Local

Good Question: Where Do Weeds Come From?

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – If flowers are friends to homeowners, then weeds must be enemies.

The theory is that dandelions, chickweeds, thistle and Creeping Charlie steal water and sun from our precious bluegrass.

But how did Creeping Charlie and his buddies get here in the first place?

Roger Becker is a professor of agronomy and plant genetics at the University of Minnesota. And if weeds have a friend, he would be it.

“A lot of our weeds come from our family backgrounds. So in our case a lot of Europeans settled in this part of the country and they brought their weeds with them,” said Becker.

Centuries ago, when immigrants brought hay and other goods to America, weed seeds traveled along from Europe and Asia.

Creeping Charlie was even considered decorative at one point and planted on purpose. Other weeds got help from Mother Nature.

“Weeds are good at disseminating, meaning they move,” he said.

They can move by wind, water, and in the winter time weeds will blow across the snow and ice cover.

Because blue grass also isn’t native to Minnesota, weeds have no problem taking over if allowed. Most weeds are aggressive and can take over a lawn.

Becker said different weeds adapt to different habitats. And there is a weed for every occasion.

“I tell people that really get worried about weeds to just learn to embrace them because weeds are always going to be there. You can manage them, but you’re not going to get rid of them,” said Becker

Experts say there are really two ways to manage weeds: You can pull them out by hand, or you can use a treatment that involves the chemical 2, 4-D. If mixed with water correctly, 2,4-D will kill weeds but not grass.

If mixed incorrectly, you can kill your grass too.

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