If you hate garden weeds, plant a forsythia bush this spring. Forsythia? Okay, it’s true they only bloom for a few weeks each spring and are somewhat uninspiring the rest of the year. But a good-sized bush will only set you back around $20 and it buys a lot. Planting a forsythia bush now can reduce time weeding for years to come.
Here’s why: every spring, the golden buds of forsythia are part of nature’s early warning system. They’re a natural backyard “weed alert” signaling that the seeds of crabgrass and other early weeds will begin to germinate in a few weeks. This means it’s time to get outdoors to do two things: apply mulch and sprinkle pre-emergent on top of it to stop garden weeds, as seeds, before they start growing. This quick bit of prevention can mean significantly less weeding all season: a long-lasting pre-emergent like Preen stops weed seeds for three to four months. Weeds that never grow don’t have to be pulled.
As forsythias typically bloom for several weeks before early garden weeds germinate, this early alert gives gardeners ample time to get out in the yard to do preventive maintenance. And while the weed-fighting season begins with forsythia and crabgrass, it doesn’t end there. If you miss the early spring weed-stopping window, don’t think it’s too late. Different weeds continue to germinate at different times all season. Even crabgrass continues to germinate spring through fall, so long as conditions are favorable.
While the humble forsythia plays its role annually in spring, it’s only a reminder to get going. For best results in minimizing weeds over the long haul, develop an annual prevention routine that’s focused on seeds and spot action. Over time, the results can be quite pleasing: as fewer weeds come up each season there’s also less need for weeding.