I love to garden. But weeds, along with deer, cause me great pain and toil. I hate weeds, but what exactly is a weed? Let’s turn to the law (I am a lawyer after all).
Pesticides are nationally regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). This law, like any good law, contains a list of definitions. Here:
“Pest. — The term ‘pest’ means any … weed.” FIFRA, Section 2(t).
“Weed. — The term ‘weed’ means any plant which grows where not wanted.” FIFRA, Section 2(cc).
And there we go, a weed is a plant where it’s not wanted and a weed is a pest. If you feel the need to further stress this point, you got a proclamation for the EPA Administrator no less to help out because the regulations declare:
“An organism is declared to be a pest under circumstances that make it deleterious to man or the environment, if it is: … Any plant growing where not wanted.” 40 C.F.R. 152.5(c).
So next time you’re debating with your friends or family about what exactly is a “weed,” you can use the law.
Left: The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer, July 10, 1920, page 12.
Right: Los Angeles Herald (Junior Section Magazine), July 18, 1909, page 1.