While a healthy, full lawn is the best defense against weeds, they often sneak through any gaps in your lawn. If your lawn is stressed and thinning, weeds will be a constant problem. Luckily, there are many solutions to get them under control and to keep them under control. First, to make sure your grass is full, fertilize with winterizer on cool-season lawns in September and November (and October for the highest quality turf.) For warm season lawns, fertilize in June (for high-quality Bermuda, also fertilize in May). Fescue may also need to be reseeded in September if it’s getting thin since it doesn’t spread by rhizomes like many other kinds of grasses.
If you have existing weeds, identifying the weed is the first step. This is important because different weeds require different strategies for control. We are always glad to help with weed identification. Just bring in a sample or visit our Weed Finder.
Types of weeds.
Annual weeds live only one year and can further be categorized as summer or winter annuals. Summer annuals can be prevented by putting a preemergent herbicide down in March. Some common examples include crabgrass, foxtail, prostrate spurge, and purslane. Winter annuals can be prevented with a preemergent in September. These include Little Barley (although this weed requires some specific chemicals), chickweed, and henbit. Many annual weeds can be sprayed after they emerge, but it’s often more cost effective to put down pre-emergent, especially if they’ve been a problem past years.
Perennial weeds can be more of an issue. While preemergent herbicides can keep new seeds from germinating, existing weeds will need to be pulled or sprayed to remove them. Perennial weeds also break down into two categories: broadleaves and grassy weeds. Broadleaves include dandelions, ground ivy, and bindweed. These can be sprayed with post-emergent herbicides formulated for lawns. Always read the product label if you have a warm-season grass since some sprays can damage them. Fall is the best time to spray most broadleaves since they are sending nutrients to their roots and will translocate the herbicide.
Perennial grasses are by far the hardest weeds to control. Most other perennial grasses such as orchardgrass and Johnsongrass can only be killed by digging out the clumps or spaying with a glysophate product such as Hi-Yield Killzall which will kill any plant it touches. You will have to reseed or sod any areas you spray. Always get a positive ID on any grass before you kill portions of your lawn. Hopefully, these tips will help you control weeds and have the high-quality turf you want.
*Please read and follow all label instructions when applying chemicals.