Now that the lawn growing season is in its prime, the proliferation of those pesky weeds are also developing at a rapid rate. They’re the scourge of homeowners everywhere because they almost seem to appear out of nowhere. Most homeowners can only dream about a weed free lawn like those that are seen at championship golf courses. In fact, when you consider how tenacious these pesky invaders are with just one dandelion plant making up to 15,000 seeds, it’s a wonder that any of us can win the battle. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to eliminate weeds in your yard.
How you attack the intruders will depend upon which weeds you have in your lawn since no single product, weeding technique or lawn care can work against of all of them at one time. Weeds that show up in the lawn fall under three broad categories.
- Unwanted grasses like crabgrass
- Grass-like plants (sedges like nut-sedge)
- Broadleaf plants like dandelion.
Some of the weeds are annuals that complete their life cycle in one season and these weeds will reproduce from seeds. The perennials can live for several years while spreading underground and more difficult to control and eradicate.
Proper Lawn Care:
When you have a lawn that is stressed, it’s a prime target for weeds to take over, so proper lawn care is the best defense you can have against weed infestations. By taking a few simple steps like giving your lawn a deep watering infrequently, you help your lawn to compete for deeper root growth.
Each grass type has an ideal cutting height for good health and strong growth, but for weed control set your lawn mower higher, usually one of the two highest settings. This higher cut helps the grass to grow thick to shade out weeds and their seeds, which makes it harder for them to grow. Proper lawn feeding is essential to help your lawn thicken up.
A lawn fertilizer, like Scotts® Turf Builder® Lawn Food, aids the grass by filling in bare spots where weeds might grow and makes the area less welcoming to them. Longer grass also helps to prevent weeds by keeping it cooler and retarding weed seed germination. If you don’t know what type of grass you have, stop by a lawn care center with a sample to find out. Another strategy is to mow your grass when it needs it. Depending on the weather conditions in your region and the season, you might be mowing every week or two, then again, it can be every four or five days.
Prevention and Treatment:
Using a herbicide should your last resort, but this may be required when you have tried everything else and nothing works on a particular weed or your lawn is taken over by the invasion. If you use a herbicide, read the label carefully for your lawn type, the weeds you’ve got and when it works within a certain temperature range. According to This Old House, herbicides fall into three major categories: click here.
Preemergence herbicides: These products kill germinating seeds before seedlings break through the soil with crabgrass being a primary target. Preemergence herbicides are generally synthetic, but there are natural, nontoxic Preemergence herbicides made from corn gluten that are safer.
Postemergence herbicides: These products kill existing weeds that are actively growing. These herbicides come in two types, contact and systemic. Contact herbicides will kill only the part of the plant they touch while systemic herbicides circulate inside the plant and kill the whole thing.
Most broadleaf herbicides are systemic and selective to kill broadleaf weeds only, but they will not kill weedy grasses. Glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in Roundup and similar products, is a systemic, nonselective herbicide that kills broadleaf weeds and weedy grasses. However, it also kills turf and other desirable plants, so it should only be used when you want to kill an entire section of lawn and replant it.
Weed-and-feed: These productscombine fertilizer and herbicides that will do two jobs at once, but the labor saving promises might backfire if the recommended time for weed control doesn’t coincide with the best time for fertilizing.
Whichever herbicide you decide to use in the war against weeds, follow the label directions carefully to get the best results and address the causes of the weeds to prevent new ones from growing. Take care of your lawn and apply herbicides only when needed if other methods have not provided the desired results.
Need some more help with keeping those pesky weeds away for good and answering any of your lawn care questions? Contact Us today and we’ll be happy to help!