the sale, advertising, or transport of certain noxious weeds. Noxious weed seeds are generally considered to be serious nuisances or economically detrimental and are divided into two categories. Prohibited noxious weed seed cannot be sold or transported in the state. Restricted noxious weed seeds are only permitted when strict limits on the percentage or number of such seeds found in any lot of seed are observed.

The various Acts and Regulations that pertain to the sale or transport of seed consisting of or containing noxious weeds are summarized below:

A complete list of the prohibited and restricted noxious weed seeds covered by Regulation 715 follows:

The number of restricted noxious weed seeds that may be found in any particular lot of seed is limited to 1 seed of any or all of the restricted noxious weed seeds to 2,000 seeds of the seed sold, offered, exposed, or transported for sale, except that for buckhorn and yellow rocket, the limit shall be 1 seed to 1,000 seeds of the seed sold, offered, exposed, or transported for sale.

If present in a lesser ratio, the seed consisting of or containing the restricted noxious weeds may be sold, provided that the name of the restricted noxious weed(s) must be named on the tag together with the number of the restricted weed seeds per pound, unless they are buckhorn or yellow rocket. If the restricted noxious weeds are either of these, they need not be shown on the tag unless they exceed 90 seeds per pound.

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» WSSA » Weeds » Articles on Garden Weeds » NEVER LET ‘EM SET SEED

Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The good news is that with a bit of dedicated effort, you can reduce the weeding you do year by year until your vegetable garden is virtually weed-free.

Have you ever wished you could grow vegetables without hours of weeding? If you are like most gardeners, I bet you have. The good news is that with a bit of dedicated effort, you can reduce the weeding you do year by year until your vegetable garden is virtually weed-free.

The key is to know a bit about something called the “weed seed bank” and how to manage it. Most people don’t realize that a weed can produce literally thousands – or even millions – of seeds per plant. Early in my career as a university professor, I conducted research to document the number of seeds coming from even a single weed plant. The accompanying chart shows the results were pretty stunning. And all those seeds fall to the ground and become part of a “seed bank” that fuels new weed growth.

The weed seed bank is central to the “never let ’em set seed” rationale. Seeds “in the bank” can remain viable for quite a long time and sprout when conditions are right. That means it will take several years for you to reach your weed-free goal.

How many years? The answer depends on the weed species growing in your garden. Seeds of most annual weedy grasses die after two or three years, but some broadleaf weed seeds can last for decades. On average, though, the bulk of your weed seed bank will be depleted in about five years if no additional seeds are added. That means diligence is the key. Never let one weed go to seed or you will be back to square one!

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What about seeds blown onto your garden or dropped there by birds? They shouldn’t be a big problem. The seeds for most weed species drop directly to the ground, close to the mother plant. There are only a few bad actors with windborne seed, such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) and groundsel (Senecio vulgaris). And it is rare for annual weed seeds to be spread by birds. It’s a bit of gardening lore that isn’t substantiated by fact.

To hasten the path to a weed-free garden, I recommend a two-pronged strategy: drive down the number of viable seeds in the soil and quickly intervene when those that remain sprout. I grow between 70% and 80% of the vegetables my wife and I eat, and I now spend almost no time weeding them. I have managed to drive down the seed bank using solarization, mulching, hoeing and hand pulling. In case you haven’t heard of solarization, it involves covering the soil with a clear plastic tarp for several weeks in the summer to heat the soil and kill weed seeds. It may sound farfetched, but it works.

While there is never a 100% guarantee in the natural world, if you follow a “never let ’em set seed” strategy, I can virtually guarantee that you will soon be doing a lot less weeding in future years.

This column is provided as a courtesy by the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA). The author Robert Norris is an avid gardener and a professor emeritus in the Plant Sciences at the University of California at Davis.

Examples of Weed Seed Production per Plant*
Weed name Seeds per plant Where the plant
was located
Barnyardgrass, Echinochloa crus-galli 750,000 Davis, CA
Purslane, Portulaca oleracea > 2,000,000 Davis, CA
Black nightshade, Solanum ptycanthum > 800,000 Rosemount, MN
Puncturevine, Tribulus terrestris > 100,000 Pullman, WA
Powell amaranth, Amaranthus powellii 268,000 Freeville, NY
Shepherd’s purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris 40,000 Sheffield, UK
Chickweed, Stellaria media 25,000 Rothamsted, UK
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* Data collected by various researchers around the globe.

A Note about Perennial Weeds

Most of the perennial weeds that plague perennial flower gardens and lawns need more than the “never let ’em set seed” rule for effective control. Many perennial weeds grow from underground roots or tubers – making the path to weed-free perennial gardening much tougher. Not only should you prevent seed production, but you need to control the roots and tubers, too. Frequent removal of the shoots of perennial weeds will eventually starve and kill the underground tissues. You’ll need to be especially persistent and use a variety of control methods to reach your goal. If necessary, this can also be achieved with the careful use of appropriate herbicides.