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Do Weeds Die in the Winter? Prevention & Tips

frozen weeds due to snow

Weeds are a nuisance on the lawn and in your garden. So, we can only hope that the winter kills them. But does it? And why do weeds come back every year? Several things impact whether or not a weed dies during the winter. Unfortunately, even if the winter does kill the weed, that doesn’t mean it won’t be replaced by two of its friends the following spring.

This article will explore which weeds are killed by winter weather and why. It will also provide you with some simple and helpful tips you can employ to try and prevent weeds from returning with the spring.

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All Winters are Not Equal, and Neither are Weeds

It’s worth mentioning that winter does not kill anything in some climates because the temperature does not drop. If a plant or weed dies in one of these climates, it has reached the natural end of that season’s life cycle.

However, winter typically means colder weather in many places in the world. But the question doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer; it’s both yes and no.

You probably have a mixture of annual and perennial plants in your garden, and weeds are no different. So, an annual weed will die off in the winter regardless of the temperature, and a perennial may survive the winter despite the temperature.

The problem with an annual weed dying in the fall or winter is that they will often leave seeds in the soil where they die. Then, the following year, you’re stuck with even more weeds than you had before.

In the case of a perennial weed, it may still drop seeds in the soil. In addition, it will pop its weedy head back up once warm weather returns, and the snow is gone.

frosted weeds
Image By: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay

Preventing Their Return

There are several ways that you can prevent weeds from returning. Where the weeds are will determine what method you want to use.

Manual Prevention

Suppose you’ve got a weed problem in your garden where you’re growing vegetables or other edible plants. In that case, you may not want to use chemicals. Some are safe to use, but many people would prefer to avoid using chemicals altogether on the things they plan on eating.

If this is the case, you will have to go the manual route—pulling weeds by hand. Unfortunately, this is not the most reliable method because many weeds have intense root systems that are not easy to get to.

The best way to increase the chances of pulling the weeds being effective is by adding mulch. A good layer of mulch will often help prevent new weeds from sprouting up easily.

Chemical Prevention

There are many weed killers out there. Some will target specific weeds, and others kill everything they touch, so it’s important you get the right one for your needs. For example, if you want to spray your lawn to prevent weeds the following year, you’ll want a killer that won’t harm your grass.

The other thing to keep in mind with weed killers is that some only kill the existing weed but don’t prevent future growth. In this case, we’re talking about preventing future growth. So, the type of killer you’re looking for will be labeled as a residual weed killer or something to that effect.

spraying on weeds
Image Credit: Dean Clarke, Shutterstock

Hiring Professionals

If you’d rather not spend the time pulling weeds and you don’t want to mess around with chemicals, hiring professionals is an option. There are companies out there trained to deal with different chemicals and know what to use for specific situations.

They will also have access to commercial-grade killers that may be effective for longer than something you can buy off the shelf as a regular consumer. This can get pricey, but it’s a great option to save you time and energy if you’ve got the budget.

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Closing Thoughts

Many different species of weeds will survive the average winter. The temperatures have to reach extreme lows to damage some of them. And if the cold temperature does kill the weed, it’s quite possible they will leave seeds and come back with a vengeance the following year.

Don’t rely on the winter to kill the weeds. Take matters into your own hands with either manual or chemical destruction of these pesky plants. If you’d prefer not to lift a finger, call in the professionals and let them take of it for you.

Featured Image Credit: NRay91, Pixabay


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