Everyone wants a weed free yard. Understanding where to start and setting realistic expectations is going to save you the frustration though as managing weeds in a lawn is an ongoing battle.
1.) Hand pulling weeds is going to help whenever you have established mature weeds already.
2.) Using a spot treatment is going to help on any weeds that are less mature or that are really hard to hand pull
3.) Preventing weeds is going to save you time on step 1 and 2, so be sure to apply your pre-emergent weed control religiously and using a broad post-emergent early is going to be more effective against less mature weeds.
We talk about attacking weeds in a bunch of ongoing mini-battles a lot here at Lawn Serv. We personally like to try to spend 5-10 minutes before mowing the lawn to walk the area, pick up sticks, and pull any mature weeds. After the mow take another 5-10 minutes pulling any mature weeds you saw while mowing while walking around with the spot treatment spraying anything too hard to pull.
After a few weeks of repeating that process you will have made a lot of great progress!
Crabgrass! Dandelions! Chickweed! Oh my! Without prevention and proper control, weeds can germinate and spread very quickly. The best way to prevent weeds in the first place is to grow a thick, healthy lawn, which will crowd out and block weeds and weed seeds from getting access to your lawn’s nutrients and even the sun. But, once weeds have taken hold, they can be difficult to rid from your yard. Luckily, though, there are a few relatively simple things you can do to prevent those pesky weeds from ruining your beautiful lawn. We’ve included our recommended approach–the weed-eliminating trilogy–below. Just remember, like lawn care in general, getting rid of weeds is a marathon, not a sprint!
As always, feel free to reach out with any questions–we’re here to help!
STEP 1: PULL, PULL, PULL!
Many types of weeds (like crabgrass, chickweed, etc.) can be hand-pulled relatively easily, so it’s definitely worth trying to make a dent manually. Earlier in the season is usually better, as the weed roots are still relatively shallow. Similarly, hand-pulling when the soil is moist is usually most effective.
STEP 2: SPOT, SPOT, SPOT!
Once you’ve taken a few passes through your yard hand-pulling as many weeds as you can, you may want to use a targeted spot treatment for weeds. These usually come in a spray bottle, or jug with a wand attached.
Spot treatment is usually most effective when you can target the center/base of the weed, as well as the major weed leaves. When applying spot treatment, it should not harm the lawn, but you should try to avoid overspraying your weeds anyway–you’ll use less product overall, and your grass will be under less stress!
STEP 3: PREVENT, PREVENT, PREVENT!
The Spring and Fall are key times for getting ahead of weed growth. Once weeds become more mature during the summer, your grass is often too stressed to be able to fight back! So, don’t forget your pre-emergent weed preventer in the Spring, and if you’re not planning to overseed in the Fall, you may choose to apply another round of pre-emergent.
But, don’t forget that growing a healthy lawn is the best prevention there is! So, don’t forget to mow a little higher, water your lawn at least once a week, and take the time to walk through your lawn each week to spot potential weed germination and other lawn stresses before they start to spread!
Pre-Emergent Herbicides are used in the early Spring Season to prevent weed seeds from germinating
Post-Emergent Herbicide is used once the Spring Season has begun to target established weeds
Application timing is important in the success of weed control
More mature weeds will need more attention – Like manual pulling
Nobody likes weeds. They are hard on the eyes and usually end up killing the lawn by sucking up all the nutrients from the surrounding grass and eventually dying themselves making the lawn patchy and bumpy. In order to prevent weeds from growing there are two types of product commonly used called Pre-Emergent and Post-Emergent Herbicides. It is ideal to understand the difference between the two to get the best results for your effort.
Note: There is NO SUCH THING AS ORGANIC weed control!
These products are typically meant to be applied in the early Spring season. The “Pre” in Pre-emergent is its focus on stopping weed seeds (or any seeds, grass included) from germinating. Typically that means from February to May depending on where you live or when the soil temps are getting up to 55 degrees. Based on where you are in the country and particular years climate this can change slightly.
Post Emergent products are meant to address established weeds such as dandelions, thistle, bindweed, nutsedge and many more to kill them. The products can be applied with spot treatment for small problems, with a hose end sprayer for great leaf coverage, and as a granular product for a slower release and control. Be careful as application rates should be limited throughout the year. You can’t always get them all at once! Hence the manual process below…
Manual Weed Pulling:
Because you should really limit your weed control applications in a given year, as to not stress the good grass you want to keep. The best thing a homeowner can do is hand pull weeds or use a de-weeding tool to help in that process. You can get a mixture of seed and soil to back-fill any holes you create in the process to make sure no weeds just fill that spot again.
Lastly: No matter how much you treat your lawn, weed control is about consistency and perseverance. Because weed seeds can travel several different ways from distance sometimes very far away you can never truly stop weed prevention and intervention. Keeping a healthy full lawn fed to crowd out weeds is the best practice.