Have trouble with weeds invading your lawn? While some strategies are risky while your grass is at peak growth, there are still ways you can deal with this problem. Here are some steps you can take now and in the future to get rid of weeds and keep them from coming back.
Weeds Don’t Grow if There’s No Space for Them
If you keep your grass healthy, it will outcompete weeds for space. However, even the healthiest grass thins out as it matures. Overseeding every three to four years kicks off new growth, filling these spaces.
Check the condition of your soil. A soil test will tell you which nutrients your soil lacks, as well as its pH. Heat stress makes it easy for nitrogen to burn your lawn, so it’s better to wait until the fall or spring to apply fertilizer.
Soil compaction encourages weed growth. Foot and vehicle traffic compress the soil, making it harder for roots to penetrate while removing space for the movement of water and air. Don’t drive on your lawn, and place stones or a walkway over areas you need to cross on foot. You can check compaction by pushing a screwdriver into the soil. If you can’t easily push it 6 inches into the ground, you need to aerate your lawn.
Excessive thatch also leads to weed growth. If the thatch layer is over ½ inch thick, it should be removed. Mulching your lawn increases microbe activity, which speeds up the breakdown of thatch.
Treating Your Lawn with Herbicides
Weed killers can be divided into two main categories. Pre-emergent herbicides prevent weeds from sprouting. Post-emergent herbicides kill weeds that are already growing. If you’re dealing with weeds now, you need post-emergent treatments. Take note of which weeds you have, so you can apply pre-emergent herbicides next spring.
Genetically, there isn’t much difference between grass and weeds, which means most herbicides kill both types of plants. To reduce the damage to your lawn, apply herbicides when the grass is at its strongest. Apply post-emergent products at least a month or two mowings after the grass starts germinating but before peak summer temperatures. These herbicides work best at temperatures below 85°F, and should only be applied directly to weeds. Pre-emergent herbicides should be applied after at least three mowings when ground temperatures are above 60°F. Always apply herbicides after aerating and dethatching. Disturbing the soil can bring weed seeds to the surface, allowing them to germinate.
Need Help with Your Lawn Care Equipment?
Whether you’re a lawn care professional or you take care of your own landscaping, Shank’s Lawn Equipment has everything you need for a beautiful lawn. We service and sell most major brands and types of outdoor equipment, including aerators, dethatchers, mowers, and trimmers. Our service department can keep your equipment running, and our massive parts warehouse has everything you need if you want to do the work yourself. Visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA or online at www.shankslawn.com. We ship parts and accessories across the United States and Canada.