If you own a yard, lawn weed control is an essential service that you will have to deal with for a long time. This inevitable chore can be frustrating during the summer and winter, as the growth of weeds is at its peak at this time. Fortunately, there are many ways of clearing weeds from yards. If you take the required precautions lawn weed control will be a breeze and at times fun.
- Lawn Weed Control | Homeowners Guide
- What is a Weed?
- Why Do Weeds Infiltrate Your Lawn?
- Why Should You Remove Weeds from Your Lawn?
- Getting Rid of Weeds
- Using Lawn Weed Control Herbicides
- Understanding Grass Types
- Use a Natural Approach
- Using a Weed Burner (Weed Torch)
We hope that you will find the information that we have shared to be helpful.
Lawn Weed Control | Homeowners Guide
Weeds are common on lawns and can be frustrating to handle, as they are hardy and proliferate rapidly. Therefore, lawn care is a never-ending battle for homeowners, which most people often lose. However, with some helpful tips that we have elucidated herein, you can regain the advantage, take control of your yard, and put to be your consistent battle with hardy/ annoying weeds.
What is a Weed?
In landscaped of well-manicured flowerbeds or lawns, weeds are often very easy to spot during maintenance. They are a major nuisance for landowners and gardeners who take a lot of pride in their homes, gardens, or lawns. Weeds can also refer to any unwanted plant that creeps up on your lawn or anywhere in your home without much help. Most are harmless. However, some are invasive and try to take over properly maintained gardens or lawns.
While most weeds are unsightly, invasive, and unwanted, some people plant them intentionally. These, a majority of the time, bloom beautiful flowers and require little upkeep to groom or maintain, as they can thrive on their own.
Why Do Weeds Infiltrate Your Lawn?
Weeds can produce many seeds or seedlings, which they spread all over the lawn with the help of the wind or rain. Numerous attributes can contribute to the development and propagation of seeds/seedlings, key among them including:
- Not fertilizing lawns as required
- Employing inappropriate mowing practices
- Poorly irrigating the lawn
- Improper removal of some or all weeds on lawns or gardens
Overall, weeds tend to be harder than other grasses or plants are therefore able to withstand harsh environmental conditions better. Shade, foot traffic, and other physical or environmental disturbances can affect the growth of sensitive lawn plants, enabling hardy weed to infiltrate your lawn, compete for resources, and take over. Most people leave flowering weeds to thrive.
Even though some lawn weeds are seasonal and die off after some time, they produce large batches of seed, which germinate the next time your lawn has a favorable environment. Such weeds adapt quicker to their environments.
Why Should You Remove Weeds from Your Lawn?
Weeds seem harmless to most people. Their unappealing looks are often a concern, but ignored, leading to serious health effects on beneficial grasses or ornamental plants or lawns and gardens. However, even though weeds are hardy, they must compete for space, air, and water. Whenever they succeed, they hinder the growth of beneficial plants, leading to patchy loans and loss of finances. Some weeds can also lower the yield of crops if you leave them to grow unhindered in flowerbeds and gardens. Therefore, if you plant the best grass or flowers but fail to manage weeds, your efforts will always be futile.
Apart from hindering plant growth, some weeds can harbor a host of plant diseases, which are equally dangerous. If you have a flowerbed or garden, for instance, diseases and pests can be detrimental to surrounding plants. Thus, it is important to study and understand the weed-species that plague your lawn and remove them as recommended to protect beneficial plants in your lawn.
Finally, some weeds are toxic to pets and humans, so look out for them if you live in an area with such poisonous plants. Species such as Jimson weed and Devil's weed, appear harmless and beautiful (bright purple leaves) but are very toxic and can be deadly if consumed by pets and animals. Poison oak is another potentially dangerous yet common weed on lawns that induces severe allergic reactions on the body. Familiarize yourself with it, watch out for it on lawns, and clear them as directed to protect your pets or your family.
Getting Rid of Weeds
Having weed on your lawn can be a bother, as they are almost impossible to eradicate whenever they establish. A majority have seeds that germinate quickly or stay dormant in the soil long after the season is over. These germinate when the season is right, causing the same problem all over again. Therefore, what is the best technique for handling weeds on your lawn?
The key to controlling weeds on your lawn is maintaining a lush and healthy lawn. If you have a well-maintained lawn at home, the odds of having a severe lawn infestation is relatively low, as your grasses and plants can actively compete for the available resources. Herbicides and weed killers, although effective, are not suitable for routine lawn care - use them sparingly. If you can follow these guidelines, you will be able to control most weeds naturally:
Weed Out Your Lawn by Hand Throughout the Year - Most people wait until spring before they start tackling the weeds on their lawns - do not make the same mistake. You should remove weeds from your lawn by hand all year long to have better control of the annoying plants by stopping new sprouts from always ruining your lawn. Species such as sedges, spurge, Bermuda grass, creeping wood sorrel, and dandelions are safe to remove by hand, as they are non-toxic. Avoid pulling toxic or dangerous species such as poison ivy, poison sumac, or stinging nettles by hand, as you can do more harm than good.
Get Rid of Young Weeds: Always strive to uproot young weeds from your lawn or yard before seed production to ward of future growth or infestations. For best results, ensure that you pull out weeds by the roots. Breaking the stem will not offer long-term results and new and even hardier sprouts will form.
Water and Feed Lawns Regularly - During rainy seasons, most people do not water their lawns or gardens. Others have irrigation systems on timers, which they schedule to water their lawns occasionally - leading to overwatering. If you care about your lawn and want to get rid of weeds naturally, avoid such rookie mistakes. Instead of relying on the rain or using an irrigation system, water your lawn two to three times every week to control weed growth. Moreover, feed the lawn at regular intervals to promote faster and healthier growth, fill in the bare spots, and out-compete weeds - slowing their growth.
Retain Grass Clippings - after mowing lawns, most people quickly rake and dispose of or burn grass clippings. Do not make this rookie mistake, as grass clipping can fertilize your lawn naturally. Remove the clipping bag on your lawnmower and let the machine disperse clippings all over as you mow.
Use a Nitrogen-Based Fertilizer - nitrogen-based fertilizers are beneficial to grasses and leafy plants and can help people to control lawn weeds naturally.
Using Lawn Weed Control Herbicides
Most of the time, people with well-manicured lawns do not need herbicides or the best weed killers to eliminate weeds. However, this is not the case in some homes as weeds still find a way to creep into such lawns with disastrous results. To ease the overwhelming weed menace in your lawn without hiring a professional, try to tackle the problem from the source using a safe remedy.
To take care of broad-leafed weeds, it is best to use a spot killer in a spray bottle as they can isolate and kill individual weeds on contacts. Unfortunately, species such as quack grass are more resistant to typical broadleaf weed killers and therefore might need an additional remedy to clear. Non-selective herbicides are the most effective and therefore the best to use on lawns.
Organic herbicides are effective and safe remedies for getting rid of weeds from lawns without killing beneficial grasses or plants. They burn the cuticle - a waxy component of weed that stops water loss - killing them permanently. To apply herbicides, do not spray it haphazardly as some people often do. Dip a work glove in the formula and coat plants from the blade to base.
Furthermore, before using herbicides and weed killers, check the timing, and make sure that the weather is right. For the best results, apply herbicides on sunny days for two consecutive days (at least). Rain can dilute and therefore render the chemicals of herbicides ineffective, requiring frequent application.
To learn more about weed killers, we have an article on the different types of Weed Killers for Lawns, which you can check out. However, if you need chemical-free weed killers, you will love our article on Pet Safe Weed Killers.
Understanding Grass Types
Before you attempt any of the recommended methods for killing weeds, it is a good idea to know the type of grass that you are dealing with. Different grass types require different management approaches, which necessitated planning. For instance, if you have weak grass on your lawn, some herbicides might weaken them further or even kill them if there are incompatible. Therefore, be sure to read the instructions and make sure that your product of choice is the best for the type of grass that you are dealing with to prevent dead spots.
Use a Proper Mowing Technique
Did you know that your mowing technique, or how you mow your lawn, could influence the recurrence of frustrating weeds on your lawn irrespective of the grass type? This is 100% true. For example, whenever you mow the grass on your lawn too short, (which is common as it reduces the frequency of mowing), can weaken the grass on your lawn, increasing their susceptibility to weed infestations. Moreover, compared to other lawn grasses, Ryegrass is more susceptible to weed infestations, especially if you cut it too short. To gain better control, mow your lawn at the recommended height every time.
If you are a homeowner with a lawn that you want to keep in excellent shape, you should mow it at least once every 4-5 days to boost its outlook. By mowing it frequently, you will keep grass even and stifle the growth of weeds. While specification differs by lawn time, a rule of thumb is to maintain 2.5-3-inch tall grass on your lawn, especially during the summer as grass grows fastest during warm weather. Always use a sharp blade to minimize damage to your grass. Dull blades tend to crush or weaken the grass, which is a recipe for disaster. Finally, to avoid spreading weeds to other areas of the lawn, weed the most infested area fast as this prevents spreading seeds to other areas.
Use a Pre-Emergence Weed Preventer
Annual weeds can infest lawns year after year - typically during spring - making them a headache to deal with at home. If you have such a problem, the best way to reclaim your lawn from fast-growing species such as crabgrass is to use a preventer to treat your lawn. These prevent germination of new weedy grasses, controlling annual infestations naturally. The best time to apply preventers is in early spring between the first and third mowing.
Grassy annual weeds such as crabgrass often cluster together in specific areas of the lawn that favor their development (usually the warmest area). Areas near walkways and driveways seem to be most susceptive as pavers and asphalt commonly found in such areas heat the surrounding soil. Therefore, while applying the preventer, focus on such areas as they are more prone to having such weeds. Applying a preventer all over your lawn can be a tiresome and frustrating process especially if you have a lot of ground to cover.
Use a Natural Approach
If you do not know or are skeptical about the species of grass in your lawn, opt for a more natural lawn care method to get rid of annoying weeds. The best non-chemical weed killers do offer an effective yet safe solution to weed care as they work fast without damaging or compromising the health of your lawn.
Corn Gluten Meal
this nitrogen-rich by-product of processed corn is among the best natural weed control products on the market. By fertilizing the soil, it nourishes and enriches grass, enabling it to develop faster than weeds do. You also use it to mulch exposed areas and therefore inhibit weed growth further.
This product is common in most households where people use it for cooking. However, it doubles as a lawn treatment as well for getting rid of weeds. Do not use this product in isolated areas. Moreover, do not use it close to flowers or plants and always dampen the area you are treating before adding one teaspoon full of baking powder. Cover the entire foliage for best results.
This is another effective yet unknown remedy for weeds. If you do not like using the chemical-based remedies popular online, its natural formula delivers comparable results on most weed types. To get faster and long lasting results, use vinegar in early spring, preferable at the start of the growing season. This was, the DIY (do-it-yourself) remedy can kill budding weeds such as dandelions and stop them multiplying. Use distilled water to prepare the solution. Use a 1:5 ratio (vinegar to water) and spray bottle for best coverage.
Another great alternative for stopping weed infestation in sensitive areas such as gardens or flowerbeds is to use a protective barrier such as a shower curtain, tarp, or viscuin. You can also add a thick layer of mulch or gravel in the area to create another physical barrier for inhibiting the growth of weeds.
Using a Weed Burner (Weed Torch)
A weed burner, or a weed torch, is another common non-chemical method for clearing weeds from lawns. It is one of the most preferred as it is easy to use. Identify a weed and use the intense heat that it generates to kill permanently. The system also works well in hard to reach areas (including around garden crops) and can lower the mowing time of homeowners, which is a plus. Weed burners require a portable propane tank to work and can cover a large area.
This dependable and chemical-free weed killer is another famous remedy that works as well as traditional types. It does not use toxic chemicals or additives, making it safe for the environment, pets, and children. The only downside is that it does do work well in dry or forested areas and areas prone to fires.
While these products are effective, the best technique for managing weeds on lawns is by preventing their growth. Our guidelines can help you to adequately maintain your lawn and therefore prevent weeds from getting out of hand. Your lawn will thank you for such actions by looking green/ healthy.