HOW TO HANDLE WEEDS IN YOU LAWN
AND PREVENTING THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE
Weeds, the unwelcomed guest that can invade almost any landscape. They can make beautiful lawns and planter beds ugly eyesores that really cause annoyance. So how can you tackle these invaders or even better yet prevent them from getting a foothold.
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE WEEDS
There are pre-existing conditions that can allow weeds to set it even in well-maintained lawns. This includes weed seeds and portions of weed plants that were dormant in soil prior to planting a lawn or a neighbor with a bounty of weeds in their yard that can find their way to yours. If this occurs, then you may end up having to tackle the weeds after they have set in your lawn.
You will have four methods to get rid of weeds in your lawn.
- If you only have a few weeds of the less serious kind just changing your maintenance methods may be do the trick. An example would be if you have a St Augustine lawn and improved how the lawn was treated it may choke out the existing foreigners
- Hand-weeding is still the best defense on small lawns where the number of weeds isn't overwhelming. It's most effective against annual broadleaf weeds. Pulling them while they're young—before they flower and seed—is the simplest way to prevent them from spreading. Yank the entire plant, including the root—any root pieces left underground will grow new plants. If new sprouts grow, pull them repeatedly to eventually starve and kill the weed. Weeding is easiest when the soil is moist.
- You can use a good herbicide that is designed to kill the weed and not your lawn. Use herbicides as a last resort—when nothing else works on a weed or when your lawn is completely overrun. And follow directions carefully. Used incorrectly, herbicides can injure or kill turf and other desirable plants.
If you use an herbicide, choose one that's labeled as safe for the type of turf you're growing and effective against the weeds you've got. The label states when and in which conditions to use the product. Some herbicides work only within a certain temperature range; others work only when applied at a specific time of year.
- The fourth method and the most drastic one is to start from scratch. That means using different procedures to kill of all the existing weeds that can grow from the soils. You of course will be losing whatever lawn you have with it. This can be the best and most fool-proof option of them all and require less maintenance down the road.
If you decide to go with this method, there are several ways to go about it. You can use herbicides or go with more natural means. The herbicides usually work a lot faster and are more certain of results, but some natural processes have been shown to work almost as effectively. If you go with the herbicide route you can do the following:
- Turn off your water and spray the area immediately. Don’t wait until all the plants die from lack of water. The reason you do this is that you want the weeds still alive so the herbicide can set in and kill the plant down to the root and not let nature keep it alive with further watering.
- After this you let the everything die off. If something still seems alive you reapply herbicide to that area.
- Once everything seems dead you remove all the material. You can rent a sod cutter to make this WAY faster – it’s worth it. Dispose of all the material and clean up the area well removing all potential untouched seeds etc.
- Now you will need to till and grade your lawn area and basically prepare it for a new lawn. You may have to remove more soils or add some.
- Then you will need to install or fix your irrigation. You need to make sure it has proper coverage. Then compact it an make it nice and flat.
- Then you start watering the dirt. What you are doing is getting all the seeds and other root material that has not already germinated to grow.
- Once any new shoots have grown you kill those off, let them die off an remove them. You repeat this process as many times as necessary until there is no further growth of any kind.
- The plant your new lawn.
Natural methods of weed elimination do exist and can be a healthier alternative to chemical treatments. We will cover that in a separate article.
PREVENTING NEW WEED GROWTH
A healthy lawn is the first line of defense in fighting weeds. Healthy lawns with proper watering and nutrients provide an organic environment that makes it hard for foreign invaders to take hold. This is same thing as human health. If the body is well taken care of and has a good nutritional balance it is harder for illness to set in.
There are several methods used to keep a lawn healthy and attractive including:
- Proper irrigation (good coverages and water schedules, not too little, not too much)
- Fertilizers (the best kind for the lawns and soil conditions)
- Proper Mowing
- Proper Lawn Planning (think about where lawns should go and should not go)
You should also use your own clean mover. If you used it to cut down a weedy lawn before thoroughly clean it before you use it on a new lawn. Don’t let your gardener use his. His mower can be contaminated with other yard weed seeds and then deposit them on your lawn.
In some cases, a barrier between your lawn and an area with weeds can help. Like a small low wall built between you and your neighbor with a weed infestation or even a row of shrubs.
Also, if you bring in soils and amendments from somewhere else make sure you know that the material is from a trusted source and not contaminated with weeds.
Using some of these tips in proper installation and care you can be the envy of the block with the best-looking lawn.