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 Weed Wisdom Lore Learning and Guidance from Weeds of Many Types

© Donald Reinhardt, September 10, 2011 

 You might think that weeds are useless, annoying, bothersome, aggravating plants. They are. Weeds usually are covered by all of these descriptive adjectives and possibly many more. But anyone can learn to deal, control, learn and be taught by weeds. Yes, be taught by weeds in ways that you might never imagine.Weeds exist almost everywhere on this planet as both easily-seen plants and small, unsuspicious or hidden types of vegetation. Weeds are essentially undesired or unwanted plants – photosynthetic outcasts or intruders. Some weeds actually are cultivated and spread intentionally by gardeners who like certain types or kinds of weedy flowers or foliage. Some weeds are quite attractive, but never so when they appear on a beautiful lawn or amidst carefully-cultivated garden flowers.  

 Recently, I made the regular daily tour of the front yard to hand pick out weeds before they carried out their all-important flowering and seed-forming ventures. And I have a picture here of a few pounds of weeds that were culled from the yard in an hour or so of venturing there to capture and contain them by hand-to-hand combat. I carefully removed the weeds and transported those vegetative intruders to the concrete drive and soon thereafter those weeds went into a disposal bag that was sealed tightly to prevent their escape.
What weeds were in the front yard? There was spurge, nut sedge and another sedge species and much common wild Bermuda grass amidst the Centipede grass lawn. In fact, the common Bermuda grass had grown under the Centipede grass by those strong wild Bermuda grass invasive roots and stolons and  then overgrown atop the soil much of that prized Centipede grass. Thus, the common Bermuda grass literally was stealing the water from below the Centipede grass and was choking it out from above on the lawn's surface. Bermuda grass can be a noxious and choking weed of gardens and lawns. So, as I labored this summer and into approaching Fall season I thought about weeds and their importance and determined that weeds can teach us all very well with many valuable lessons. Here are some lessons and wisdom of the weeds, from the weeds and by the weeds. You might want to pay attention and benefit or learn from them here, or you could learn the hard way with  your face and hands pressed to the ground and listen for hours as they speak these words to you. 

Seven Lessons Weeds Teach to Those Who Will Listen and Learn as Weeds Speak Out 

Weeds instruct us with these words and ideas:

Our being weeds and being small and nondescript sometimes is a most useful feature to hide and go unnoticed. But sometimes we are simply large and in your face so to speak because we can be bold in that way, especially if you ignore us year after year. So, you must always look carefully to find us, especially when we have just germinated or started growing. We often are tender and slight before we become larger and stronger. Catch us early and often and you will surely catch us just right. Remember our roots and leaves must both be pulled out as one whole plant – for if that not be the case, we often will come back and say "Hello" and greet you once again.
Your love or hatred of us as weeds does not matter because we weeds enjoy living and reproducing and we usually reproduce abundantly. And it is rightly and simply in our genes to do what we are doing. We most often reproduce by seeds and preventing reseeding is very important. Some of us are annual weeds and if we do not reseed we will not be around next year. Some of us are perennials and we will pop back even if we do not reseed.

We weeds have so many different types and kinds and we are deceptive and can appear sometimes as useful seeded plants only to turn into something else. Sorry, that was your problem – not ours as weeds – because you intelligent people have real brains and a nervous system and we weeds do not.

We weeds definitely cost you money, time and effort. We often cause you to think, plan, work, exercise and as weeds we may well contribute to your health by activating your brain and your body to tend to us. Of course, you can get real sick of us, with us and by us if you permit yourself to bake in the full sun for many minutes or hours, don’t drink lots of water, become dehydrated, dizzy and get all frustrated and anxious about our being here as just plain, ordinary, unintelligent weeds. Remember we are always just that – plain and simple weeds. On the other hand, you can always hire and pay someone else to try to get rid of us and that also means weeds actually stimulate the whole economy and business world for lawn services in our own unique way.

If you take some time you can get to know more about us as weeds. We all have unique  weed personalities and characteristics and some of us weeds actually do have specific likes and dislikes and even requirements.

You can spray us or scatter granules of poison us and treat us with disrespect or even open hatred, but some of us weeds and our seeds will likely go untouched, or be resistant, or somewhat magically survive to come back to greet you again within days, weeks, months or years.

We have friends who really like us for food, did you know that? Yes, those birds of all sorts and kinds eat us as salad weeds and seeds and these avian friends deposit droppings which fertilize and spread our seeds hither and yon to places neither you nor we ever dreamed we would be.  Worms even carry our seeds from here to there as they go about their burrowing business. You see, we have friends on land and in the air. And, when it rains, those heavenly, watery drops cause our seeds to jump and spring from here to there. And water drops turn into mini-streams and rivulets which flow atop the soil to move all those seeds about. Sooner or later, those tiny seeds will cause someone to shout or pout when we once again begin to sprout right there – where no one ever thought we would be.

As simple weeds what advice can we give to those who fret and squirm? Well, just do what you must and can, and based on what we have said here, please, do listen and learn.
Plant Definitions for Annuals and Perennials
Annuals are plants that grow and flower during a single season and produce seeds which germinate in the next growing season to produce mature plants. Annuals typically die with weeks or months of forming the seeds and do not overwinter. Examples of weed annuals: chickweed, crab grass, knotweed, mallow, common nettle, pigweed, purslane (some species), common sorrel, speedwell, spurge. 
Perennials are plants that grow up year after year for many years from underground roots, stems, bulbs, tubers or similar underground plant structures. Perennials also form seeds and can reproduce and spread by this means also. Examples of weed perennials: common Bermuda grass, creeping Charlie, goldenrod, ground ivy, kudzu, poison ivy, wood sorrel, yellow sedge.
Weeds – An Important Editorial Note:
In warmer climates some annuals will survive winter and may be listed as perennials because the underground stems, tubers, runners, rhizomes or roots may survive milder "winter" conditions. So, every "climate zone" will have plants listed as annuals or perennials depending on the zone. Therefore, the annual and perennial weed lists above represent a typical, general picture of annual and perennial plants. It is important when weeding to remove the entire undersurface root system as well as the stem and leaves, and to bag, seal and carefully discard these extracted weeds.  
Photo Below of Sedge, a tough, grass-like weed removed from the author's front yard. Note flower head buds and abundant root system. Photo Credit: Donald Reinhardt