Weeds are common problems for all homeowners. Because of their wild features like being aggressive and invasive, they can take over your entire lawn in a short period of time. Weed seeds can stay under the ground in your garden for years. They wait for the right time to arise, and one morning you may notice that all those dandelions, chickweeds, crabgrass appear everywhere, already mature and ready to drop seeds. Don’t be frustrated. There are some effective ways to help prevent those obnoxious weeds from your growing on your lawn.
Some common weed types
The presence of certain weeds reveals possible problems relating to your lawn. To combat weeds, you should be able to identify them and understand how they grow to correct any problems that encourage weed invasion on your lawn.
Basically, there are three categories of lawn weeds: broadleaf, grassy, and grass-like. The dandelion is a typical broadleaf weed that has round-shaped leaves. Grassy weeds look like grass with long slender blades. Crabgrass belongs to this category. Some of these weeds can annoy you. Some others may be just a type of grass that some people like to grow in their garden, while other homeowners consider them weeds. Bermuda grass can be a weed when rising up among fescue turf grasses. Yellow nutsedge (often called nutgrass) is one of the most common grass-like weeds. It has a distinctive triangular-shaped stem and unique seed-head with helicopter-looking blades.
Also, a weed can be annual or perennial. Annual weeds have a life cycle that lasts only one growing season, while perennial weeds are capable of living two or more years.
Lawn weed prevention
Do not disturb the soil
The first rule is not to disturb the soil. Weed seeds are always hidden beneath the lawn, and they just wait for sunlight to be able to germinate. If you don’t wake them up by digging up the soil, then they will stay asleep for years and not pop up in your beautiful lawn.
So try to use manual cultivating instead of high-powered tillers. You can sow your desirable plants above the ground in bags of topsoil, shredded leaves, or mounds of compost.
Keep the weed seed away from the sunlight
Use synthetic sun-blocking or organic mulches to smother weed seeds. You can get organic mulches made from straw, cardboard, paper, or hardwood. It takes a few months for these mulches to decay. They will help improve the soil structure, add nutrients to the soil, and at the same time, keep weed seeds in the dark so that they cannot sprout.
The other type of mulch, synthetic ones, include landscaping fabric, paper, and plastic which can last for several seasons. However, they can’t help rebuild the soil when they degrade.
If the infected area is small, you’d better try to pull the entire weeds out. Otherwise, any part of the root or stem that remains in the soil will reproduce the new weeds. Or you can simply use weed killer to eliminate weeds before they produce seeds. Please ensure that you use an appropriate quantity of herbicide for your lawn because there are different types of best weed killers for lawns, and the proper quantity is also different.
Some herbicides only kill broadleaf weeds. Others only kill grassy ones. Non-selective weed killers kill everything they touch. You may take some samples of the weeds in your lawn to a local nursery for consulting. Pre-emergent herbicides are the best solution to apply in the spring to prevent weeds from germinating. The tricky part is most pre-emergent herbicides for weeds also kill grass seeds.
Therefore, you either can select those products which only impact weed seeds, or apply a non-selective herbicide and reseed when you are sure that there is no other choice. Remember, you need to wait at least four growing months after applying herbicide to plant the new grass seed.
The best remedy is proper lawn care
There is no better “weapon” against weeds than a thick, healthy lawn. You can keep your lawn lush and healthy with good cultural practices. Mowing with a push reel mower, watering, and fertilizing are the most basic activities of lawn care.
Mowing too little stresses the lawn and reduces its vigor. When mowing with self propelled mower, please remember the 1/3 rule (remove no more than 1/3 of the leaf blades) and do not cut in the same direction every time. Always keep the blades sharp. Recycle grass clippings by composting them instead of sending them to landfills.
Basically, lawns need one inch of water each week. Light, frequent watering will promote weeds to grow. So do not use your sprinkler every day but 2 to 3 times per week. Deep and infrequent irrigation are the best for lawns.
To enhance the growth and health of your lawn, you need to consider the type of fertilizer, timing, and how it is applied. First, take a soil test which will tell you all the data about your soil, like available nutrients, percentage of organic matter, and the soil pH. Based on the test results and professional advice, you can pick the most suitable fertilizer and soil treatment for your lawn. Use fertilizers with a slow nitrogen release rate. These are the most eco-friendly and recommended solutions.
Consider about the condition of soil
Listen to your weeds because they are excellent indicators of soil conditions. If you see dandelions, sorrel, mullein, wild pansy, and stinging nettle thriving in your garden, your soil is sour for sure. Then you can grow the plants that also like the condition of the soil to outgrow those weeds. In case you decide to balance the pH level, add enough compost to raise your soil’s pH from 6.5 to 6.8.
After reading this article, you can see that a proper lawn care schedule encourages healthy, deep rooting lawns that defeat any kinds of weeds. This solution is not only the most effective, but also economical, conserving resources and remaining friendly with the environment. So, let’s focus on the healthy maintenance practices to grow a vigorous lawn that can beat down any type of weed.