A beautiful lawn is truly a piece of art that takes a lot of effort to achieve. After all the time you spent spreading seeds, watering, and mowing the grass in the heat of summer, you deserve a perfectly lush lawn without any problems. Weeds have other plans for your yard, unfortunately.
Even well-cared lawns get affected by common weeds. Seeds of many weeds are lighter, so they float in the wind, creeping weeds affect more area, and weeds you remove by pulling, quietly continue to grow sometimes. How well the lawn will handle the attack depends on the weeds involved, your response, and the overall health of your grass.
If you keep track of the time spent on your garden management, you would probably notice that you do an excessive amount of weeding. And while the first few weeks of removing these uninvited guests can prove mildly satisfying, the chore soon becomes tiring and time-consuming. Preventing and controlling their growth is so much better than spending hours on a wedding workout.
By following a few measures, you can control their growth in your lawn:
Preventing Weeds From Growing
While weeding is done throughout the year, it is best to do the practice in fall or early spring to get benefit from the growing season of grasses. A healthy, growing, thick turf doesn’t let the weeds emerge from the soil. In fact, a weed-infested lawn is a sign of nutrient imbalance or other problems of the soil.
For a weed-free nice, green lawn, first, focus on your grass’s health, then give it a few months to become strong and healthy before using any weedicide or herbicide. Grow grass only on the area which you can easily manage because a well managed small patch of healthy grass is way more attractive than a huge mess of thin, weedy lawn.
If you’re amending your soil, keep in mind that pre-mixed topsoil from landscape supply yards usually contains weed seeds, consider mixing your own soil amendments by using only the best ingredients. If you’re sowing new grass seed, buy high-quality seeds from a trusted source.
Don’t Disturb the Sleeping Seeds
Weed seeds are everywhere under your garden soil, but only the ones in the top few inches get enough light to germinate. Too many cultural practices like digging bring dormant weed seeds to the surface, where conditions are in their favor. Only dig when you need to and immediately fix the disturbed area with mulch or plants.
Remove the weeds by using a sharp knife with a narrow blade to cut through the roots to stop their food supply rather than digging them out and disturbing too much soil around and helping dormant seeds to grow.
Pulling through Hands
One of the oldest ways of removing weeds is by pulling them out through the stem, so they can’t grow again. Grab the weed plant as close to the roots as you can and pull it out completely. Over-seeding, after pulling up the weeds will fill in the empty spots, thus preventing weed growth.
Chop Their Heads Off
When it’s difficult to remove weeds, the next best thing you can do is cut their flower heads off. Deadheading of annual weeds buys you a few weeks before they start dispersing their seeds. The cutting back of perennial weeds, such as bindweed, reduces reseeding, thus depleting food reserves that result in limiting their spread.
Pruning loppers or a string trimmer with a blade can be used to chop off their heads. Cutting weeds heads before they reach the seeding phase will help keep them from spreading.
Block Their Light
Like any other plant, weeds need proper sunlight to grow, block their sunlight by using a material like mulch or straw. This allows your grass or vegetation to grow without competing with these undesirable plants.
Treatment through herbicides should be the last solution—when nothing else seems to work on a particular weed or when your lawn is completely infested. Follow the directions mentioned on the product carefully. Incorrect or overuse of herbicides can harm or kill the turf or desirable plants around.
Before buying any product, check if it’s safe for your turf variety and effective against the particular weeds, you’ve got in your lawn.
See the label for complete details of when, and in which conditions to use the herbicide. Some herbicides only perform within a specific range of temperatures; others only work when used at a particular time of year.
Some basic terms that appear on the label of product need to be understood before selecting the herbicide:
- Pre-emergent herbicides: These types of chemicals affect seed germination; they can’t control weeds after they have developed completely. They work as a preventive treatment on known weedy patches. These are applied during the dormant season of weeds.
- Post-emergent herbicides: These types kill growing weed plants. They work best when applied in the active growing season of weeds. This allows the chemical to be quickly absorbed by the roots where it is most effective.
Post-emergent herbicides work in two ways:
- Contact: Kills the vegetation they touch.
- Systemic: Absorbed by the plant and kills the whole plant.
- Selective herbicides: These chemicals target only specific types of plants by inhibiting specific enzymes or production of plant chemicals.
- Non-selective herbicides: This chemical kills any plant that comes in their contact. These are used particularly for spot-treatment.
- Total vegetation herbicides: These chemicals kill all plants and sterilize the ground for a certain time; they should be used very carefully.
Tips for their use
- Limit the traffic of humans and pets in the treated area until the chemical dries completely. The label should stipulate a re-entry interval such as 4, 12, 24, or 48 hours.
- Check the weather forecast before applying because rain-water can wash away the product. The product becomes waterproof in a couple of hours.
- The temperature range should be between 45 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the application of the chemical.
The best way to control weeds from your lawn is to grow a thick, vigorous lawn. Dense grass blocks the sunlight penetration that is necessary for weed seeds to germinate.
If weeds have only started appearing in your lawn, you can control them by changing your maintenance tactics. But any level of an infestation can be controlled by using various techniques and chemicals.