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Facebook Premiere: Weeding Your Garden

June 14, 2022 

Dr. Marty Williams, ecologist at the USDA-ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit and Dave Horvath, research plant pathologist at the Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit share tips and best practices for removing weeds from your garden and lawn and the importance of understanding a weed's life cycle.

Q. Can you help with more solutions for homes (and industries) that don't harm people, birds, animals, water, air, or earth. Also, what do you think about using micro clover for lawns?

A. Microclover is a great addition to most lawns. They provide a nice nitrogen source for the grass species. They also provide more flowers for pollinator health. They will make weed control a bit trickier though since they are a broadleaf plant, and thus will be susceptible to many herbicides that target things like dandelions.

Q. I like your opinion sir for we need to modify the definition of a weed for it defies the definition of mix cropping for it doesn't also say whether they're edible or not am from Ghana and grow plants for over 30 years now.

A. Correct, a weed is simply a plant out of place. Some weeds have specific uses, such as common milkweed is an important food for monarch butterflies, and some annual weeds in the US can be eaten as greens when they are young.

Q. What makes something a weed? Can they be beneficial? How should we think about weeds relative to native ecosystems, soil health, etc.?

A. Good questions. Weeds are defined by humans, and a plant that is a weed to one person may not be a weed to someone else. Even for management, we need to think about weeds as organisms in their environment. In fact, this can be helpful for the weeds we want to control, because we can look for their weaknesses

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