University of Florida

How Weeds Spread

If you've ever had a serious weed problem, you know that weeds can seem to spread like wildfire. Understanding how they spread can help you manage weeds and prevent them from taking over.

Some weeds rely on the wind to carry their seeds from one place or another, while others benefit from birds or other animals. Weeds can also spread vegetatively by underground runners or tubers. In some cases, all that's needed is a tiny part of one plant to start a new one.

Humans also play a role in spreading weeds. We inadvertently bring weeds into our landscape when we buy contaminated plants or mulch. This is why it's worthwhile to buy mulch that has been sterilized and to inspect new plants to make sure that they're weed free.

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Tropical spiderwort
Theodore Webster, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org

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