Are weeds showing up on your lawn? There’s more to getting rid of them than just grabbing a bottle of herbicide. These tips will help you improve the quality of your turf to keep weeds out and create care strategies that will stop weeds for good.
A Healthy Lawn is a Weed Free Lawn
The best strategy for controlling weeds is improving your turf grass. Your soil will only support so much plant life. If it’s already covered in grass, there won’t be space for weeds to sprout.
Knowing the types of weeds on your property can help you find soil problems that are holding back your grass.
Wet soil: Chickweed, crabgrass, ground ivy, knotweed, sedge and spotted spurge
Dry soil: Nettle, Pigweed, sorrel, thistle, and yarrow
Compacted soil: Chickweed, dandelion, goosegrass, knotweed, mustard, nettle and plantain
Nutrient deficiencies: Clover, crabgrass, dandelion, fennel, oxeye daisy, plantain, Queen Anne’s lace, and ragweed
Acidic (sour, low pH) soil: Knotweed, plantain, oxeye daisy and sorrel
Alkaline (sweet, high pH) soil: Chicory, chickweed, Queen Anne’s lace, and spotted spurge
There are four ways you can increase grass density:
Overseed your lawn with warm-season grasses every three or four years. New plants fill in spaces around mature growth, increasing turf density through the summer.
Get a soil test. This will tell you what you need to add to your soil to bring nutrients and pH in line for optimum grass growth.
Eliminate soil compaction. Aerating breaks up already compacted soil, and changing how you use your lawn can reduce future compaction. Avoid driving vehicles or walking on your lawn during the peak of summer heat. If you need to walk through your lawn, put down a sidewalk or stone path so you don’t have to walk on the grass.
Keep thatch under control. Remove layers over ½ inch thick to help with drainage and improve both sunlight and oxygen exposure. When possible, mulch your grass. The clippings boost the microbe population in your lawn, which in turn increases their ability to digest thatch and bring nutrients back to the soil.
There are two types of herbicides: pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergent herbicides coat seeds to prevent them from sprouting. By mid-summer, most weeds are already sprouting on your lawn, so it’s too late to use these chemicals. However, by taking note of which weeds are showing up on your lawn, you can plan the herbicide application for next spring.
Most pre-emergent herbicides need to be applied when ground temperatures are above 60°F. This usually coincides with the first buds on trees and blooms on smaller plants. If you need to aerate or dethatch, do so before applying the herbicide. Doing either after the herbicide is applied can disturb the protective barrier, opening spaces for weeds to bloom.
Post-emergent herbicides are applied directly to the plant to kill it. These are sprayed onto the plant instead of applying them across the entire lawn. Most treatments work best when temperatures stay below 85°F.
Many weeds are closely related to turf grass, which means the same herbicides that kill these unwanted plants will also damage your lawn. To keep this from happening, the grass needs to be at its strongest. For most pre-emergent herbicides, the lawn needs to be mowed at least three times before application. Apply post-emergent herbicides at least a month or two mowings after grass starts germinating. After the application of any herbicide, it may take two to four months for the chemicals to dissipate to a point that newly overseeded grass can bloom.
Most weeds can be stopped by making a few small lawn care changes in combination with one or two herbicide applications. However, stopping crabgrass is a battle of attrition. These plants produce a lot of seeds, even when mowed as short as ¼ inch. It can take years of applying pre- and-post-emergent herbicides in combination with better turf care to eliminate these plants from your lawn.
Get the Equipment and Parts You Need to Maintain Your Lawn
Shank’s Lawn Equipment carries a wide range of outdoor equipment from popular brands including Woods, Scag, Exmark, Little Wonder, Troy-Bilt, and Echo. We have everything you need to get the best looking lawn including lawn sprayers, aerators, dethatchers, mowers and more. If you’re looking for new ways to improve your turf or need your current equipment serviced, visit our shop at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA.
We also ship OEM parts and accessories for everything we sell across the U.S. and Canada. To order, visit us online at www.shankslawn.com.