Part 2, Section 1: Pest Management
Weeds are grouped into three categories based on their life cycles. Annuals complete their life cycle within one year and reproduce from seed. Winter annuals germinate in the fall and complete their reproductive cycle in the spring or early summer. These weeds are more likely to be found in alfalfa, winter-sown grains, no-till crops, or pastures where the soil is not disturbed over the winter. Summer annuals germinate in the spring and set seed in late summer or fall. Summer annuals thrive when summer annual crops like corn or soybeans are grown. They compete directly with the crop for resources.
Biennials live during two growing seasons. The first year consists of vegetative growth, while the second year involves both vegetative and reproductive growth. Biennials also reproduce from seed. Because these weeds require two years to complete their life cycles, they are found in areas of low soil disturbance such as waterways, pastures, alfalfa, and fence rows.
Perennial plants live for more than two years. Reproduction can occur by seed production or vegetatively by structures such as rhizomes, tubers, bulbs, or budding roots. Although perennial weeds are most prevalent in areas of reduced soil disturbance, some are well adapted to row crops. Managing perennial weeds is generally more difficult because of their multiple reproductive systems.