Weeding In Winter: Why Are Plants Harder To Kill?


Weeding in winter is certainly not one of our favourite things to do, but it’s important to stay on top of our leafy invaders before spring returns.

We get it – it’s too cold, too dark and often just too hard. However weeds are notoriously resilient, and different weed types can dominate during the winter. Depending on where you reside in Australia, the way your weeds take root and grow over the cooler months can change dramatically when compared to their behavioral patterns in the summer. Weeding in winter is important to avoid invading plants getting too comfortable in your garden, especially when spring arrives.

Why are weeds harder to kill in winter?

Even in the subtropics and northern parts of the country, you may see morning temperatures that fall to single digits – however, all plants have natural mechanisms that protect them from harsh conditions. This also changes how weeds grow and react to weed kill applications.

During the cooler winter months, this involves certain types of plants moving into a “dormant” state, giving even weeds the ability to slow down and ultimately protect themselves against the elements. Even evergreen weeds have natural protective measures in place to assist with frost and rapid temperature drops.

There are even winter specific weeds that only pop up during the cooler months, and are already equipped to live in harsh conditions. Armed with this extra “ammunition”, this means that they can be even harder to eliminate or stay on top of.

Two main changes that you will come across is the slowing down of translocation – or movement of water and nutrients in the plants, and the hardening of the plant’s cell wall in order to limit damage to the leaf surface during colder temperatures. Both of these factors assist plants to survive in winter, however this applies to both your favourite leafy friends and weeds intent on invading your garden – which can make weeding in winter just that little bit more difficult.

Conventional Herbicides In Winter

When using a conventional herbicide to combat weeding in winter, most have a range that measures between 15-28 degrees celsius. When using this type of product during the cooler months, your weeding efforts may produce poor results – quite simply, they’re not designed to be used outside of these temperature parameters.

The increased strength and thickness of the plant’s cell wall means that it can be difficult for the plants to actually absorb the herbicide, and the lack of translocation will generally render the herbicide ineffective.

An Alternative For Weeding In Winter

An organic way to combat weeds during the winter time can be found via a product like Bioweed, known as a “healthy way to spray”. For example, Bioweed doesn’t need to translocate around the weed’s internal system like other conventional pesticides, so you may see radically different results.

Bioweed works by breaking down the waxy layer on the plant cuticle, which is what the cell wall is made up off – and is traditionally quite hard to access. While you may need additional applications compared to what you would in the summer, by covering all leaf surfaces of the weed – this organic solution can actually break down the cell wall that protects all plants during the cooler months.

Is Bioweed Right For Me?

If you are ready to make your garden chemical free and safer for your family, pets and even native wildlife – then we believe that Bioweed is indeed right for you. For application instructions and a comprehensive list on what weeds have been successfully eliminated with Bioweed, please refer to this list found on our website.