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Why are weeds detrimental to crops?

dbarker says 2015-12-28 08:24:19 (CST)

They compete for nutrients, moisture, and sunlight.


3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2015-12-28 08:32:42 (CST)

They use moisture and nutrients that the crops need.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-12-28 12:26:56 (CST)

While it is true what was answered, weeds also can have positive effects. For example, bindweed can help preserve the soil moisture during very warm and dry times,. Weeds with taproots such as pigweed and dock stretching into deeper layers of the soil bring up nutrients , which can be incorporated into the top soil after these plants have been tilled in. A lot of weeds are edible, such as lambs quarter early in spring ( which by the way at that time we sell for up to $ 11 a pound) or purslane in June and should be considered a free addition to the crops making the farmer money.
There can be many benefits and we have to make smart choices.
I fight weeds , too, when they tend to smother my crops or hinder the harvest but as a farmer who grows vegetables organically I pick my fights selectively.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

dbarker says 2015-12-28 19:40:16 (CST)

I'll take your word for it Klaus.


3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2015-12-29 04:50:29 (CST)

Weeds are unplanned plants that grow in our crops. Crops are monoculture plants that we want. Some weeds are beneficial, as Klaus stated. Remember how American Indians planted the Three Sisters together... corn, squash and beans. Each one contributed to the growth and health of the other. There are other combinations. This concept can be applied with success to common weeds that sprout within our desired crops. Klaus is correct... as always :)

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2015-12-29 09:14:41 (CST)

Thank you, Nora. My wife said " Don't let it go to your head". By the way, as probably everybody knows amaranth and pigweed are plants from the same family, in fact I noticed that they cross-pollinate. Not only do our bees like the amaranth , but our horses and goats like to eat the seed heads of both plants. I think we haven't even begun yet to understand the potential of so-called weeds in our obsession with the few domesticated plants. And while the honing of marketing skills and hunting for higher yields demonstrably leads to collective stupidity (look what it does to commodity prices and the response of the typical row crop farmer- grow more of what there already is too much of) there is an entire world out there to be utilized in a diverse manner with low input costs and great rewards.
There's a good book titled " Backyard Foraging" by Ellen Zachos , subtitled " 65 Familiar Plants You didn't know you could eat". And I bet it just scratches the surface.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2015-12-29 12:20:17 (CST)

Weeds often can tell you what your soil is lacking. If your soil is missing a mineral or nutrient enough to impact your crops growth, often a weed that is better at scavenging or accumulating it will fill in the gaps. Newman Turner wrote about using weeds as green manure.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

JerryHicks says 2015-12-30 07:09:05 (CST)

Consume plant nutrients and moisture and crowd and shade the crops.

My grandpa used to call weeds a poor man's cover crop and there were years when that was all we had to plow under. Of course I've also heard that letting a field of weeds go to seed is like breaking a mirror; seven years bad luck, in that it was generally believed that it would take seven years cultivation to recover from the one crop of weed seeds. These are the kinds of things I wonder about on our farm, in eradicating weeds. I've read that some weed seeds can survive in the soil for over a hundred years. We use a lot of smother cropping, cover cropping and various types of cultivation but I sometimes think it's ultimately a losing battle. With this years rainfall it was so hard to get in the fields that the weeds were the only crop I had. Some of them did make good grazing.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2015-12-30 12:08:32 (CST)

I know an older farmer out in Eastern Colorado,that bales tumble weeds( RussianThistle) . In hard times and draught and he grinds and feed it to cattle .He claims they have a lot of protien and food value.

Weeds likes and burrs and goat heads though, I cannot see any commercial value in them.

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2016-01-03 23:53:32 (CST)

they compete for all the things that you want to grow, Some weeds have a higher protein content than what you are harvesting. The alfalfa plants would mix fire weed in with the alfalfa to raise the protein content of there cow feed. I read in a hay harvesters Magazine that somewhere like Wisconsin they were planting Leafy Spurge and harvesting it and mixing it with alfalfa to raise the protein content. here we have to spray or have a heard of goats to keep it down or hopefully get rid if it, goats will kill it, and they love it you might have to heard them for a few days, unless you have goat tight fences. cows can be trained to eat leafy spurge. We sprayed some with molasses and hot water 2 cups of Molasses and 5 gallon of hot water, forgot about that spot for 2 weeks, when we went to look it was all gone where we sprayed. Hope someone finds this useful. I had 200 head of goats they eat a big bunch of the spurge but every time they got scared we went looking for goats found some close to 50 miles away from here about 2 weeks after they left all the real young kids were gone and about 10-15 nannies, it was that way every time they runaway. sorry for the rant

3 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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