Do Weeds Die in Winter

Weed invasion in your flowerbed, vegetable garden, or lawn is nothing new to most gardeners. While manual and cultural practices like proper tilling, fertilization, and irrigation can be effective in controlling weeds, some gardeners opt to spray weed killer.

Battling weeds all-year-round can be tiring, but can weeds die in winter? The cold weather can help to reduce weed growth so the weeds tend to die, but before they die off the weeds leave their seeds in the soil ready to germinate in late summer or early fall. However, this isn’t a quick solution when it comes to weed removal.

You need to manage weeds by understanding the cycle of weeds and using the best tools in weed management together with lots of patience and action.

Weed growth is a natural process and fighting with nature is a losing battle. The best chance of succeeding is by taking precautions and understanding the lifecycle of the weeds in your flowerbed or garden.

Annual weeds complete have a complete lifecycle in a single growing season which can be during the summer or winter.

These weeds leave their seeds in the soil which means there’s already new growth even after their death. Seeds have a protective shell that makes them immune to spraying and with the right conditions like sunlight and the correct temperatures, they begin to germinate. So when winter ends and they’re exposed to the sun, the lifecycle of another batch of weeds begin.

Different weeds


Type of weed

When best to eradicate it

Corn speedwell

Winter annual

Use a pre-emergent in the fall and a post-emergent herbicide in the fall or early spring.


Winter annual

Herbicides in early spring

Common chickweed

Winter annual

Pre-emergent in the fall

Virginia pepperweed

Winter annual

Pre-emergent herbicide in late summer

Pre-emergency weed control

Using pre-emergent herbicides can help in disrupting the weeds lifecycle, especially for summer and winter annual seeds. The best time is to apply the weed killer during spring and a second application during summer to stop the germination of the seeds left in the soil.

Chemicals like benefin and dithiopyr work by leaving an herbicidal layer on the surface of the soil that prevents the seeds in the soil from reaching the necessary conditions for growth.

Weather timing

To achieve the best results, you should apply most weed killers during the dry season since the rain will wash away the herbicide from the surface you want to treat.

The rain will also dilute any residual effects of the herbicide which can make it ineffective. You should also factor in wind, especially if you’re using non-selective herbicides that kill all plants which include desirable vegetation.

Having windy conditions can carry the herbicide to other parts of your landscape killing vegetables and other wanted vegetation.

Timing considerations

The application of an herbicide should fit with your general landscaping timeline because some herbicides take a few days to kill weeds while others take longer.

Depending on where and why you need to remove the weeds, you also need to consider if you need to replant soon and the temperature concerns which means you need to apply the herbicide early.

You also need to know how long the weed killer you’re using takes to work and how long it will linger on your land because some herbicides leave a residual effect that can be toxic to plant for months.

How should a deal with weeds?

Several different ways will help you deal with weeds on your lawn, garden, or flowerbed.

The first thing you need to do is identify the weeds growing in your garden which will help you know how to attack them.

Identification is easier once the weeds mature although it’s more effective to control the weeds when they’re just starting to grow. You can pull some weeds out with these gloves from the ground while others have underground runners that reappear later.

Secondly, you should understand the biology of the weeds, whether they’re annual or perennial weeds.

Annual weeds have a single growing season depending on the season, winter or summer, while perennial have multiple growing seasons, but behave like the annual species. Perennial weeds are a bit difficult to control because they hold and store food and nodes for root and shoot growth.

The last step is to consider using herbicides and both pre- and post-herbicides are very useful in management control that will prevent annual winter weeds from growing.

Herbicides are mostly used in spring to control the annual summer grass and even winter annual weeds. However, not all herbicides are effective on all weeds, so you need to get the right herbicide. The most common weed killer for winter weeds is Isoxaben or atrazine.

Also read -> How to kill weeds in winter


Although you can’t in against weed growth because it’s part of nature, you can apply weed management methods to help control weeds.


What time of year is best to kill weeds?

Generally, early spring is the best time to apply your weed killer before the weed seeds start to germinate.

Do weeds come back every year?

Just like the plants you grow in your garden, weeds are either annual or perennial. It’s easier to kill annual weeds than perennial weeds.

Also read

Will Frost Damage Fresh Cut Grass?

How to Protect New Grass from Frost

What Should you put Under your Deck to Prevent Weeds from Growing

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