It’s amusing to wonder if one was trying to grow weeds, would grass invade? Well, we all know that is just a dream for those of us that are trying to cultivate a well manicured and beautiful lawn. Weeds, like troubles in life, are a reality. However there are actions that can be taken in the weed control arena to minimize their impact on our lawns. Understanding weeds and their growth patterns is the first step in the weed removal and elimination process. There are a variety of weed control and weed killer products that can assist us in our lawn care endeavor.
Weeds are generally divided into two categories. There are broad leaf weeds and weedy grasses. The weedy grasses are composed of several types, but by far the king of the weedy grasses is crabgrass. The broad leaf weeds are characterized by such plants as clover, dandelions and plantain.
To further complicate the weed control challenge, weeds are also characterized as annual, biannual and perennial with certain weed varieties occurring in the spring and other varieties occurring in the fall. Weed control is a year round challenge, but the good news is that weed killers and weed removal efforts will produce results.
Now let’s examine a few specifics on weed control and how weed killers can help. First the most effective weed control is a lush lawn. Mowing the lawn a bit higher particularly in the summer months, often prohibits many weed seeds from reaching the soil where they can germinate. A thick lawn maintained at a height of 2½ to 3 inches will greatly assist in weed control. Certain grass types act as their own weed control mechanism. For instance Zoysia grass provides natural weed control because of it’s natural thickness. Weed killer is often not required on a lawn that has a thick Zoysia grass.
Annual weeds can often be controlled through the application of a preemergent herbicide which acts to control weeds by preventing the seeds from germinating. A pre-emergent must be applied two-three weeks prior to spring for effective weed control. A pre-emergent can also be applied in the fall for weed control of perennial weeds.
After weeds have developed there are a number of effective herbicides available at local nurseries or other retail outlets that can be used to kill weeds. Granules can be used as well as liquid sprays. When used properly both are effective methods of weed control. Granules are effective for a small lawn if applied over the entire area with a rotary or drop spreader. However for a larger lawn it may be cost prohibitive to treat an entire area and weed killer can be applied selectively in specific spots by using a liquid spray canister that usually holds a gallon or two. Liquid weed killers can also be applied to an entire lawn or in selective areas using a product that will enable it to be dispensed using a garden hose.
The major lawn service companies tend to use liquid sprays because it is easy to carry about in small tanker vehicles and can be quickly applied either to treat an entire lawn or for spot applications to in troublesome areas control and kill weeds.
If you chose to do it yourself, make sure you follow the directions carefully as one wants only to kill weeds, not the lawn grasses. Also, make sure you give a wide berth to garden areas where food crops will be raised or to areas where ornamental plants are growing.
Herbicides to control weeds generally have specific instructions on when to apply them. If using one of these products to kill weeds pay close attention to the time of day and conditions that are necessary for effective application. For granular applications the product needs to stick to the leaves of the weeds so it is generally best to apply in the early morning when dew has coated the ground or after the lawn has been watered. However, any rain too soon after application will significantly reduce the product’s ability to effectively to kill weeds. Liquid weed kill products obviously have the moisture necessary to cause the herbicide to stick to the leaves of weeds, but as with the granular products any rain too soon after application will diminish the effectiveness of the weed killer. Avoid spraying in windy conditions as the herbicide can drift and kill or stunt the growth of garden crops or ornamental flowers.
Shady areas where it is more difficult to grow grass are most susceptible to weed infestations. These areas generally demand more attention to control weeds. It is hoped that these words will help the reader to control and kill weeds – happy hunting!