Lawn WeedsA lawn that stretches out all around you, making your home look like it is floating in a cool, inviting sea of green has long been a part of American culture. To that end, we spend hours raking, mowing, fertilizing and watering. And, unfortunately, we also have to spend time dealing with weeds that invade our lawns.
By definition, a weed is any plant that is growing where you don’t want it to grow. In your shrubbery border, grass may be a weed. In your flower garden, seedling maple trees are weeds. And in your lawn, lots of different plants are weeds. There is no single solution to lawn weeds. Since there are so many types of plants that can become lawn weeds, a simple solution is not available. Various weeds respond differently to weed control methods. Good lawn management is your best defense.
You can make the grass in your lawn healthy enough to out-compete most weeds with good management. This requires applying balanced fertilizers at the right times and in the correct amounts. You will also need to mow frequently, keep your mower blades sharp and allow the grass to stay around 3 inches long. If nature doesn’t provide adequate, timely water, you will have to do so. Following good management practices will result in a healthy lawn that can, by itself, control most varieties of weeds.
How many weeds constitute a problem is strictly up to you. Given the expense and ecological impact of routine use of general herbicides, serious consideration should be given to alternative plans of action. Many homeowners have begun to believe a little tolerance goes a long way. Look over the situation and learn a little bit about the life cycle of the specific weeds. Perennial weeds have a life of more than two years, though new seeds may be produced every year. Biennial weeds have a life of two years, generally storing up food reserves in the leaves and roots the first year and producing seed the second. Annual weeds germinate from seed, grow, flower, and produce seed in less than one year. If you only have a few weeds and they are ones that aren’t aggressive, you may spot treat with an herbicide or just pull them. If you are dealing with an annual weed such as crab grass or annual bluegrass, mow frequently to minimize seeding and use a pre- emergent herbicide. Learning about the weeds you are dealing with will enable you to be more specific.
Summary of Chemical Weed Control Methods for Home Lawns
These weeds are best controlled by selective postemergence herbicides.
Early fall is the best time to control winter annual (WA) and perennial weeds (P).
Spring is the best time for summer annual (A) weeds.
Black Medic (A)
Chickweed (A or P)
Creeping Charlie (P)
Mallow (A or P)
Use preemergent herbicides. Apply two or three weeks prior to expected germination of weed seeds. Some herbicides may injure fine fescues or bentgrasses. Most preemergent herbicides will harm newly seeded grasses.
Annual bluegrass (A, P)
These weeds can be controlled only with nonselective herbicides. Spot treat only because nonselective herbicides will also kill desirable plants and grass. Apply when weeds are actively growing.
Tall Fescue (P)
Creeping bentgrass (P)
Bachman’s Information Sheets
Bachman’s Weed and Feed
Bachman’s Crabgrass Preventer
Roundup RTU and Concentrates
Sprayers and Lawn Spreaders
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